I'm including my support letter that I sent out this summer. It contains information on what I'm doing this year through my internship. I will be adding Monthly updates very soon.
For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. 2 Cor. 5:14-15
I hope that this letter finds you doing well and I am excited to share what’s been going on in my life lately. Since graduating from college a year ago I’ve been on an interesting road that’s consisted of interviews, big life questions, various jobs, and confusion about the direction of my life. This was mixed periods of depression and struggling to find purpose while feeling very distant from God. At the beginning of May, while still wrestling with these things, a door was opened to me to move down to Memphis for the summer and serve as a construction manager for an urban home repair ministry called Service Over Self (SOS). Over the past few months God has used my job and the people around me to begin a redemptive work in my life and recently opened an opportunity beyond the summer. Being in Memphis, I’ve witnessed God using people of all sorts (of all races and socioeconomic levels) to advance his name in the Binghampton neighborhood in which we’ve been working. I’ve fallen in love with the community and the strategic efforts being done here to spread the word of God and redeem this blighted part of the city, and I am very excited that I’ll be getting a chance to continue living here and contribute my own gifts and passions.
At the end of August I will begin a program through SOS called The Academy, which takes recent college grads and places them with ministries in the community that fit our unique interests and abilities for a one-year internship. Also, we will be living in Binghampton, participating in book studies, as well as going on a mission trip to East Asia. Attached is a letter from the SOS director Philip Walkley further explaining The Academy. My internship will be split between two ministries, the Binghampton Development Corporation (BDC) and SOS. The BDC seeks to revitalize the community mainly through housing and economic development. One part of that is creating job training and employment opportunities. One of the BDC’s latest projects, and one that I will personally be working on very closely is the Urban Farm. The purpose of the farm is to remain economically sustainable while providing work, training, and most importantly nutritious and affordable food to people who don’t currently have access to that. I’ll also continue working with SOS and serving during their college camps this fall and next spring.
What might be most interesting to me is seeing how I uniquely fit into these two very needed roles. God has gone before me and is using seemingly random experiences in my past such as working at an inner city youth camp 5 years ago and my semester abroad in Costa Rica studying sustainable agriculture to prepare me for what I’ll be doing. But along with all of this excitement comes the challenge of raising my own salary for the year. This task frightens me, but I am trusting God to provide for me in this. I have, however, come to realize some good things about raising support. For one, it forces me to rely on God as raising this money is very much out of my control. Support raising will cause me to put extra prayer and purpose behind the work I’ll be doing. It reminds me of my need for others who can love and encourage me. It gives me the opportunity to share with people like you what God is doing, thus expanding into areas outside of Memphis. I am very excited to see how God draws me closer to him and deepens my faith and trust in him throughout this support raising process as I witness his provision.
So, In order to continue this work I need to partner with people who share my desire to spread God’s word and to improve the lives of those in need. This is why you are important. As I begin raising this $15,000 I’m looking for people who will do more than simply write a check. I need People who will pray for me and Memphis, who will encourage me in the work I’m doing, who will share with me their lives as I share with them mine. I want people who, although they may not be here in Memphis, want to be a part of what God is doing here. I’m writing you this letter because for one reason or another I felt like this might be something that you would want to be a part of. I ask that you would pray about your decision and ask God to see if this is a ministry that he wants you to invest in however you may be able whether financially, prayerfully, or by any other means that you may be led. I would love to get a response from everyone even if you decide not to give financially. Simply fill out the response card and mail it in the preaddressed stamped envelope included. If you do feel that God is moving you to give, there are options of a one-time, quarterly, or monthly gift(s); which can be paid by check, credit card, or even directly deducted from a bank account. I can assure you that your money will be used directly for my internship. (See Philip’s letter for breakdown of how the money will be used.) If 50 people could give only $25 a month ($300 for the year) I would reach my goal, but again, seek God on this and see how much you personally can give.
I am extremely excited for this next year and believe what the verse at the top of this letter says, in that since Christ died for us we must live our lives for him. I pray that through this next year and beyond I will seek to do just that; following wherever I feel him leading and trusting him despite my fears, uncertainties, and weaknesses that he will use me for his glory. I am thankful for this opportunity to glorify God with you. I thank you for taking the time to read this, and since I can only fit so much information into a letter I would encourage you to contact me with any questions or just to talk about this more. I would especially love to talk with you in person if the chance permits, as I will be in Missouri for most of August before starting the Academy.
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident in this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.