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2009-08-06

"The Ranch"

Danae and I have been up here in Vancouver for around seven months now, having moved up from Oregon in early January. Our time at Regent College (www.regent-college.edu) has been incredibly fruitful, and we've only grown in our desire to be life-long learners. Again and again I've been struck by the incredible history of the Church, by the movement of God's people throughout the centuries, and by the subtle but discernible way in which God is moving things in accordance with His plan. At the same time even as we've been learning we've also been feeling a growing desire to not allow ourselves to learn only for the sake of learning alone. Knowledge is meant to inform lifestyle. We want to be involved and active in our community. We want to be building relationships and friendships with those who are marginalized in our society. We want to be "living into" some of our deepest beliefs and convictions about what it means to be Christian in the midst of our broken world.

And so, after almost two years since our last "Community Living" experience, Danae and I have decided to once again throw caution (and privacy) to the wind. Later this month we will move in to a community house in East Vancouver called "The Ranch." The Ranch is one of the three houses developed by Co:Here and is built around the vision of creating "a place of welcome and friendship to the poor, marginalized, and those who normally don't have a place of welcome in the neighborhood." Undoubtedly this sort of embodied vision will mean some significant challenges, but of course great and unexpected graces as well.

Along with Joshua and Sarah (the other married couple in the house) we've been busy getting the exterior of The Ranch ready. Our collective vision is pretty lofty: organic vegetable garden, six or seven laying hens, and (someday) bees. Vancouver is in one of the very best bio-regions for growing just about anything except tropical fruits. Apples, pears, plums, apricots, grapes, walnuts, hazelnuts, all grow exceptionally well here, not to mention just about every vegetable you can imagine. So far we've planted kale, chard, beets, broccoli, radishes, spinach, lettuce, mustard greens, bok choy, beans, peas, arugula, carrots, parsnips and, of course, tomatoes.

Regarding the interior life, we're hoping to establish life-giving rhythms within the house that enable deeper relationships to form even amidst everyone's disparate schedules. Things like morning prayer, weeknight community meals, and a backyard fire pit (hopefully!) are in the works. Additionally, there is a self-contained basement suite which is used to house a homeless man or woman for 2-4 weeks. We're all really excited to finally have a living situation which will allow us to consistently welcome the homeless of our city into a more stable living situation. Granted it's not permanent housing, but as a place of rest and welcome, hopefully it's a step in a hopeful direction.

All that to say, we're really excited about this new living situation and for the ways the Lord is sure to move in the midst of it all. We'll do our best to keep the blog updated (my goal is once per week).

Grace and Peace.

-Mike.





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