September/October Newsletter

Mission Year has started us off with two weeks full of information, group building, devotions, speakers and worship to prepare us for the year ahead.  The first week the Houston teams were together with the teams from Chicago and Philadelphia to hear from some phenomenal speakers at National Orientation.  We discussed the idea of being creative activists for love – what it might look like to find new ways to show God’s love through intentional relationships with our neighbors and communities.

Micky Jones invited us to delve into the world of co-creators.  Made in the image of God (who is Creator), we ourselves are designed to create – and that can manifest itself in many ways.  Whether it is through music or painting or problem solving – we can look for ways to come along side both God and our neighbors to create a new, fuller life.

Anton Flores spoke to us about community.  In regards to the Trinity, he spoke about how it could be view as the concept of a “community of one-ness.” Humans, being created in the image of God are also meant for this community of one-ness, both with God and people.  We were challenged to see where that community could exist within our teams, but also with our neighbors as we moved into our cities.

We are currently in the transition out of local orientation (learning where the grocery store is, meeting our neighbors, and understanding the public transportation) and into our partnerships in the community. I will be partnering with St. John’s Downtown on Sunday (and other times) and during the week I will be serving with the Tejano Community Center – a non-profit working in several settings with the primarily Hispanic community in East Houston .  The goal with each of these partnerships is to become part of our community, to learn and grow together.

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Finding a Rhythm – October 2015

Friends and family,
It’s hard to believe that we’ve been in Houston for a month already. At the same time, so much has happened and I already feel so close to my team, couples and Mission Year staff here. My team has bonded the most over cooking and sharing meals together.  Whether it’s Tommy’s homemade bread, squash made from vegetables donated from McKenzie and Kailynne’s work or a family recipe like Josh’s peach kuchen – the time spent cooking in pairs and sharing stories around our table is a blessing. We have also spent time in groups of two or three getting to know our neighbors and the community.  Some Saturdays I have brief chats with several neighbors and other weeks our group ends up sharing stories on a neighbor’s porch for a hour or more.  In all these times God is reminding me to fully present in all that I do.
Something that has helped me in being present is the technology fast we are doing.  We are over halfway done, but I’m honestly not sure how much I’ll use it once I can.  The fast from technology has been showing me how to be more intentional with people and has created time for me to be creative and process with God or a teammate.
In other news, work at the Tejano Center with Maggie and Kelly has been going well.  God has definitely been teaching me about flexibility in expectations and tasks. The first week we helped out in Human Resources.  It was tedious work, but our coworkers were so friendly and even brought us empanadas!  Since then, I’ve moved into my role within the Special Education department.  I am working mainly with high school students, helping with math and English, both in class and one on one.  My education classes are being put to use, but it has been a shift in my mindset as I learn some Spanish as well.
I’m excited to continue moving forward with my team, neighbors and work as the trimester goes on.  Curriculum discussions about the Gospel, race and education have been insightful and thought-provoking.  I feel like I’m constantly learning from my teammates, neighbors and coworkers.  Please continue praying for God to meet my team and I as we see how He works in, through and around us!

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