Today I am going to a potluck with the Latino ministry of my church. I am just getting to know these people better after being gone for a year, and I’m always a little nervous as I take my imperfect Spanish and white face to hang out with people who are at least related to a Hispanic person if they are not one themselves. But they never make me feel out of place.
So, as I bring my little pasta salad tonight, I’m praying that God will provide good community for me through these people.
Fall is here—the season of harvest and plenty. I love fall because of the beauty that can be found and the beautiful crispness to the air. I am also so very glad to spend this fall in the Midwest where there are actually seasons instead of one season—hot—in Santa Cruz.
But this has also been a season of scarcity for me as I start a new job and learn how to live on my own on a barista’s budget. I am so ready for another job, but until God provides, I’m trying to enjoy all that He’s teaching me. These words from Streams in the Desert yesterday were perfect for me.
Sermon of the Field. This is its solemn word to me. You must die in order to live. You must refuse to consult your own ease and well-being. You must be crucified, not only in desires and habits which are sinful, but in many more which appear innocent and right. If you would save others, you cannot save yourself. If you would bear much fruit, you must be buried in darkness and solitude. My heart fails me as I listen. But, when Jesus asks it, let me tell myself that is my high dignity to enter into the fellowship of His sufferings; and thus I am in the best of company.
I love the line “not only in desires and habits which are sinful, but in many more which appear innocent and right.” I have to examine my heart and ask myself if my desire to help those in South Minneapolis is solely for God’s glory, and if it isn’t, then I must weed out every selfish desire until it is a pure desire, fueled by God’s heart and accomplished for His purposes.
I am grateful for this season in which I must lose myself to gain Christ and thus to help others know Him.
I know God can use me at the coffee shop where I work. I know that my purpose there is not at all in vain and that this season is growing me. I want to serve with a smile, and I love getting to know my co-workers. However, I am also SO ready to have a job where I am helping people with more than their coffee addiction. My heart is to help the hurting and oppressed. This morning I read these verses, and they are the reason I am so eager for my phone to ring with good news today.
As much as I love living with these ladies, I can't get over the commute. Over thirty minutes to get to my current job at a coffee shop. Exactly thirty to get to the place I interview at tomorrow, and thirty-five to get to where I interviewed at today. So why am I working/looking for jobs so far away? These places are all in South Minneapolis. I wish I could describe to you why I am so drawn to this area. Let me start with my commute. Everyday I go into the city, my first fifteen minutes are listening to John Piper and traffic-weaving. Then, I round the corner by exit 25 and the startling skyline of downtown Minneapolis greets me. The towering skyscrapers are my goal as I coax my little Ford Focus up to 70 to get past a big truck. Just when I could exit right to get to those skyscrapers, I instead stay left to take 55 to skirt around the craziness. A few blocks south and east, I turn right, and there I enter another world. Suddenly, most people I see aren't the same color as me. Houses are bright colors, driving takes on a fight-for-survival feel, and life slows down. I wouldn't walk alone in Powderhorn at night, but during the day Latino families stroll down the sidewalks and shops sell Halal meat and special rices. Signs are in Spanish and English and/or Arabic or Amharic. There is also need in this area. One neon sign on my way to work proclaims "Metal detectors sold here." Some houses are unkempt, and it's not uncommon to see a person holding a cardboard sign asking for food or money.
Diversity meets need. My passions (cultures and languages) meet my desire (to help those in need). This is why I want to live in South Minneapolis, and that is why, as much as I love my roommates, I want to move soon to a house in South Minneapolis to live with other wonderful girls from my church. I'm ready to stay put in one place for a few years. I'm ready for stability, and I'm ready to have a neighborhood to call home and share Jesus with. Pray with me that all of this happens in God's perfect timing.
I am an official Greek student! Last night I started taking a weekly class through my church’s school. I can’t express how nice it was to sit at a table and waited calmly for my teacher to start the class—no responsibilities and I got to be the student. Teaching last year made me appreciate my moments as the student so much more.
Here are some reasons that I am taking this class:
- I want to know God better, and reading His word in its original language is a good way to do that
- If I become a Bible translator this class will not not only helpful but essential
- As a linguist I am excited to know Greek for two reasons
1. Professional development
2. When asked me how many languages I speak I don’t have to say “only two” anymore!
- This class is a great way to know people at my church and become more involved
- I feel as though God is calling me here
Over the next nine months you will hopefully see me refer to the Greek I’m learning once in a while. I hope and pray that the new things I learn about God through this class will permeate all areas of my life.
I don’t know exactly what my expectations were… that the perfect job and house would fall into my lap, that I would cease to struggle once back in my native country, that I could pick up right where I had left off over a year ago. Whatever my perceptions were of moving back to the Twin Cities, they were off.
The “perfect house” that I want to live in is full. There might be a room for me in two months or there might not. I love the girls I live with and the house I live in here in the suburbs, but it does not fit my dreams of urban living with Latino neighbors.
And my job. Where to start? I applied diligently for dozens of jobs during the month of August. I worked on my resume, I dropped it off at the jobs I really wanted. I’ve had three interviews so far, and the job I have right now is working part time at a coffee shop. Not very glamorous. Handing $5 drinks to people who can afford them doesn’t really make me feel like I’m working for the good of humankind.
When I think about it, it makes sense that it should take me awhile to get established here, that maybe God is easing me from Bolivian culture into what He has for me. But lately I have been chomping at the bit. I want work NOW. I don’t like haven’t weekdays off where all I do is stare at the computer screen, scanning job sites and reworking my resume. I think I expected the Autobahn and what I got was right-lane traffic during rush hour.
Thankfully I can trust in God’s word.
The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; Your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of Your hands.
I can't live in a full house.
So, I found a wonderful solution. Until a space in the house opens up, I'm living with my friend Ellen in her beautiful house north of the Twin Cities. There are four of us Northwestern grad (or current workers at NWC) ladies living in this house, and it's wonderful! There are walking trails nearby, it's in a great neighborhood, and it's in driving distance of my job.
Praise God for in-between seasons.
Thanks for checking it out!