So Much

Maybe I should describe a little bit about what I do. Where we live.

We live in a Christian community in the Redwoods (as I've said), which has been a discipleship school for new believers for the past eight years. It's a long time! We are currently kind of revamping the whole thing, transforming it into more of an outreach community with room for discipleship. It's an interesting process.

Right now there are seven staff members, as well as six guys who are currently without title (previous students, but now that we've gotten rid of the student label, we're not exactly sure what to call them) and three little kids, to become five little kids this fall and winter. So, we have a pretty full Land (but believe me, we are not nearly as full as we have been at times in the past) and it is eventful.

Elena and I are both pregnant. And grumpy. She's probably grumpier than I am. (Just kidding) Anyways, when I moved here the first time, right after Chinua and I got married, Elena was pregnant with her first kid. And soon after, I discovered I was expecting my first kid. So, they are six months apart, and the best of friends. Now, we are pregnant together again except she is expecting her second, and I am expecting my third. Somehow I snuck another kid in there somewhere. Three kids in four years. (As I described to a friend who is getting married, earlier today, I'm not exactly the birth control poster child.)

Elena is one of the reasons that I'm still here today. Her and um, Chinua, of course. But one day, when the two of us were both eighteen and I was visiting the ministry in San Francisco for a week, she rang the doorbell over and over and said, when we let her in, that she wanted to follow Jesus. She was a drunk street girl nicknamed "Stumbles," and I personally wasn't sure how seriously to take her.

She was very, very serious. She never looked back, not even when her friends from the street threatened to storm our gate, not even when one of them stole our cat and tried to hold it hostage, with Elena as the ransom if we wanted to have the cat back. She didn't budge when they accused us of drugging the food. She didn't even look back during that first rainy winter, here at the Land. She was set on Jesus. That changed my life. Growing up as a Christian, I had honestly never seen someone turn to God like that. And since then, I have seen it over and over again, being here. It is nothing short of miraculous.

And hilarious. We have probably gathered some of the craziest characters in the world over the last thirteen years, and I'm not just talking about the people who are here right now, but everyone, even those who've spread out (you know who you are) and the stories we can tell are bizarre and wonderful. Every day I feel blessed, both by my memories, and by the people I'm living with now.

Anyways, I want to get more of these stories down. And I hope I'll be able to do that, here. I've always thought, as we sit around talking about what we've been through together, Somebody should really write these things down. The time the brakes went out on the bus, the time Scott made Thai curry to pass out on the streets and it was so spicy that some old guy threw his at us, saying "You're giving me a heart attack!" the time the Oklahoma City tornado was heading right for a group on tour, until at the last moment it was diverted.

Gosh, there's so much to write about. And so little time.