Coming away from my first week of project orientation, I have experienced the tension and suspension indicative of being in an unfamiliar environment where it is painfully clear that my own strength and alacrity cannot bring the healing, joy, or security that the community desperately needs. I am continuing to seek God’s heart and mind for the city of Oakland, as I witness violent crime, the huge need in the immigrant community, and the “track” of sexually exploited youth and streetwalkers. Every day, things are uncovered that remind me how people are deeply harmed by the structural violence of discrimination and prejudice, and how much the physical sickness and pain I see around me not only has root in man’s inhumanity to man, but the spiritual fortresses of darkness that pervade the community.
Thank God that He has blessed me and my friends with food, housing, and the opportunity to live without fearing for our lives when we sleep at night. Already I have been blessed by the generosity of the Vanderpole family who has taken me and two of my friends in to sleep in their spare room, and impacted by the insight and faith of community organizers and public advocates. We have a budget worked out to be 23$ a week for our 11-member team. Yesterday I attended New Hope Church in the heart of the community in which I work, and went out to lunch afterwards at a Mexican place called Taqueria San Jose. Unfortunately since visiting Angels Island last week I have nursed a sunburned face, and so continue to use aloe vera in hopes of averting further skin damage.
I finally know my address: 2739 E 17th Street, Oakland, 94601. I have one hour per week to be able to use electronic/phone communications. Since Saturday is our Sabbath day, we have decided as a team that we will us our one hours slots on Saturday. I will not be able to use the internet often, seeing as we don’t have internet access in the girls’ apartment where Allie Hu keeps our team’s computer. So snail mail would be much appreciated to spur me on. J My prayer is that this post finds you well in spirit and in health. Let me know if you guys have any prayer requests. If you’d like to pray for me then remember me in these ways:
1. Ask God that I would maintain and strengthen the ability to communicate well in Spanish with the other volunteers in my Street Level Health Program, and with those we are serving themselves.
2. Ask God that I would find the time to continue to pursue quiet times to let Him wash my mind and rejuvenate my soul, so that I might worship Him and remember His authority and power in the situations I face.
3. Seek Him for my protection and words to speak to share the gospel through relational evangelism and godly service.
Soundtrack to my day–Listen to: Josh Garrels—Jacanda tree (album) and Lost Animals (album).