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Settling In @ The Ranch

We've been in The Ranch for a total of four nights. While we're definitely not settled yet, we are getting there! But I'm going to rant for a minute. One of the biggest bummers about community houses seems to be that unless someone takes true responsibility for the place, the house can fall into terrible disrepair. Soren, one of the guys living here, said the other day "Oh man, this place used to be the nicest house on the block. Now it's one of the worst." It's nobody's fault, because it's everybody's fault. With people coming and going and busy life and no sense of "ownership," well, things have fallen apart a little. In fact, we've spent more time cleaning than we've spent unpacking. I'm pretty sure the grime in some of the cupboards hasn't been cleaned since the turn of the millennium (okay, maybe I'm exaggerating a little. But not much!).

Fortunately, though, both Danae and I are feeling really at peace about this move to the East Side of Vancouver. Already we're beginning to embody some of the rhythms of daily life we've been longing for: evening prayer, consistent time hanging with friends who are more vulnerable members of our society, local eating, and true community investment. Granted, we're a long way from Regent, but this definitely feels like the place we're supposed to be living as we continue our educations. Why learn about something if you aren't going to apply it?

The feeling in this neighborhood is unlike anything I've ever experienced before. It's like "village-life" in the city. Every time we go for a walk in the surrounding neighborhood we run into people we know and can stop to talk for a while. Indeed, the bulk of our life is within a 5 block radius (with the exception of Regent in the West End of Vancouver and family in the US, of course!) The church we attend is two doors down, the grocery store we shop at is only a couple of blocks away, our garden is in our front yard and most of our friends live less than five minutes away. We've never really experienced anything like this before, except when we were staying in our tent in a tiny village in Northern Uganda.

I know I'm a garden geek, I'm really excited by how our vegetables have come along while we've been in the United States. We've already begun eating the spinach and mustard greens, and are hoping to have our first radishes within the next week or so. A fall crop this far north can definitely be difficult, but I have high hopes that we'll have a substantial crop of beets, carrots, parsnips, kale, potatoes, beans and peas. The really fun vegetables like squash and tomatoes will have to wait until next year, but already we're sketching out how we're going to lay out the plot next year. A few hours of blackberry picking on Tuesday with friends down in Richmond yielded about 20 lbs of the biggest, sweetest blackberries I've ever tasted. Blackberry pie on a rainy November evening will definitely hit the spot!

Well, I've got some weeding to do as well as two papers to finish up for Regent, so I need to sign off now. As said, I'm hoping to begin blogging at least once a week, so check back soon!

Grace and Peace.


Comment Author Comment Text

Member Since:

Will be starting your book shortly. Heard you speak last night on behalf of the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission. What an incredibly gifted storyteller/speaker you are. Just sent out a tweet (@annegogh) to let others know about your speaking and your book. May God continue to take you on great adventures and spread his love.

Posted: 2009-10-17 06:17:40

Member Since:

Hi Mike,

I have just finished your book, and want to let you know that the recount of your journey has transformed my attitude towards the homeless. We have a growing problem here in the Comox Valley with very limited low cost housing and new street people arriving daily. It is rumored that the people of the East side of Vancouver are being given ferry and bus tickets to Courtenay in preparation for the Olympics.

I will be encouraging everyone around me to read your book so that we can collectively express love and compassion while being proactive to help alleviate the problem of homelessness.

Thankyou for obeying the call of God on your life. You have stirred an awakening in many Christians and in the Church to be way more than we tend to settle for! God bless your ministry!

Posted: 2009-11-16 16:30:47


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