Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Being Present

It's difficult for some folks to understand exactly
What we do here at The Commons.
Perhaps because we're not trying to solve everybody's problems... and problems are distracting.
They tempt us to focus only on issues, and not so much on people.
A good way to look at this would be that it's more about what God is doing. We're just showing up.
Being present. Being available. Allowing for the unforced rhythms of grace to unravel.
In our showing up, trust is being built. Friendship is being born. Kids are being fed. They're learning how to treat each other, getting educational help, and being affirmed with dignity.
Adults are finding faith, pouring out their hearts, finding refreshment and hope... discovering they are more capable than they realized.
We let grace wash over us each day that we spend in this neighborhood, in the form of listening ears, open hearts, coffee, and a peanut butter sandwich.
And we are being changed and formed by the gospel. By the power of God that saves us.
So steady on we go.
Being present is the way God befriended us in Jesus.
What greater thing could be done?

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Greeting from Youth With A Mission, ‘The Commons’. 
This name is derived from the desire to create and share common space where relationships can flourish.
It has been an exciting year with a lot of changes.

The work that we are doing there is all wrapped up in the simplicity of relationship-building. We are creating space for people (kid and adults) to simply be. 
There’s something beautiful about hospitality and table-sharing. It opens up so many places in people’s lives that otherwise would remain shut.
Our daily activities have involved simple creative arts, sports, and games.
When people enter ‘The Commons’ there is often water/coffee to share, sandwiches and veggies to serve, but there’s always  a place for people to belong.
In fact, many of the folks that frequently visit have expressed that it is one of the few places that they feel accepted, and where they belong without having to try. 
Also, this has translated into a sense of ownership. We believe that if people know that they belong, then they will understand a responsibility of ownership, and then in turn often natural leadership and care/concern, and creativity will emerge.
Some younger children are learning about hygiene, personal boundaries/safety. Some are learning how to interact socially in an appropriate manner. Some teen-agers are discovering their own natural leadership capabilities, and their ability to learn new things. 
Some have expressed a desire to learn a new language, a musical instrument, and other visual arts skills.
This is very exciting, and we aim to foster these aspirations here at ‘The Commons’.
We have been encouraging simple math practice to stay sharp over the summer months, and encouraging kids to stay positive about their education. 
Parents have begun to spend time with us on a more regular basis. We’ve had the blessing of being able to pray with and encourage many adults here who are struggling.

So, that’s how the summer is going, and we are excited to enter into the school year with fresh vision for after-school opportunities for kids, and spaces of time for adults to come and be refreshed and encouraged.
Please pray for us... there's a lot of work to do!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Commons...

Just checking in to share some exciting news...

Summer is here, and our kids are super happy to be out of school!

Jim went to Thailand with Gobal Youth Volunteer Network and it was amazing time of catching up with old friends, and catching new vision for our work there on the Burma border. It was fantastic.

Our local YWAM expression has moved into our new operating home!

We are working out of a mobile home that sits in the heart of the neighborhood where we focus our work.
And our work consists of relationship building. We are being a presence there and making ourselves available to be known.
Our daily work is really just hanging out, sharing coffee and talks, playing games with the kids there, and being a support to the adults living there.

Life is hard for a lot of people. Poverty, addiction, family struggles, limited jobs, or plenty of jobs but not enough pay... mental illness, isolation, and loneliness.
Theses are things that anybody and everybody face at various points in their life.
But to walk with someone through these issues, helping them to understand that they are not alone in their suffering goes an extremely long way in building real community.

We are planning our first 'Open-House' info night to express to the neighborhood what it is us weirdos are doing there, In this time we will hear from the community itself what their concerns are, and how we can assist them in moving toward their goals of wholeness.
We are excited.
It's a slow, long-road approach. But that's ok. In the end we hope to have real, lasting friendships there as we work to share the good news that Jesus loves us all.

Some things that we are doing:
The first order of business was planting a garden for the community to care for, and to help the neighbors make flower beds at their place. It was a beautiful turnout...

A family lost their trailer to a fire last Christmas. It needs to be removed now, and we have rallied around 15 people from the neighborhood to help us tear it down and get it out so they can move on and not be stuck with paying lot rent on a burned out house.

Kids keep showing up to hang out, water the garden, and make cool things.

We are being invited into family situations to bring peace, order, and support to them.

We are partnering with two local church congregations to spill light and love into this struggling neighborhood, and help them turn it into a vibrant, loving community.

We are so blessed to have this opportunity.

Ways that you can help...

We need money. Personally, and corporately.

It takes money to run on, and to do awesome things. You can give if you'd like on this here PayPal button.  Just indicate that it's for either *The Sustars, or *The Commons, and you can receive a tax-receipt. Thank you!

If you'd like to volunteer, you are welcome to contact us, have a talk, get a little orientation, and we'll do this stuff together.

Please pray for us as we journey through. Thank you!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Happy New Year

Here in Wayne County Ohio, we are continuing in our relationship-building with families and individuals, and we're focusing our local work in one neighborhood.

A lot of families are in need. Poverty, educational delays, injustice, addiction, neglect, and isolation...These are widespread issues that are found just about everywhere you go.

People need help. People need friendship.

The best way to teach someone how not to be afraid of the dark, is to be in it with them.

So, that is what we are trying to do.
With that comes practical resource-connection, educational development, hospitality, community development, and spiritual renewal.

It's a 'long-road resolve', instead of only a pragmatic way of thinking. We are excited to share life with folks in a deeper way.

Some new things...

We are now an official Youth With A Mission operating location!

Our YWAM community in Modesto, California is now also our 'sending base' and  we are partnering together to be a Creative Compassionate Community that spans across the USA, Canada, and beyond. This is a really exciting endeavor. Check out where we're coming from Here

We are also partnering with Global Youth Volunteer Network based in Ontario, Canada. Teaching, learning, and doing 'acts of justice' around the world with University students. GYVN also focuses greatly on justice issues concerning indigenous people in North America and abroad, working to create change, hope, and healing. Check them out Here

Also, a local church congregation here owns a mobile home in one neighborhood that we are focused on. They have recognized a natural partnership with us, and have offered the home to us to use in our ministry operations!
This will allow us to have a presence in the neighborhood for all kinds of cool things...

office space, tutoring, counseling, after-school programs, neighborhood leadership initiatives, hospitality, and more.

This will be a beautiful 'Common Space' created for people to just 'be'.

This we believe, is essential to building relationships and making way for others to discover/display their own gifts, abilities, and potential.

We are excited to embark further down the road together with a community of like-minded friends that are going in the same direction.

Would you join us?

We need help financially as a family. We have raised around 60% of our needed support.

If you'd like to help, you can use the PayPal button above, and support goes directly through YWAM Modesto, then directly to us (be sure to make a note *Sustar Project of direction of funds). You can receive a tax-deductible receipt that way.

And please pray for us. We need that too, a lot.

If you would like to join us and volunteer, please drop us a line here in the comments and we will get in touch with you.

Thank you for reading... Peace and all good.