Monday night I had a conference call with Mike, Luke, and Jon, the three guys that I hope to move into Detroit with this fall.
We hadn't talked for a while, all four of us, and I was honestly a little nervous about it. I'm not sure why. I think the last few times we talked there always seemed like there was some unspoken tension between us. But this time, all the tension was gone, replaced with joy and excitement.
There was some bittersweet news. Jon may be spending three months training for jungle survival and then nine more months in the Amazon sharing the gospel with unreached people groups. That's totally sweet, and a really perfect opportunity for someone like Jon. It hits a lot of the skills and desires that he has, all at once. So, I'm praying that God would open that opportunity for him, although it would mean that he won't be able to be a part of our community for the two years that we've committed too, at least not physically. I'm hoping that he can join us at the beginning, and then we can send him off as our missionary to the Peruvian amazon.
Mike and Luke both have accepted jobs with InterVarsity and were placed together at Wayne State University. They're in the process of starting their fund development right now. Not that I wouldn't be praying for them anyway, but I'm officially on Luke's "pray every day for fund development" team! I love it. So, this means that we'll probably be trying to settle into a community within walking or biking distance of the university. We want to find a community where we'll be surrounded by families and Detroit natives, not just a bunch of college students in cheap housing, but from the looks of things that shouldn't been too difficult. Wayne State itself is just on the edge of the business district of downtown, sort of in the transition to the neighborhoods.
Mike explained to us how Jon's potential non-involvement brought up a lot of tough questions for him about his own commitment to our community, Detroit, and InterVarsity (he'd talked to Jon a week before). God led Mike through his own mini wilderness experience a la Deuteronomy 2. And after a day of concerted prayer and scripture study, he feels that God's call for him is now clear and certain, that he should be going to Detroit and working with IV. I haven't heard at much joy and peace in Mike's voice since we were in Egypt this summer. Before we even talked about this, I could tell something was different just in his tone.
For me, I'm anxiously awaiting a phone conversation with another Matt, the one who is in charge of this summer program that I got into. It's the Navigators version of an Urban Project. I'll be spending my summer living with Nav students, and my understanding is that we'll all be counselors of some sort for a day camp run by a Christian community center. The details of the program are a little unclear to me. I'm not sure exactly what the requirements will be.
This is an issue in sort of two ways: (1) I hope to use this summer to find some kind of job in the Detroit Public School System, ideally as a teacher, and to look into housing arrangements for our community in the fall, and (2) this summer will be the beginning of a year of long-distance relationship for Belinda and I (which is kind of scary because it's unknown -- how will we react to being apart for so long in normal life circumstances?), and I'm not sure what kind of space I'll be allowed for communication with the rest of the world, much less visits on the weekends or something.
I also just sent an email today to another Michael who at one point last year was looking for an intentional community and somehow got in touch with us. We pretty much just dropped the ball on contacting him, so I have no idea where he's at in his life these days, but hopefully reopening the dialogue will take us somewhere.
So, that's the current status. I appreciate your prayers and support.
Also, I'm taking suggestions for a community name, without authorization from the others.