12 November 2014

Welcome to Roosevelt

It’s time to tell a tale about how Nate landed in a very specific community within the megalopolis. In the weeks leading up to the move to Phoenix, Nate had traveled up north from Tucson several times to explore housing options.  He was melting away in the August summer sun as the move became more imminent each day. Walking around with little energy to spare, Nate was ready to give up. After several seeming promising options fell through and all the rest were uninspiring at best, Nate was ready to settle. However, he kept recalling the idea not to let good compete with great. If these kept falling through, God must have a reason.

It wasn't an easy concept to live by. Walking confidently into the unknown while trying to reconcile a basic need such as shelter does not yield peace by the world’s standards. Nate begrudgingly came to the conclusion one Monday night before community group that if he was going to make it through this situation ulcer-free, the answer was not going to come from where he was looking. In what should have been option one, but was now a last ditch effort, he gave it to God.

Not half an hour later, Nate found an ad on Craigslist that caught his attention. It had just enough information to not write it off as a total dive, and the potential to be amazing. Immediately he emailed, then called, not wanting the opportunity to pass by like so many others. On the drive to home group ten minutes later, a return call came in. A meeting was now arranged to meet the following Wednesday. Fortunately, God had already released me from work that day. He knew what was going on.

Wednesday was slated to be the biggest storm in Southern Arizona history. People were gathering sandbags. Schools closed. Reporters warned you to stay off the roads, especially the interstate to Phoenix. Would Nate make it, or would he miss the opportunity and have to start from square one?

Nate miraculously made it to Phoenix through the immeasurable amount of rain and enjoyed a delicious burrito bowl at Chipotle with his sister. Standing on the grand porch of his potential home with an optional umbrella watching the light drizzle, he surveyed the situation from a global perspective. This home met far more of the criteria than the fallout options, and he hadn't even been inside yet. God wanted “great” for Nate, but until now, Nate had gotten in the way trying to obtain something “good". This was great.

By leading Nate into this community, he also led Nate from a good church community to a great one. On his way back from the Phoenix Public Market Cafe his inaugural Sunday, he overheard worship coming from a church  that he had noticed a time or two. Unfortunately he had already committed to a newcomer class at different church. As he drove to the class, he recalled another concept God had put on his heart. His new church would be about having community within his community. Even though this church was a fine, Jesus loving establishment, he traversed what felt like 5 distinct communities to get there. If Nate was going to trust God, he had to say “no” to this church.

The following Sunday, he walked 4 blocks home to Roosevelt Community Church where he was seamlessly plugged into a community group instantaneously. This sealed the deal. Again, God knows great. Community exists within the megalopolis when you let Him lead you to it.
Clearly, Nate was placed in this home, in this church, by God, for a purpose.

The journey isn’t over. The biggest challenge is yet to come. Roosevelt Row is known for it’s connection to the arts community. The richest rich and poorest poor co-mingle in Roosevelt. These assets and deficits come in many fashions - financial, spiritual, emotional, and relational. Roosevelt is not just a neighborhood, not just a tourist destination, it is a clearly my mission field. It is real life, amplified. Looking around, there is impact to be had. It would have been easy to be anonymous and disconnected in the fallout locations. God knew this too. Challenge accepted. Welcome to Roosevelt.

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