Friday, September 17, 2010

Houston - Year 2

It is absolutely crazy to me to think that I've been living in Houston for over a year now. Houston is not a place I ever would have expected to end up. In fact, it isn't a place that ever crossed my mind. I never though about Houston. I knew it existed. That's about it.

I have to admit that I don't love Houston in and of itself. It doesn't have what I really desire or expect from a big city. It's too spread out. It's hot and humid. The public transportation is not exactly convenient. Downtown Houston lacks vivacity and activity. But when I moved to Houston for Mission Year I fell in love with the people I met, with our neighborhood, with the opportunities that we had to serve God, with the redemption stories I witnessed.

Houston is growing on me, and that scares me. The vision of Mission Year is a vision that I love and cling to, a vision of transforming communities from the inside out, of spreading the love of Jesus by living like Jesus. Mission Year has planted a seed in my heart, a seed that is slowly growing into a strong desire to put down roots, to dig deeply into an inner city community and to stick it out through times of suffering and times of celebration. I only planned to stay in Houston for a year, but I'm still here. I think I'm afraid that God will ask me to stay beyond this year, that He will ask me to put down roots in Houston. I find myself thinking, Let me move one more time and then I'll stay. Then I'll commit to a community. Then I'll remain. But not here...don't ask me to stay here.

I don't know if this is where God will ask me to stay. I don't know what He has in mind for my future. But I do know that this is where I'm meant to be this year. I have a genuine peace about that and I'm excited to see what is in store for myself, my team, and the other Mission Year teams.

This year there are three Mission Year teams in Houston. They've been here for about a week now and so much has happened already. The year has had an incredible beginning.

My house this year is in the First Ward in the northwest part of Houston (the opposite side of Houston from where I lived last year). We live in a yellow house on the corner of Spring St and Holly St, right next to the intersection of I-45 and 10. Our neighborhood is one that is undergoing a period of change. Many of the old homes are being torn down and replaced with modern condos. Money is moving in and families who live on lower income are being forced out. It is a neighborhood marked by separation between social classes. Our hope this year is to be a bridge, to connect people from the different classes to each other so that they become real to each other.

Please keep us, our neighbors, and our neighborhood in your prayers. God is working in beautiful and exciting ways.