Let your roots grow down into him and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. Colossians 2:7
And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of justice. James 3:18
Growing Community: S.E.E.D.S
We want to be better focused on our mission in Aurora. We are doers by nature and we often lose sight of our purpose in the doing. So we forced ourselves to stop, pray, and clarify. We are naming our mission S.E.E.D.S, an acronym to describe our own journey to this point and the direction we feel called to go.
S. Serve. The first thing we do is serve people. It’s through service that we meet people, grow as individuals and as a team, and get a better sense of who we are, whom we’re meant to serve, and who God is. Even when we don’t know which direction to go, we serve.
E. Engage. Then we start to develop and initiate relationships. We start to learn more about the people we’ve served or served next to. We begin a conversation with people.
E. Empathize. Then we begin walking alongside the people we serve and work with. We enter their journeys and we “do life” together. We share with and influence each other. We serve each other, learning about each other and ourselves.
D. Disciple. We want to encourage everyone we know to be a disciple of Jesus. This stage is
where an invitation might take place. It’s where the people we’ve been walking alongside are
challenged to live a life committed to Christ and to discovering his unique call for their lives.
S. Send. Once someone becomes a disciple, they are sent. It doesn’t mean they’re always sent overseas or even sent “away” from our community but they are sent to live differently than before. They’re now called to become SEEDS in the lives of others. So they circle back to the first ‘S’ in their own way, in their own community (or maybe in the same one).
We have also developed a vision statement for our mission in Aurora and in any community in which we live, it is: “Our vision is to be Jesus’ transformative presence in our community.” By anchoring our vision on Jesus’ presence we are trying to encompass many different aspects, including growing relationships, empowering and impacting people, loving and giving hope, eating together, healing, pursuing justice, and simply living among those in need and making “their” community “our” community.
We see our vision and mission here in Aurora as works-in-process. We want to regularly reevaluate these ideas and hope any of you that are interested might engage with us in either cementing or reshaping our guiding principles so we can better sow “seeds of peace.”
Bible Study Corner
One recurring theme in our Bible Study and walk with God is worry and trust. Our worry or stress has been pointing towards our own lack of trust in God. A few verses that have helped us in this journey are:
2 Corinthians 1:9
Community Updates, Subjects of Prayer, and Specific Needs
1 – Christele. After staying with us for five whirlwind weeks and completely changing our lives, the State placed Christele with a longer term foster family from Nigeria. They have two little kids she adores and a grandmother living at home who just might get Christele in a way that few do. We are still in contact, spending time with her and attending update meetings. During her short time with us, we learned an incredible amount about Christele and the depth of her hurt. She exhibits many signs of different forms of abuse and there are suspicions that she has been somehow involved in prostitution. Despite being somewhat closed towards these issues, she has a new therapist that seems promising. Christele gets overwhelmed by all of the people who care about her (she screams “you guys care too much!”), but we believe it’s just another sign of the spiritual battles being waged within her heart. Please continue to pray for this beautiful girl, that God will bring healing to her
deeply wounded soul and that He will continue to give us wisdom about how best to love her.
2 – D. White Law. Can you find Djibouti on a map? This tiny east African nation is home to a
strategic military presence of the U.S., Japan, and France. It is also a country that openly admits to acts of torture against members of minority tribes and political activists. Derek is enjoying serving and getting to know several courageous young men from Djibouti who were tortured for their belief in democratic values. Alicia cooked them a delicious Mexican meal that we all enjoyed on the floor of our tiny apartment. We think it reminded them of home. Please pray for these young men and others like them.
3 – Community Garden. As you see in the attached photos, we had a great launch to the growing season! We’ve connected with some amazing people from around the world so far. This weekend we took a Burmese family of six to Mount Evans to enjoy a picnic, views from 14,000 feet, and sledding on our backs down the snow drifts. We are grateful to our friends Johnny and Melissa for letting us borrow their larger vehicle so we could all fit in one car and Alex for accompanying us and helping with supplies. Our next garden goal is to engage the children in the community through art. Please pray that we will better empower others in the garden to grow as leaders and engage the community beyond the garden.
4 – Women’s Group. Alicia continues to be inspired and humbled by the women she has the opportunity to meet through this monthly meeting. She has been wrestling lately with how it has been more difficult than expected to facilitate connections between women from such diverse backgrounds and cultures. Please pray that God will continue to use this little group to decrease isolation among women and create supportive friendships!
5 – Community Health Work. While she studies for her boards, Alicia is pursuing her passion of helping and advocating for those in her community who do not have adequate access to health care. She is starting to engage with (1) a community health worker program that trains people in local African and Asian immigrant communities about health topics and navigation and (2) a local effort to address inadequate access to primary care leading to overuse of local emergency rooms. Please pray for guidance as she seeks to advocate for and educate the many people in our community suffering from an oppressive health care system.
6 – Thank You! We were touched by how many of you responded to our last newsletter (now two months ago) with prayer, love, and generous support. We have been indescribably blessed by our many deep relationships. We pray that as we have freely received so much from all of you, we will freely give to others (Matthew 10:8).
Derek & Alicia