Monthly Archives: November 2015

True Peace

In mid-October the two houses of Mission Year Houston took a Solitude retreat.  Now, even to an introvert like myself, the idea of a Solitude retreat sounds strange.  First, solitude implies alone-ness. So how do you do that together?? Second, a weekend is a long time for solitude, yeah??  Good news is that there were intentional times of solitude during the weekend, alongside community meals, worship (including Your Love is Strong), guided reflections and down time.

To set up the weekend, we had read a book by Henri Nouwen called Way of The Heart.  If anything I write sparks your interest, you might want to check it out.  His thoughts on solitude, silence and prayer were a good challenge for me and set up the weekend well.  According to Nouwen, “Solitude is the place of the great struggle and the great encounter – the struggle against the compulsions of the false self and the encounter with the loving God who offers himself as the substance of the new self.”

We are out on this ranch, about an hour outside of Houston, for the weekend.  And for two 2-3 hour chunks of time, we are in solitude.  I spent a majority of my time in a tree that I was able to perch/sit in.  So much of me was anxious for an answer.  I knew that God could and would do big things.  I asked for him to reveal something new to me.  It felt like silence.  I just kept asking and asking and asking. STOP.

Be still My Son. Can you just be?  Just be with me.  Enjoy what I have created.

I wanted answers  I wanted some BIG revelation, new wisdom or direction for what was happening as I transitioned to Houston.  And God saw my restless attitude and lifestyle.  He called me out.  And then it was time to re-group.

During free time I got to chat with Andrew, one of the guys from the married team.  We briefly shared stories from our lives and how God had brought us to Mission Year. Solid guy, looking forward to growing with him this year.  Also, had an armadillo walk up to us while we were talking!

Solitude part two. I had spent time resting, so now I was ready to hear.  Go ahead and drop some awesome truth God.  Call out some area of my life I need to lay at the cross. I’m ready for some messy crying even.  Nothing.  And then – remember this morning?  Just be Kevin.  I AM right here with you.  I AM true peace.  Your mind is always on the go.  You have become restless in your thoughts and life.  Be here.  I AM the peace you are seeking.  I AM true peace, right here with you.

And that is where we left it.  It wasn’t what I was expecting.  But it was what I needed to hear.  Those words have carried me through several day since then.  When I feel alone, tired, overwhelmed – I AM the true peace right here with you.

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Introductions (finally)

The thought ran thru my mind that I will be referencing Third Ward and my teammates often in these blog posts.  As most of you are not here, and likely haven’t met these people, I should probably give you a context for future stories.

Third Ward… It is a neighborhood that has been growing on me since we arrived back in early September. I now live with seven other Mission Year-ers (teammates?) in a neighborhood where we are the minority (possibly the only white people).  This fact is only obviously strange now when my teammates and I get strange looks at bus stops, and people say, “Are you sure you live here?” or, “Make sure you stay safe.”  Honestly, I wasn’t thinking about staying out late anyway, but I’m glad that my neighbors are looking out for my team and I.  There is a local restaurant, Cream Burger, that we frequent to support locals thru mass milkshake consumption.  And we live thankfully close to one of the Metro trains and several of the Metro bus lines.  Public transportation is not always reliable, but overall I’m enjoying not having to drive in Houston traffic.

As for my team – We are a group pf young adults who are seeking to live counter-culturally.  We have differences, and we’re still learning what all of those differences are, but that’s part of being a community. So, in age order:

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Josh is the youngest, but he makes up for it by being a deep thinker.  He is unashamed in asking questions to better understand a situation, person or reference.  Definitely a musician (he just got his guitar at the house!) Fun Fact: Often times you find him “perching” on chairs or even the counter.

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Maggie works with me at Tejano – currently as the librarian.  I would describe her as one who is vocal about her passions, and willing to protest if needed.  She brings plenty of laughter to our group and loves Mexico.  Fun Fact: She is a prankster and loves Shane Claiborne.

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BJ is a true Southern gentleman.  Hailing from South Carolina, this guy loves his sweet tea. He exudes positivity and hasn’t met a person that he doesn’t love.  Fun Fact: One of his nicknames is Tank.

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Kailynne, as a runner, brings tons of energy to our group.  She keeps our group healthy – in good eating and through her love of cleaning dishes!  Fun Fact: As much as she loves eating healthy, she also has sweet tooth.

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McKenzie is a 15th Century villager.  Not really, but she is versed inthe art of storytelling and loves poetry and farming (worked on a farm this past summer).  She comes home from work with stories and passion to share with the whole house. Fun Fact: She also loves contra dancing.

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Tommy is the bread winner of our house.  And by that, I mean he makes us homemade breads… the really good kind.  He is an avid reader and theologian, willing to challenge his own ideas as well as ours.  Fun Fact: He almost became a monk.

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And Leah is our fearless leader.  She is back in Houston for her 2nd year and we love her!! She is from rural New York and brings some spunk to the house.  All the while she is able to be both friend and humble leader to us.  Fun Fact: She loves Jimmy Fallon and goats.

That’s our group!  We have enjoyed plenty of laughter and creating delicious meals in the kitchen.  I can only imagine what the rest of the year holds for us – in faith, fun, and community!201510_missionyear_solituderetreatblog_46_web