I have grown to seek and expect opportunity of discerning what is wrong and stepping in to dissolve its power. In small ways, the ability to know and do what is right is always asking us to respond. By having the courage to respond, the situation is not always made well, but I pray that we would never become weary of reacting to the world around us in a way that begs for justice. My confidence in this regard has been lacking for a long time. My practical experiences this year had created a pithy fog of inadequacy when it came to sustainable change, however, that in itself shows a weak confidence that the Lord is whom He says He is, and what He has equipped us to do.
My anthem to couple this is camaraderie, a team. My hope for Alameda Park is that the partners would lean into collaboration more and more so that every crack is filled. That way we can move away from once a week alleviation work to a more justice-centric model. We all have our specific skills and knowledge base to create a greater whole when beckoned upon. In example: Kati meets Mark at the Park. Mark has been living in his car for three months with his two sons and girlfriend. He has depression and anxiety, little desire to work, and has failed every drug test. There is only one local shelter fit for families, and they have yet to approve their eligibility. As a Santa Barbara native, Mark has a strong unwillingness to relocate. Where are the gaps? We’re in need of housing, employment, nutritional meals, and a way to keep the boys in school. Therefore, we need to call upon a dedicated housing specialist, a compliant landlord, a counselor for mental health, and an employment services coordinator… all of which would be conducive for a stable and safe living environment so that attending school (and focusing once present) is more accessible.
A consistent and strong team committed to changing marginalized circumstances is the goal. Please be in prayer for a continued rise in confidence as we strive to be present peacemakers in our city.
With gratitude for who you are and the belief you have in our work,