Monday, December 31, 2007

Ambling to Ambridge

The ambient ambivalence amassed among the inhabitants of the Gulf Coast toward the ministries of God's Kitchen and Church Army (i.e., "You're doing really good things, but could you please do it somewhere else?") has slowly been displacing its volunteers. Although ample ambition is available, we have been invited to ambulate our aspirations elsewhere. That "elsewhere" could turn out to be the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans, where we may be back up to speed about 6 months hence, if that is God's will for us.

During this transition period, many of the long term volunteers with the former God's Katrina Kitchen were taking refuge on the back lot of a church in Long Beach.

Along the property line are RV's and trailers for long term staff, e.g. (left>right), temporary homes for Greta, me, Nashua, and Van.

Farther back, vacant cabins that formerly housed short term volunteers are waiting for new locations with other Gulf Coast ministries, while space in the church buildings is used for short term mission teams still arriving.

The former site for short term mission teams lays denuded of its cabins, its utilities, and its life, seen here beyond my "big rig" packed for the journey north.

The big blue building at Camp Avenue is still in use as storage for the food and construction supplies for God's Kitchen.

Mr. Bill (left) is a graduate of the NoAH program of Church Army Gulf Coast, and he is staying on the Camp Avenue property to keep an eye on it. Nashua (right) has been an associate of the program; I dropped him off in La Grange, Georgia, with a Christian community who will appreciate his construction skills.

In Cartersville, Georgia I attended Sunday church services with my sister's Grandson, Michael Melendrez II and his family. He gave his life to Christ two years ago and is miraculously picking up the pieces of his shattered life. He has moved in with his mother, is looking for a job, and is participating fully in the life of Liberty Square church.

Michael rose to be with the Lord February 28, 2010. For updates on Michael, see : this web post

Next stop was Black Mountain, North Carolina for some fellowship with Colin Munroe and his lovely family. The last time I saw him was at his ordination (pictured).

Then it was time for the 11-hour drive north to Ambridge, stopping only for this photo of the longest single-span arch bridge in the U.S.


There I was welcomed by Bishop Alan and his wife April, who put me to house-sitting for a few days. They helped me find, rent, and move my stuff into a lovely ground floor apartment right in town.



The front door leads upstairs. My entry is through the back door, on a spacious deck overlooking the Ohio river gorge.

None of the feared snow or ice appeared during my drive north (although it may yet appear for New Year's Eve tonight). However, back at my sister's place in Paradise, California it did indeed snow, and she sent me this picture of her house.

For the next few months I will be working with Bishop Alan on developing ways to make disciples who make disciples. In the Gulf Coast, the Holy Spirit brought me just the right people at just the right times to show me, one step at a time, how discipleship might be done, especially among the lost and the lepers. I am looking forward to learning much more at my bishop's side.

That will have to suffice for a New Year's resolution, and for the last post of 2007. Thank you, all of you who have encouraged me with prayer or funds or just a kind word,

December 31, 2007.

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