May the peace and joy of Christ be with you this Christmas season!
It's past time for an update, so here we go...
The biggest news in my life is that Belinda and I are now engaged to be married! We have a great story, but it's much better when we both tell it. ;) We plan to marry early summer 2010 and live in Rochester, NY. It was a difficult decision for me to make, to cut short the time I planned to be here in Detroit, but this is the direction God is clearly moving us. There are four primary reasons that pushed us to make the decision to start our life together in Rochester, in order from least to most compelling (for me):
- Living in Rochester is easier than Detroit, particularly in terms of friend and support networks. I'm beginning to develop one here, but Belinda would come and only know me. Marriage is a big enough transition in our lives that it seems wise to make the externals easier.
- Belinda was just offered a job at in Rochester at the company she wants to work for doing the kind of engineering she wants to do.
- Our church in Rochester, North Baptist Church (soon to be renamed Northridge Church) is situated strategically right on the border between the city and the suburbs. The leadership of the church is interested in getting more connected to its neighbors in the city--one of Rochester's poorest neighborhoods is basically just across the street. Belinda and I want to live in the city, and would love to move into that neighborhood for our personal outreach, as well as to help connect people from our mostly suburban church to God's heart for the poor and marginalized in our city.
- One of our friends in Rochester has been carrying a vision for a type of engineering missionary work. The idea is to get connected with overseas missionaries who are encountering technical problems on the field. They would send us their problem (e.g. this village needs reliable electricity, or pure water, or we're having trouble drilling this well), and we would try to develop a solution to meet their needs (hopefully with materials that are readily available in their area). We hope to help missionaries do missions by being engineers who do engineering. That is exactly the type of thing that Belinda and I would love to do with the engineering education we've received.
So, I'm moving back to Rochester in about six months.
There's plenty of interesting and exciting things happening here in Detroit, too.
I am still commuting via bicycle to my job as a long-term substitute at a charter school in southwest Detroit. I think this Wednesday was the first time I got ice-beard on the way. It actually adds a decent layer of insulation.
Work is going well. One half of the 8th grade in particular is behaving with increasing disrespect for me as an authority, but I've got the principal involved now, so hopefully they'll shape up a bit. Amazingly, the other 8th grade has become the most well-behaved class.
I've decided that I'm just going to continue to substitute teach for the remainder of the school year. I had tossed around the idea of going to school to get my teaching certification (NY does accept a MI certification), but the fact that going to school full time would not allow me to work as much and would cost money combined with my increased desire to get an engineering job in Rochester (based on #4 above) has led me away from that.
New St. Peter's is the church on the corner of our block. I am in the middle of the process of becoming a member. Church membership means something a little different here than it does in places I'm accustomed too. Back in Rochester, the church had a larger regular attendance than membership. The opposite is true of New St. Peter's. This is a first step in getting involved in the ministries of the church.
Pastor Cheeks preached a sermon about prayer last week that really convinced me personally and set our house back in the rhythm of praying together each night. It's been really good to turn the focus of our house back towards Christ, and actually being a community together rather than just living side by side. Pastor Cheeks is pushing his flock to pray with expectation that God will actually work and answer our prayers for the coming year.
I'm really pumped about being a part of the young adults ministry called NuVision. Mike, Luke and I went to a meeting of the young adults today, and it really became a brainstorming session for ways that we could reach out to the community. We decided that first, tomorrow after church we're going to go out and prayer walk through the neighborhood (as a response to Pastor's message). We want to couple prayer with action, and are going to try to put together some kind of bargain clothing sale at the local rec center just two blocks away. I like the idea of selling a shirt for 25¢ rather than just giving it away. It allows the recipient to keep some dignity that is generally squashed by hand outs.
- house friends. We're praying as a house that God would send us people from our area who we could enjoy and who would enjoy us. We don't really know many people our age.
- wedding plans. Belinda and I both actually enjoy planning, so it's fun, but it can still be tricky.
- legacy. That I would be leaving a positive spiritual impact on my students.
Thank you! I always enjoy hearing your stories, too!
- m a t t