Up to Speed

September 19th, 2012

We normally reserve this for videos and video updates but thought I would share a recent update here that we share to our supporters and on P2A’s Facebook page.

I realize it’s been a while since you’ve heard from us and I know it’s a lame excuse, but our life has been nuts since we landed here in Denver. So much has happened that I’m not even sure where to begin, but here is my attempt to get you up to speed with our lives.

When we first arrived in June, we parked in Golden at one of our  favorite RV parks in the country, Clear Creek RV Park.  It sits right next to Clear Creek and is nestled in the foothills of the Rockies near downtown Golden. While we thoroughly enjoyed being there, it was difficult because the park only allows you to stay for two weeks at a time during the summer. After that you are required leave for a night, after which you can come back, but you have to wait behind others who are trying to get into the park and they are almost always full. The first month we were in Denver, we moved a total of five times. Not only was the moving around exhausting, but the cost of the park was killing us financially. All the RV parks in Denver raise their prices during the summer because of the demand and we were paying about $250 a week to stay in there. We knew we needed to find something and fast.

The first week we were in Denver, we attended a ministry called The Table that is part of Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Lakewood, CO. Our friends, Jenn & Glenn Singleterry, started a P2A Group here in Denver about a year and half ago after reading our book and they faithfully serve weekly at The Table. The ministry reaches out to the homeless and working poor who live on or near Colfax Avenue, just a few blocks from the church. They invite them in for a free meal, worship and a message from Tim Ahlman, the associate pastor of Bethlehem Lutheran. The ministry subscribes to community development principles and they invite those they serve to join in serving.  Everyone who attends eats together and serves together. The community really demonstrates a beautiful picture of two directional service.

After we attended The Table, I went to lunch with Pastor Tim and during our time together I shared with him our need for a place to park the RV and our dream to build a ministry center in or near Denver. After lunch Tim drove me to the church and showed me an abandoned lot that the church had purchased ten years ago, which housed a run-down duplex they were using for storage. He explained that the church’s desire was to use the lot for ministry purposes, but they weren’t sure what that was. I told him about an image I had during a prayer time where I saw Jesus in an abandoned lot with a nail pouch and tool belt on. Through this image, I felt as if the Lord was possibly saying we were to build something, as opposed to renting or purchasing an existing building. As we walked the property, I looked down the street and I could see the high rises of Denver. I was surprised at how close we were to downtown. Tim told me that we were 10 minutes from Denver and he explained how many of the homeless and working poor are being pushed out of downtown Denver because of a no camping ordinance and they are landing in the 1st tier suburbs. He shared with me his excitement about all the ministry opportunities that were just a few blocks away on Colfax Avenue – the longest business street in America. As we walked around the property, Tim offered to let us park on the lot and he said, “This would be a great place for ministry center”. I laughed and told him I was thinking the same thing. As we discussed it further, I realized that this truly would be a great place for us to land as the location is surrounded by needs and has exposure and accessibility being off a busy street, Wadsworth Blvd, which is between 6th Ave and I-70 (both major throughfares into Denver).

As many of you know, we came to Denver in faith and we really didn’t know how God would provide for us financially as we were not booked to speak anywhere for the summer. We knew we needed to obey and we were confident that He would provide. During my lunch with Tim, he mentioned that the church was planning on doing a video project for a series of lessons on service that they wanted to launch in their small groups in September. I told him that we do video work and the church ended up hiring Ben and I to shoot five videos for their upcoming series. Ben has grown tremendously in his filming and editing skills and it’s been exciting for him to have this experience. We stand in awe at God’s continual and on-going provision for us. We are also grateful for a referral we received from a friend to shoot a testimonial video for Front Range Christian School in Littleton. God has also provided an opportunity for Beth and I to share at a Family Summit on September 16th at Jubilee Fellowship Church in Castle Rock. One other unique opportunity is that on September 20-23, I fly to Indianapolis where I will be speaking at a church and join them in serving the homeless as they utilize 200 of our homeless care kits in collaboration with a resuce mission. We are grateful to God for all of His provisions by allowing us to find work and also thankful for your generous contributions. We have learned first hand that God does not have a funding problem and that heaven is not a storage facility.

On July 5th, we made the move from Golden to the abandoned lot next to Bethlehem Lutheran in Lakewood. Since we’ve been here, we have been working like dogs to clean and fix up the place. The church agreed to allow us to use the duplex for ministry purposes, which required that we clear out everything in both side of the building.  Both sides were filled to the ceiling with school desks, furniture, drama staging and props. We have spent weeks moving and reorganizing so we could have access to both sides of the building. We finished the south side of the duplex first, which we’ve re-painted and cleaned carpets. There are two rooms, a small bathroom and a kitchen in the south side. We intend to use that side for meetings, relationship building, teaching our small group study, and an office / prayer room.  The north side has taken longer, but we finally succeeded in clearing it out and we are now in the initial stages of fixing up the inside. This side needs much more attention than the south side did as there was a leak which damaged the kitchen cabinets, kitchen floor and carpet. To view pictures of the duplex and where we are parked click here. Recently, Tim asked if we would consider using the north side as an emergency shelter for the homeless on cold weather nights (32 degrees and wet or 20 degrees and dry). We immediately said yes, thinking of Isaiah 58, and realizing that’s exactly what God would want us to do. After hearing that, Bethlehem offered to help us fix it up, which we are thrilled about. We will be one of two or three other churches who have agreed to help care for those who have no where to go on extreme weather nights. When we are not using the north side as an emergency shelter, we intend to use it to host three day retreats where we will teach the principles we share in the P2A Small Group Study. We hope to bring in suburban churches from around Denver as well as groups and churches from around the country to not only teach them powerful principles regarding service, but to immerse them and allow them to experience serving with dignity first-hand.

We are now ready to get the 2 1/2 storage pods full of furniture that we have in Atlanta shipped to Denver so we can use the furniture for our temporary ministry center. We are currently waiting on God to provide a place to store the extra items that we can’t fit in the duplex and for the financial resources we need to move the pods here. If you know of someone who has storage in or near Denver, please contact me at jay@passiontoaction.org or of you are able to make a contribution to help us move our furniture, we would be extremely grateful. To donate click here.

Since arriving in Denver, I’ve been meeting with many pastors and non-profit leaders. It’s been amazing to see the spirit of collaboration that is happening in Denver between churches, non-profits, businesses and government agencies. I believe in my spirit that God is about to unleash something unique and special in the city of Denver. We are so excited to be a small part of something big that God is doing here.

Our family is doing great and we are grateful to finally be in one place and lay down long-term roots. While this has been a busy season, we are enjoying incredible favor from our Father, Bethlehem, neighbors and other ministries. We worship and thank God and bask in the love He has for us.

Thank you so much for on-going support, love and prayers. We love and appreciate you all so much!