Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Growing Again

Amy hard at work turning the soil.

We are gardening again. But this year it's a lot different. Last year we had 3 gardens with 32 beds. This year we have one 8 x 24 foot bed. So why did we change?

In late 2010 we had an idea of utilizing the 300+ vacant lots in our neighborhood for growing food. City-owned lots are available for lease from the city for $5 for 5 years for gardening. The idea was that having residents grow food on the lots beautifies the neighborhood and gets fresh, healthy food available here. Also, it reveals the glory of God in creation and how He set us to rule over it. An added bonus is that the city no longer has to spend tax money to keep up the lots.

So that was our idea, but we weren't sure where to go with it. Then we more or less stumbled into taking on three defunct community gardens. We were up for the task, and thought we would have another opportunity of selling the produce and paying neighborhood kids to work in the gardens. At that point we began the journey of learning how hard gardening is. The summer was one of the worst in St. Louis history, being incredibly hot and dry. Our gardens didn't produce much at all. But we were able to reward one youth for working in the garden with a donated laptop.

By the end of the season, it became obvious that the method we were using was not the way to accomplish our goal, and not just because it was a lot of work. We were on other people's land, and the gardens were massive. The original vision was to come alongside families and teach them to garden. We were not leading the vision with our actions. So we let everyone know we were done with the gardens. They reverted to their previous organizations. Luckily, two of the three are still being utilized.

We were left without a garden, but still had a vision with such real potential - not only for provision, but for teaching skills and revealing who God is. Then came the Leadership Center. The Leadership  
Center is where missionaries transition into full-time ministry, shared resources, and living in their own housing. When we got the house, there was an 8 x 24 foot raised bed in the backyard. Now we could really engage the vision. We have a reasonably sized garden with the goal of supporting a family (or nine adult missionaries plus a baby).

the bed before any work.  all grass!

We ended up planting rather late in the season, due to a missionary wedding, but things are growing. We are also starting a medicinal herb garden, and there are plenty of flowers promising to pop up.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Missionary Spotlight

We are Jason and Amy Calahan. We were married in May of 2012, in Hyde Park, after working side by side in the ministry since late 2009. We have committed to being life-long, full-time Missionaries to America.

After seeking to have a living faith and entering discipleship, Jason was moved by the enormity of the vision to reform the church and the inner cities of America. Amy was called through her passion to see people restored to what God made them to be. We are both program developers for the ministry, and have become skilled in many aspects, from woodshop and sewing center, to gardening and building rehab. In addition to all that, we are also a part of Reformation Sound, our band of missionaries.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Missionary Spotlight

We are Mark and Jessica Sanford. We moved to Hyde Park as missionaries in September of 2011. Mark is currently in transition from full time employment to work as a full time missionary. Jessica is the supervisor of the sewing center in the Opportunity Center. We were married in 2009, after God brought us together through a pretty radical and unconventional love story, and we set forth together to follow the call that God has placed on our lives-- a call of reformation to reform the inner cities of America, the Church of America, and the arts as an expression of honesty, sincerity, and God's glory . Both of us are involved in Reformation Sound (a band formed from the missionaries of Sun Ministries), and Jessica is currently writing a novel, Unvoiced.

We have been placed here, now, as stewards of God's grace and the gifts He has given to us. This means following the commands of Christ, pursuing a life of true religion (helping the widows and orphans in their distress, and remaining unstained by the world), and doing our part to bring God's Kingdom to Hyde Park.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Missionary Spotlight

We are Christopher and Krissy Goodwin. We became missionaries with sun ministries in April of 2012 with our daughter, Madelyn, and another daughter on the way. Our heart is to see God's glory declared through the inner cities of America through the rebuilding of the neighborhood and the lives of those living in them.

Spiritual restoration and respect of authority are very important to us and we hope to instill those values in the neighborhood we minister to. We are excited to see how God is teaching us to grow a family as well as pastor a community in the design He has outlined in His word.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Missionary Spotlight

My name is Mark Goodwin, and I am a missionary with Sun Ministries. I became a full time missionary in the summer of 2011. My heart began to move towards being a missionary while I was in college studying to be a youth minister at Missouri Baptist University. I graduated in 2008 and very quickly realized that several years of school and countless hours of study, debate and discussion among peers had done very little to prepare me to carry out Christ's commands to care for the widows and orphans and the poor.
I began to work part of the time with Sun Ministries after college while spending most of my time doing what most college grads do, working at coffee shops. God began to pull on my heart more and more until finally He made a way for me to Give my whole life and all my time in full time ministry. I moved to Hyde Park and slept on a couch in an old warehouse for several months because I knew that no matter what my conditions were, I was here to serve the very people that God has charged all believers with serving. Hyde Park is a very beat up neighborhood with generations worth of attack and destruction from Satan. I look forward to my future of being a missionary and seeing where God will take me.