The City No Longer Forsaken

"They will be called the Holy People, the Redeemed of the LORD; and you will be called Sought After, the City No Longer Deserted." ~Isaiah 62:12

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Excitement and a Vision

I've never been one to enjoy change if it means that the people I love will no longer live in the same city as I do. Any other kind of change, I welcome, encourage, and even strive for...but I tend to want to hold very tightly to the people who make a place into a home. So, this past week, even as I told Theresa,"Oh, there have been so many changes recently, it doesn't register so much to have another one coming up...I'm happy that you feel you'll be moving towards your calling," even as I can look at Angela and say, "It's so great that you have a job now!" I have found myself on the inside just groaning and wanting to avoid most people altogether.

It's nothing that the people have's just that, if all goes as planned, nearly everyone I know in the Cities will be gone in April or May...and I need time to rest in God's arms and to allow Him to remind me that I have a home and a stable place no matter how many people dear to me are called to follow Him in a different location. I need time with Him for Him to remind me that He is good, that He knows what is going on, that He can be trusted. I want so badly to be a person who can serve Him with or without a vision; with or without solid relationships in my life; with or without being "in the mission field". And when I am aware that He is my home, all of that becomes so much more possible.

I've been doing a lot of imagining futures recently. And this week I have had one, more simple question for God, which is: "Do you want me to build any kind of foundation in the Twin Cities, or not?"

Before last night, I had been laughing at the idea of staying in my house beyond April. Rent is $1500 plus utilities...I would have to find new housemates and everyone I know is planning to move...I am sleeping on a borrowed bed that will disappear in April...I don't have any furniture at all...

But in the back of my mind this week, I have been quietly thinking, "I have a house. That's all I've wanted for a few years now...a house to have intentional Christian community in and to do ministry out of...all I need are the people." And my thoughts have kept playing the song that was in my thoughts when I first moved into this place, "This is home, yeah I'm finally back where I belong, where I belong. Yeah this is home, I've been searching for a place of my own, now I've found it." This song always springs to mind at exactly the moments when this house should feel *least* like home...when it's obvious that the current situation is very temporary.

Last night, it suddenly occurred to me that, if I am free to find my own housemates in April, and if I must start completely from scratch, I can look for whoever I want. I can specifically seek out Christians who are interested in living in an intentional, missional community. I can find people who want to pray together, seek God together, and use the house they live in for Christian outreach. We do so much! We could prayer walk the streets, get to know our neighbors and do random acts of service for them, we could invite homeless people over for dinner, we could invite neighboring college students in for prayer retreats and be a safe place of rest for them, we could take in teens who are pregnant and have been kicked out of the home because of it and just love them...okay, so those are the sorts of things *I'd* like to do...but first and foremost we could pray together, get to know each other, and take off on whatever visions we share. The goal would be to be generous and gutsy with everything God gives us.

And what better way to start connecting to the Christian community in America than by actually being myself? Rather than trying to pretend to be an ordinary Sunday Christian, slowly working my way into the community, I can just enter churches in my usual, "Come along on this crazy vision!" style. Some of my best relationships in Tokyo were made when I was running around asking anyone and everyone to pray 24/7 with me.

This doesn't mean that I'm planning to stay in America long term...and, in fact, this vision is only about 13 hours old, which means it still might fade or change. But, as I pray this week about whether to start building connections here, I still haven't gotten the sense of any open doors for ministry elsewhere. So, if I've still got some time in the Cities, I'd rather use it doing crazy things for God. I suppose the next couple weeks will tell if this is yet another wacky stage of transition or a vision God has placed on my heart.

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