What is a “live” neighborhood? Can the Church revitalize our neighborhoods?

Here’s something that maybe Christians could lead the way in, revitalize our towns, our neighborhoods, and bring a sense of community back to our lives. Markets have survived for centuries in other places, and we all love Pike Place, Portland Saturday Market, Fisherman’s Wharf and the neighborhood markets which have begun to find their way back into other communities.

Go, read this article or at least glance at it.


Make sense? Not the entrepreneurial type? Don’t worry, we can all be excited for this!

For this of us here in the Portland area we’ve visited and love the food carts, well this idea is far more than just food carts.  It would require changes in city codes, allowing for businesses to spring up and move around. Little stores where people can buy and sell things, literally niche stores.

Now, imagine these little stores distributed throughout our neighborhoods but backed by the Church, giving people work, and at the same time being an outreach to our communities through real tangible service. This could be a great way to activate our boring spaces and energize our neighborhoods with a neighborly feeling of “local store” again.  It’s a little far-fetched, and definitely out of the box as far as the Church is concerned.

In our travels there are small little shops like this all over European cities and towns over time people come to know each other and create relationships, your local shop keeper becomes in a sense part of your community. It’s in these kinds of linking conduits that we can make connections that eventually become meaningful and thus open the doors to sharing the Gospel. Getting out in our communities is what the Church is always “told” to do – but honestly I don’t see it happening… probably because we have no reason… generally our communities in America are pretty boring (outside some city centers).  If we had actual things to do, places to be, and people to see in our neighborhoods, we might, just might actually connect and begin making some differences.

I miss Europe!

Gosh I miss Europe so much. There are times where I browse old photos of our trips to Europe… yes I know, some people don’t ever get the opportunity to see Europe. Sometimes I seem to live life from trip to trip, with the in between times simply being the means to the end. Then there are times like today, where I avoid looking at the pictures (particularly hard on Facebook, as a number of my European friends post pictures or have profile pictures in Europe) because I get a heartache.

And so I digress, submit myself to what I’m called to do here and now, lean in on what the Lord has for me in the moment and pray for those in Europe. I’m beginning to feel like a foreigner here… and yet, I feel very American there…

Retreat time

Well we’re off to the retreat, won’t be writing much here, I’ll do some mobile picture posting, otherwise the next time I write here may not be until Tuesday when we’re back home. Thanks for everything! Check back for picture updates. I uploaded some pictures from this trip on my facebook, click here to see. They’re not the best shots as I was walking and sometimes running at the same time, most of them are in Krak


This has been one of the more interesting trips I’ve made, and quite an introduction for Jordan to missions and Poland. All of our flights went well, no trouble there, except for checking in in Portland (stupid “easy checkin” wasn’t so easy because it couldn’t process my passport for our international segments) and we had to wait over 20 min to get help. After the check in was complete everything was fine, we made it to Krakow with out any trouble, all our bags, everything was good.

We stayed in Krakow until about 9pm local time and ran a few errands with Denise, ate at KFC and gave Jordan a quick low-down on ministry, poland, and the week ahead.

Our first full day (Monday) was full of moving everything from the apartment the church here has been renting to Denise’s house (about 30 min away). This made for a long day, of multiple trips in her car, she stayed at her place cleaning while we drove back and fourth with all the stuff. On the last trip of the night we loaded up a desk and a table on top of the car and attached it to the rack.

We got a bit over half-way to Denise’s house and KABOOM…. something fell off… but it didn’t fall all the way off. After we finally reached a good place to pull over (about 1/2 a mile of dragging) we realized that the table had fallen partially off and we had dragged it, one of hte bungee chords we had used to hold it on had snapped. Not only did the table fall off, it busted the passenger side far rear window (not the door window but the one behind it) and at the same time gave a few scratches to the car. To this moment we don’t quite get how this all happened, especially the angle at which the table fell, it seems it woudl’ve taken out the passenger side-view mirror instead. Anyway it’s about $190 to repair it… ouch.

So today, I got the pleasure of going to the car dearler and figuring out how to make an appointment, find out the cost, and do all of this in Polish… yay me. Thankfully there was a guy who spoke English and understood my broken Polish when English wasn’t working. It was a little challenging but a good one.

Tonight I’m meeting with my old roommate from 2003/2004 who I lived with here in Poland, he’s now married and has a daughter as well, so I’m very excited to see them and have a good conversation. This is really what I thrive to do, serving physically is all great, but the relationships, the connections, and the truth that God brings out in all of it is amazing. So with the moving piece behind us (we have one last trip tomorrow, and we did one load today) and the retreat coming up, I’m excited to see Jesus in all of it.

Keep us in your prayers, the broken window I believe is a blessing in disguise for something, not sure what yet… but it will be good. The weather is yucky, it’s pretty much hanging around 32-35 making for a nice slushy mess.

Thanks for your prayers, support, and interest in all of this… I’ll have more pictures up soon, looks like I’ll have time tomorrow to upload some good ones.

In Poland

Hey everyone,

We’re here in Poland now, been here since Wednesday. The youth camp in France went very well, I plan on posting some videos and pictures soon. The theme of the camp was “Coming together, going deeper”, each night (except one) a French pastor spoke to the campers. Before we left I felt the Lord tell me to have no expections, and simply observe, this is precisly what I did. It was good, although at times I wanted to minister and wanted to feel God’s touch, just to recieve, yet none of that happened. Instead the Lord had me obeserve, and intercede for others. God is creating in me a sense of peace through all of this, I’m learning to process things, and listen to his instructions, instead of jumping on knowledge and instinct.


Alexis and I are slowing gaining momentum in our missions plans. This coming March/February we’ll be going back to Poland, and only Poland, with possibly 8 others. This is great because it allows us to begin creating a network of people, to serve, and to serve with. As more people begin to see our vision for Poland the momentum will gain.

There is another couple who have been instrumental in the entire Poland process since day one, they have created a new initiative called “12×12” which is to have 12 new church plants by the year 2012 in Europe, specifically Germany, Poland, and Holland. They want to help build up leaders, train, equip, and release them to do ministry in their homelands… sounds familiar, it is, this is what Alexis and I have been saying all along about Poland. This couple is teaming up with us right here in our home church, along with their vision and skills, we can see that God is bringing all kinds of people together to build His church.

We will soon be fundraising year round, it’s huge, it’s way bigger than us. Best of all it is so exciting and we know and are confident in our direction, the details are coming into place, and the support base is building. Thanks for all your prayers and support, in both finances, and in wisdom.

Persecution in Central Europe

This kind of stuff happens on smaller scales all the time throughout Central & Eastern Europe, and sometimes on larger scales but never reported. Poland, at least to this point, appears to be more tolerant, however, there is still resistance, mostly from the established church at this point. Legally it is very hard to register a protestant church in Poland, but many non-registered fellowships exist without any government intervention…

Persecution comes in many other forms though, such as propaganda from religious radio stations stating that protestant churches are running Bible camps to brain wash their children… We’ve been on the receiving end of that one… not too much of an affect though, praise God. When I lived in Poland my roommate lost his job at a college because he was simply accused of “converting” or “attempting to convert”, he simply was inviting people to our fellowship, but that was enough… poof he lost his job. Most people in Poland have begun looking other places, pray that they look at a relationship with Jesus.