Time is moving very quickly and so many things are happening. First and foremost, let me give you an update on the progress of our land.
We have submitted a variance request to the Spaceport Board to approve our amended location in SW Midland County. If you aren’t aware, Midland has a zone called the AOZ4 which is essentially a crash zone for our intergalactic spaceport. For licensing, a balance must be maintained in how many homes are allowed within the zone so to build in it, a variance is required. The original location was located about half in the spaceport zone and half out but, we were asked to move it due to proximity to producing oil wells because they presented a safety concern. The first location was approved without issue, but since 100% of our homes are now in the AOZ, it takes a little more scrutiny.
We are finally drawing up a contract with the donor of the 20 acres. It has been quite a rollercoaster to say the least and it’s not over yet. I know from being in the land business that it ain’t said and done until the papers get signed. There are so many variables but we are thankful that the donor is fully supportive of our organization and our mission. I hesitate to get my hopes up, but I really feel like we are about to get ‘er done.
Regarding the community garden: we have sent off a preliminary drawing to the City of Midland for review. We are waiting to be informed of the process for leasing property from the city and the specific use requirements.
Some other amazing news: we received a generous grant from Parkhill, Smith, & Cooper that will cover some if not all of our design and master planning work. So once the deed is in hand, we will begin working on what the village will actually look like. That is very exciting to me!
I am continuing to drive the Breaking Bread Mobile breakfast truck each morning during the week. It is always such a blessing to go and see our friends on the street and to teach new volunteers about homelessness. One of our prayers has been that we would have more opportunities to share the Gospel on the truck and God has provided SO many. There has been a noticeable change in one of our homeless brothers whom we have been sharing with. We will call him “T”. I am hopeful that God will give him a new heart and that he will repent and believe. T came to church with us on Sunday and heard a very moving sermon on Colossians 1 that was literally all about Jesus. We heard a clear presentation of the incomparable Christ and how “all things have been created through Him and for Him.” The whole time Briana and I were praying that God would save T. While there was no dramatic conversion in that moment, T went and signed a connection card without our prompting saying that he wanted to know more about having a relationship with Jesus. We are so encouraged and longing for the day when T shares with us that he has been made new and the following passage rings true in his soul:
As we are walking towards the calling that God has given us to plant a church, we imagine a rich diversity of members. Formerly homeless people, people of all ethnicities and socioeconomic status worshipping the one true God together as the Body of Christ. We imagine our formerly homeless friends serving our community and are even praying for them to be called to the mission field. In the meantime, we have prayed that so many homeless people will want to come to Redeemer with us that we will need a van, and that might be sooner than later. Just this morning 3 more homeless friends said they want to go to our church out of the blue and I’m not sure how MPD will feel about me carrying people to church in the back of my truck.
On that same note, God has been answering prayers left and right. Briana and I have made a concerted effort to spend time together studying the Word and praying with and for each other. Men if you aren’t praying with your wives, you’re missing out because holy cow, it’s so awesome. Not only is it SO beneficial to the health of your marriage, it is an incredible unifier that helps you see God working in your lives. I don’t know what’s up, but since we have started this just a few weeks ago, we have been so much more aware of answered prayers. Make this a priority and you will be so blessed by it. If I could go back in time, I would have started much earlier. This time together could happen so many different ways, so do what works for you, but as an example: we put the kids to bed, sit on the couch together, read the Evening devotional by Charles Spurgeon, and ask this simple question, “Where are you at?”. We share about our days, both the triumphs and struggles, and we pray over each other. It has become one of the sweetest and most treasured parts of our day and I cannot recommend it enough. DO IT!
As a guy, the practice of sharing my heart doesn’t come very naturally, but its helped me to understand my emotions much better. Last Monday was the first day in all my time on the breakfast truck, that I just did not want to do it. Since then that’s happened more frequently, but the feeling goes away as soon as we make our first stop to feed someone. There is so much weight in this kind of work, and every day is a constant cycle of ups and downs and not to mention very long. We see so much pain, so much sadness, and so many people without the hope of Christ. I was able to talk with Briana about how I felt and I’ve continued to struggle with what I would describe as a cloud. I feel such a burden for my friends on the street. I want them to have a home so badly, but more than anything I want them to know Jesus. Some days I feel that every word of Christ’s hope that I share falls on deaf ears. Sometimes even my ears begin to tune them out. Occasionally we are mocked. The enemy is after me; he tells me I am wasting my time. If you follow Christ he is after you too. But Satan is a liar! Don’t fall for it! Call out to the Lord and He will sustain you.
I tell you these things in an effort to be real with you. Our life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, but it is pretty darn good. God always lifts me up when I am down and reveals the sweetest mercies through my family and friends. I wouldn’t change it for the world, but know that we are just regular people saved by the grace of God alone.
I want to thank each one of you for your faithfulness as friends and supporters. Your encouragement and help is being used by God to remind us of His love. As always, we appreciate your prayers for all that is going on in our lives, but specifically for the following:
· That our friend T will be given the gift of faith in Christ.
· Perseverance on the cloudy days.
· Finalization of land and community garden.
· More harvesters.
· Capital Campaign.