In just one week we’ll be embarking on a cross country road trip to the next chapter in our lives- we’re moving from Boston to Los Angeles! In November, my husband was offered an associate pastor position at an amazing multi-ethnic, urban church in Los Angeles, named New City Church of Los Angeles. Which as some of you may remember was also the name of our church plant here in Boston which we said goodbye to last Spring. God’s ways are so poetic, aren’t they? All the time we were praying and preparing our hearts for New City Boston , God was preparing our hearts for New City LA. We’re sure of it. After spending time with the amazing leadership at New City and coming to know Pastor Kevin Haah as an incredible man of God and mentor, we had that kismet feeling of being right in the middle of God’s best plan for our family, calling, and passions. It’s almost like, our hearts were made for this diverse community that seeks wholeness for Los Angeles.
A Road-Trip With a Purpose
As TC (the hubs) and I planned a family road trip #FromBostonToLA, we realized that we had a unique opportunity to take our school-aged kids (Tyson, 12, TJ 9, and Trinity 8) back to the cities we loved. The cities, as Jeremiah 29:7 says, we were “carried away” and “sought [their] peace”.
My kids are of age to understand that as Jesus followers, our calling is to be Agents of Shalom in whatever city, community, and context we find ourselves for “as we seek their peace, so shall we find our peace.” So, we sat down and planned an adventure of blessing non-profits, ministries, and people who have faithfully sought the peace of their cities.
Here’s the plan:
- Eleven days
- Eight cities
- Five Love bombs addressing five cries of the city.
I made this slideshow detailing our Road Trip:
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Cries of the City:
From our experience in urban ministry we found there are five significant cries of the cities- five areas where there is profound, systemic brokenness that we can help bind up. Each organization we’re partnering with on our road-trip addresses on or more of these cries:
1: Poverty/ wealth inequality
2: Mass Incarceration/
In upcoming #FromBostonToLA posts, I’ll identify each need and unpack it a bit more for you, because I’m passionate about bridging the urban/suburban divide.
I have over eleven years of inner city ministry /urban core development experience and have seen each of those play out in terrible, destructive ways.
Responding to the Cries of the City
There’s been a ton of invitations to listen to the cries of the city from amazing leaders like Shane Claiborne, Jen Hatmaker, and Tim Keller. But, I still have so many conversations with my readers and friends in the suburbs who want to care about the city be feel overwhelmed. I so wish I could sit down with each one with a cup of coffee and tell my story of how God intercepted my dreams of teaching English and coaching my high school’s drill team in my suburban Texas town to a moving into a neighborhood known for its gang violence to minister to teens there. I wish I could share how I learned that small efforts towards change are powerful and how the women I respected most weren’t only the ones who moved in with me, but came in from the suburbs to consistently care for the community. I wish I could dispel the mystic of inner city ministry; no matter where we live, the largest city near us (and her brokenness) affect us so I believe we’re all called to seek the peace of the city in whatever way we can.
Like I wrote to my sisters in the suburbs- I see you. You see the homeless, the gang involved youth, the working mom barely feeding her children with her monthly food stamp allotment, the kids with aspirations for college and you wonder, ‘how can I help? How can I involve my family? How can I mobilize my small group?’ It’s my goal with this series of posts on our road trip #FromBostonToLA, that as you watch my family learn about and support organizations who do good work in their cities, that caring for your city will feel more accessible. I hope our journey will empower you, my sisters in the suburbs to ROCK OUT SHALOM for your cities and for His glory. And if you already live in the city, I pray this series rekindles your love for us and fills you with vision for it.
So, follow me these next few weeks as we move #FromBostonToLA. At each visit along the road-trip we’re dropping off what we’re calling, “Love Bombs” boxes full of donations to help that organization continue their good work, I’ll also write a feature post on the specific cry of the city they’ve responded to and how you as a stay at home mama can help a similar organization in your community.
I can’t sit with every one of you and study your city with you, but I can show you where to start and capture your imagination these next couple of weeks.
Yesterday, the kids and I started shopping for our love bombs.
I’m still looking for a foster mom to love bomb, so please email me firstname.lastname@example.org with your nominations.
Since I’m a Noonday ambassador, I’d love to give this mama a lovely piece from our new spring line that comes out on the 17th, as well as the best Mother’s Day-esque love bomb the kids and I can think of because these warrior women are holding it down for love, community, wholeness, and family in a powerful way.
Until next week where I’ll tune your ears to the cries of the cities know this: You are gifted. You are important. You have the capacity to love well and hard. You were made for this moment, so seize the Shalom and seek the peace of your city. Don’t worry if you don’t know how to do that, yet. That’s what I’m here for, Dear One.
Prepping Love Bombs and Packing for our move,