The past two weeks have been packed for Eileen and me, hence the lack of new posts during that time. Everything that has happened, however, is significant, so here's a quick overview of what God's been doing in our lives:
1) Moving. As of July 22, we no longer live in the Seminary's apartments. That day, with the help of a few friends from the Open Door and from the Seminary, as well as with a U-Haul truck four times bigger than necessary, we moved into a house in Garfield, a neighborhood just a few blocks away. The owners of the house are Kendall and Jen Pelling, and we are renting a bedroom from them while sharing a kitchen, living room, and dining room. The house is over a hundred years old but feels almost brand-new thanks to Kendall's remodeling expertise. There are two reasons why we're doing this: a) It's a chance to live in Christian community, sharing possessions and space with each other the way the early church did. There are many other Christian communities doing this in America's cities and inner-cities today (Simple Way), and while the house probably won't take on the monastic flavor that others have, it will be an amazing experience. I don't know how God will change us during this time, but as our lives together take shape, I pray that Christ will be glorified and that we will all become more like Him through this time. b) This is the first time Eileen and I have lived in a mostly African-American neighborhood. A distinctive mark of similar Christian communities which I mentioned above is a passion for racial reconciliation, manifest in moving into neighborhoods that other white folks might not. This will also be a new experience, but priceless, I am sure. Praise God that now after talking/blogging here and there about problems of racism in Pittsburgh, I get to walk the walk.
2) Yesterday was our first anniversary! Praise God for a year of love, growth, and joy. Of course there were rough spots, but Eileen and I would both surely say we've grown through them. To celebrate, Eileen and I took off to Faith Mountain, a retreat center for pastors in the middle of rural West Virginia. Our weekend there was amazing as we enjoyed the beautiful mountains of WV, hiked, explored the small towns nearby, and spent time reconnecting with God and each other. Once we have pictures available, I may post a bit more about that trip, especially the bizarre looking turtle we stumbled upon while hiking.
3) Right after we returned from WV yesterday, we went to the Open Door where we participated in a special prayer time for Amara and Emilee, two young women whom we were blessed by every Wednesday in our weekly Bible study at the Open Door. They are each leaving Pittsburgh, both to New York state, though for different callings. Saying goodbye to them at the Creasys' house last night made me think about how the composition of the Open Door will change this year. Even as Eileen and I become a bit less involved there so that I can pursue field education at Northmont United Presbyterian Church, I know part of my heart will always be with the folks at Open Door. I have encountered no community like it who as a church embodies what it means to be followers of Jesus. I'm grateful for all the encouragement they've given me this year and look forward to seeing what God will do in the future there.
So with moving, church busy-ness, and the celebration of our first anniversary, it's obvious that a lot is happening in life. I hope to post more about the insights and lessons that I learn in the coming months. Praise God for his faithfulness and life in Christ!