Friday, March 10, 2017

This Week in VIA

Ever had a week that has not been at all what you needed it to be?  That’s kind of how I feel about this week.  Yet, in the midst of that, God is at work, as God always is.

At the beginning of the week we returned from the Wesleyan Philosophical Society, Liturgical Society, and Theological Society annual meetings at AsburyTheological Seminary.  While there, L presented a well received paper on the Consequences of Whiteprivilege, Phil began a conversation with denominational leaders regarding the suffering and mistreatment of ordained ministers who are not assigned in ministry and how we can meet their needs, and we both participated in many wonderful conversations around tables of fellowship and relationship, about how we live out the gospel in our lives and communicate the gospel in our local contexts.

During this week L and I were able to disciple and provide spiritual guidance and direction to 12 individuals. 

My work this week seemed to focus particularly on young adult couples who are struggling in their relationships with each other and in some cases their young children as they learn how to navigate the waters of parenthood, young adulthood, and relationships.

L wrote and appeared on a podcast for “A Plain Account” discussing the story of Nicodemus and Jesus in John chapter 3, and will appear again next Monday discussing John chapter 9 and the story of a man born blind who is healed by Jesus, much to the chagrin of the religious leadership of the day.  This follows another recent podcast featuring L and Matt Price on Rick Lee James’ “Voices In My Head.

L will also be participating in a Facebook Live discussion with Tom Oord this Sunday afternoon, March 11th, at 6 PM EST, talking about the new movie “The Shack” and its theological implications, so be sure to check that out!

I have been continuing my work on providing daily Twitter-sized wisdom from the Daily Office via Social Media outlets, which always proves to spark either great discussions publicly online, or opportunities for me to have private conversations with others about who Jesus really is and to encourage and build up those who are treated as “The Least of These.”

Our family is in process this month of transitioning to a schedule where we invest more time physically in our Peru location which will free up at least 7 hours of drive time each week and gas/vehicle expenses, cut our Livingston location expenses significantly, and allow us to invest more on the ground time in the lives of those we minister to in Peru.

Our needs this week include:

*Financing a storage unit and storage containers for our Livingston location.  We need around $500 to at least adequately get this project underway so that we can cut long term
expenses and more effectively reach people in both Peru and Livingston.  We also need donations of clean, smoke/pet-free plastic storage containers (or Amazon, Wal-Mart, or Meijer gift cards so we can purchase them).

*Vehicle expenses.  Our green van is having trouble again.  If we can raise about $1500, we
would be able to purchase a nice used van from friends that is much more reliable than our other two vehicles, perhaps allowing us to replace one of them in the long term.

*Financial support so that we can continue to invest in and expand our network of those to whom we are providing material and spiritual guidance/direction/discipleship.  We are seeking partners who will invest $25 a month in Via, which is enough for us to provide these resources to 1 individual, or $50 a month, which allows us to provide for 1 couple/family.  One time donations of any amount are also welcome, accepted, and appreciated!

What can you do this week?

*Help us meet the needs we have outlined above.

*Prayers for:

     *Increased work load for Phil at his job at USPS.

     *Young adults navigating relationships.

     *Our family during this transitional time.

     *The Peru and Livingston communities.

     *L as she expands her theological work through numerous outlets
     and connections.

*Share these needs with others who may feel led by the Spirit to partner with us.

*Share and interact with our online work – including podcasts, blog posts, and Facebook updates.

Thank you for your support of Via Illuminate.  Blessings, friends!


*Direct Donation Link:

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Downtown Peru, Episode 1

*L wrote this update and first posted it at Flip Flops, Glitter, and Theology*

Earlier this week, I read, "When we reject that with which we cannot become intimate, our lives are diminished" (Parker J. Palmer, The Courage to Teach, Page 91).  I think this is true, but I'm struggling with the word cannot.  I tend to be fairly adamant about pushing back when anyone tells me that something is impossible.  I think our ability to intimately relate with others is only limited by how far we are willing to go.  If we're willing to give up everything we have to live like the poor and experience poverty, then we can, indeed, relate intimately to the impoverished.  I recognize that this is not a popular thought or way of living, but that doesn't make it any less true.  As an example from Scripture, Christians tend to be pretty hard on the rich young ruler when Jesus instructs him to, "go and sell all you possess and give to the poor," (see Mark 10:21, NASB) and he doesn't do it (at least according to the general consensus of people who have studied this passage—I might beg to differ).  And yet, how many of us are willing to do just that?  If I'm honest, I'm not.  I'm willing to give up a lot, but I have never been asked to sell every possession, to leave everything familiar, in order to follow.  Sometimes we talk big, and although our family is very serious about the need to live in solidarity with the least of these, the truth is that we have been spoiled...  rotten...

Every once in awhile, I like to stop to take stock of our material blessings.  Honestly, we have so much stuff at this point that it feels like something of a curse.  I think I started to feel this way when we downsized our living space by half almost three years ago.  But this week marked a new adventure for us that is sort of blowing my mind.

As we transition to more time in Peru, we needed somewhere to stay, several days every week, until we close on the church building and make the necessary remediation to call it "livable."  We're not being picky.  It's just that we have a family that suffers from severe allergies and asthma, so there are some things that simply must be done before we can survive in the building... literally. 

There have been delays leading up to the closing.  I am so thankful that the delays have not been on our part, but I'm ready to close.  Go ahead and imagine me repeating over and over, to myself, "Patience is a virtue..."  Occasionally, I think being virtuous is overrated...
But even without our building, my job in Peru started this week, so we had to go...

Now, let me be very clear that my sweet friend and mentor has us set up in a downtown apartment, and... seriously friends... I have always wanted to live in a downtown apartment!  In my younger years, I was thinking maybe NYC, but Peru will have to do!  Our family knows what it is to be briefly homeless, because we have been there... twice... over the past fifteen years.  Our current living arrangement does not, in any way, begin to compare to the desperate housing (or lack thereof) conditions that the least of these here in the United States (or certainly around the world) are subjected to, often for their entire lives.  But let me return just a moment to the spoiled rotten thing...

I've had a master bathroom for years.  The last time I did not have a master bathroom, it was 2005 and I had three really little people who needed help in the bathroom most of the time, anyway!  Sharing made sense. 

But yesterday?  Oh friends, yesterday I both stepped in and sat in pee!  Are you kidding me?  But it gets worse...  Upon washing my hands, I turned to dry them on my own personal hand towel and found that it was covered in snot!  Boys are gross!  Is it shameful that I am questioning whether or not I can scale back and live even a touch closer to the least of these, because I don't want to share my bathroom with my children?  Yes.  It's shameful.  True, but shameful.

We had a lovely two days in Peru.  I taught five early childhood music classes and was incredibly blessed to meet new people and to reconnect with old friends.  There was so much hugging and catching up and talking about my new love of coffee.  And singing.  And dancing.  And helping a college student with a research paper.  And thinking about how I should probably pack pots and pans for next week.  And picking kids up.  And dropping kids off.  And working.  And reading.  And sleeping.  And praying.  And driving.  And stuff.

We have needs.  I took one of those silly FB tests that analyzes your profile, the other day, and it told me that my greatest needs included a massage, a vacation, Sara C. (well, duh... always), lots of sleep, and 24 hours with nothing to do. While all of those would be fabulous, I think my number one need, right now, is to recognize how very blessed we are and to give more.

However, if you're looking for a tangible way to help us get started in Peru, we do, indeed, have a Via Illuminate wish list at Amazon (linked here).  Did you know you can purchase a urinal for $140...  Oh wait, that's not on the list...


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Making Progress...and Specific Immediate Needs...

We are pleased to announce today that we have now raised a total of $7,355.55 for Via Illuminate since we began this effort a little less than 2 months ago.  We are thankful and grateful for the support we have received, but there is still a long way to go!

Here are some updates on progress being made:

*We are very close to being able to get the Peru building off the market, and plan to do so within the next week.  This does not mean that we will have purchased the building, yet - only that we will have enough funds to use as a down payment/earnest money, to take the property off the market.  We still need to get to our initial goal of $30,000 in order to purchase the building, begin renovations, and cover other expenses in the interim. 

*Phil has now successfully transferred and been hired for a part time position with the United States Postal Service in Indiana.  This will allow him to supplement income when not traveling, preaching, and ministering organically either in Michigan or across the country.

*L. and Phil recently spoke, and Grace shared her music, at Metropolitan Church of the Nazarene in Roseville, Michigan.  Metro Naz. has many generous and wonderful people who have given and will be giving to support Via Illuminate in finances, prayer, and mission.   Thank you, Metro!

*A church has partnered with us to pay for the fees involved in incorporating our non-profit as a 501(c)3.  We are very thankful for this and will be moving this process further forward this week.

We also have four specific, immediate needs for which we are asking for help ($2500 total) as we launch the ministries of Via Illuminate:

*L. and Phil are participating in the Nazarene Organic Church Network's "Great Lakes Mega-Region 'Making of a Movement'" Gathering at Mt. Vernon Nazarene University in Ohio on Friday, June 3rd.  We will be doing important networking and sharing with other organic-based leaders and ministers from the Great Lakes area.  We will also have a chance to visit with and encourage a disciple from Illuminate Peru. The total expenses for this ministry day including gas, meals, and registration, will be around $200. 

*L. and Phil would also like to participate in the Nazarene Compassionate Ministries Compassion Conference, "Living in the Margins," at Olivet Nazarene University in July.  This is another opportunity for us to network and share the vision of Via Illuminate with a diverse spectrum of people and organizations with whom we can partner, as well as take away some key learning and inspiration that will help us as we realize the vision for this ministry.  Check out the video below for a preview!  The registration and payment deadline is June 14th.  The total expenses for this 3+ day event will be around $800 including gas, lodging, meals, and registration.

*Each year it costs us around $200 to maintain our web presence - domain, hosting, and other associated fees, necessary to spread the word about what we are doing in Via Illuminate.  These fees are due in June.

*Q2016:  L., Phil, Seth, Grace, and Caleb will be journeying to Southern Nazarene University in Bethany, Oklahoma, for the Q2016 National Bible Quiz Event.  Seth and Grace will be quizzing in all 3 divisions, while Caleb will be quizzing in 2 divisions as Phil coaches both local and district teams, and L. officiates for this event.  Help us support the ministry of Teen Bible Quizzing as we worship, serve, network, and quiz with the "Q family" from all over the United States - we still need around $1300 to finish covering the costs of registration, donations, gas, meals, and lodging for the five of us as well as for others we will be working with at Q.

We ask for your help in these matters, that we may continue to do the work God has called us to.  Donate now via the links on the upper right (PayPal donations will be received more quickly and at less expense, but is an excellent option as well).

Blessings, and thank you for your support!

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened."

(as recorded in Luke's gospel, 11:9-10)