When I read "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years" by Donald Miller (who's writing I absolutely LOVE) I realized we were well on our way to living a better story.....
My husband and I are "normal." We have normal jobs, 2 kids and a dog, and are living in a 3 bedroom, 2 bath home in Yukon, Oklahoma. We've always been involved in church, helping out in areas that needed volunteers and considered ourselves to be "doing what God had called us to do."
Three years ago our world started getting rocked. We became uncomfortable in the things we were doing. At first we thought about becoming more involved in church, perhaps stretching ourselves into different areas, but that didn't help. We opted to change churches, maybe another one out there would offer us what we were looking for....not to be found. We considered moving to a different area, a different part of Oklahoma or maybe even a different state....no can do. We felt stuck and didn't know what to do, other than pray, so that's what we did.
On a random, not so memorable day in February of 2007, my husband was at his wits end and basically in his own way, laid it all on the line with God. He was given a vision of community, right here where we lived, in downtown OKC. Within the next two weeks he was filling out paperwork and moving forward in obtaining a 501-C3 to start a non-profit, The Center Post, to provide an establishment that will impact the community and improve quality of life for those who inhabit it.
1. A community based outreach touching lower income families where they live by bringing food, clothing and friendship to their homes.
2. Instructing the community on how one can cultivate staple crops such as corn, beans, tomatoes and other kinds of vegetables and fruits in the back yards and open areas of land throughout Oklahoma City thus relieving some of the economic strain.
3. Preparing survival packages to those without a home. Basic needs such as socks, scarves, drinking water and insoles.
4. A venue that will bring awareness to the community with music and art as well as bring social and economic integration.
5. A facility that aids in the education of urban youth, giving them a safe haven after school to study and grow.
6. An outreach directed towards the children of local hospitals in an effort to bring hope and laughter to terminally ill children and their families.
It has been a long process and we have had many obstacles throughout the last 3 years come against us. It's big and scary and exciting and sometimes we sit back and ask if we know what we're getting ourselves into...and then our heartbeat gets stronger and the need to make a difference overwhelms us and so we persist.
We are still waiting on the 501-C3, but we know it will come at the right time. In the meantime we are continuing to plan and dream big about what God wants us to do. We are involved in a church plant and believe we are going to be able to reach even more communities once our non-profit status come through, the possibilities are endless. we are helping the needy as best we can with what we have, volunteering at a food pantry, giving our own clothes, bed, household items to families we come across who are in need, volunteering our time to help the elderly with home upkeep, doing what we can with what we have until we can do more and do it full time.
I'm writing this blog with hopes of winning a trip to attend a seminar on "Living a Better Life." After reading Donald Millers book, I think the seminar will help prepare Brandon and I for our future and non-profit status and perhaps we'll even get the opportunity to sit down with Donald Miller and shoot the breeze about his own nonprofit and get tips and advice and council on how to run our own. Who knows, it's worth a shot, right?