Monday, March 14, 2016
Do you wonder what we do for work now?
Sorry for the blogging delay....internet friends. I just checked our metrics and it says that we still have hundreds of unique visits every day -- undoubtedly people googling information on rockclimbing destinations and trip reports -- our virtual living room is full of those.
But back to basics - what are we up to?
We have planted a church in a neighborhood called the Jackson Neighborhood in Fresno, California. We are a church that is starting a non-profit to meet specialized needs in our neighborhood with specific care and a small business to employ neighbors with barriers to employment.
Here is a list of 9 things we are doing alongside neighbors nearly every day in our neighborhood. There are actually 21 things happening weekly....but I don't want to bore you:
1. Saturday Sports- 2 Saturdays a month we play sports at Jackson elementary with the children of our neighborhood, give a short message about Jesus and meet our neighbors.
2. Good News Club- Every Thursday from -3:45 we meet in a Jackson elementary school classroom to share with children that Jesus loves them. So far 20 children have said "yes" to Jesus at Good News Club.
3. Care Fresno- A group of young adults are intentionally living in the Jackson neighborhood to meet neighbors, lead tutoring clubs and live out the Gospel with neighbors.
4. Volunteering at Jackson Elementary- Each week we help students with homework, volunteer our time to help teachers and serve our neighborhood elementary school.
5. Volunteering at Roosevelt High School- Each week we are present on the local high school campus as coaches and during the lunch hour to develop relationships with the students.
6. Neighborhood Care- There is a group of neighbors rallying together to beautify our neighborhood by painting the light posts down each street.
7. Holmes Park- Weekly we are playing basketball with young adults at our local playground, Holmes Park.
8. Christian Club- Every Thursday during lunch we lead a Christian club at Roosevelt High School to tell high school students about Jesus.
9. Sunday Service- Our weekly services are going well and we would love to invite you to join us this Sunday at as we gather together to worship Jesus, learn from His Word and get to know our neighbors.
If you're in the area...come join us sometime!
....and pretty soon...the blog will be back to normal with regular updates!
Monday, March 7, 2016
Sunday, December 27, 2015
Since moving to California, we have had the chance to climb in great locations like Yosemite and Tuolumne Meadows.
Matthes Crest had always been on my to-do list, but never got around to doing it until recently.
It was a beautiful climb and highly recommended.
Good days behind and good days ahead!
It was kind of incredible. She went to nearly 8cm dilated without much pain. The Doctors didn't know whether or not to admit her to the hospital or send her home!
After walking a couple miles at the hospital, the painful contractions started....but between contractions....Heidi was in good spirits as always.
....and then, 1.5 hours later...a baby!
Here in California (maybe other places?) your kids aren't allowed to make a hospital visit if they are under 15 years old...so they were happy to receive a photo of their new brother....Joel Jay White.
Thank you for being a part of our lives and for following our journey. Over 10 years of blogging and 1000 blogs following our adventures rock climbing, traveling, serving in Jesus' kingdom, and raising 4 kids!
These are good days...
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
What a strange journey we've been on. We left the comfort of a stable salary and now live every month by faith, just like Jesus' own disciples were called to do (Luke 10). We live trusting that God will call our friends and family to provide enough money for us to do the work that God called us to do. He called us to start a church in the Jackson Neighborhood. A church for people who don't like church, a church of neighbors who would focus on three things: Jesus, people, and place. A church that started a small business to employ people in our neighborhood with barriers to employment, and started a non-profit that would meet our neighbourhood's specific needs, and a gathering that would meet weekly at Jackson Elementary to hear Jesus' incredible message as it relates to all of our lives in the Jackson Neighborhood. .
We think the church needs to get entangled with the neighborhood. We think the church needs to love it local and invite imagination for how to announce Jesus' incredible message. We think church is about family and local community -- our church isn't above our neighborhood, we are a church of our neighborhood. We think the the church is the incarnate faithful presence of Jesus and called to demonstrate the gospel by serving the 923 homes of Jackson. And we think the church is called to dwell beside our neighbors because that's what Jesus did for us.
As a church we are going to focus on three things: Jesus, people, and place. And even before our launch (January 2016 @ Jackson Elementary) incredible things are happening in each of those areas. We are hosting 3 parties in the neighborhood….because we love our neighborhood and enjoy spending time with neighbors. We are currently renovating a dilapidated workshop in our neighborhood and turning it into a place where neighborhood teenagers could be paired with Christian mentors who are skilled woodworkers, welders, and artisans. Could those teens hear about Jesus and acquire skills that could be immediately transferable when they reach the age of employment? Also, along with some neighbors we are in the process of buying an abandoned house and turning it into a house of hope for the neighbourhood - a place of Kingdom work and a statement that Jesus makes all things new….even ugly and abandoned things. And our launch team is growing….in fact….6 of the team members have left their full-time jobs to become donor supported missionaries, like us. They've been called to an unstable adventure, filled with certain struggle, persecution, temptation, and trial (Acts 14:22; John 16:33)….but they have been CALLED. We understand that….we were called too. But for them is a special provision: Jeremiah 29:11.
We have an incredible life, an incredible job, an incredibly hard calling…but it's our JOY.
And amidst all of this…we are still having fun! Look below:
Thanks for being a part of our lives!
Friday, June 12, 2015
These few days away have been a gift from God. We've realized that we've never been away from all three of our kids, so the time to reflect, play, and sleep-in have been incredibly relaxing. We've also never spent more than 100 dollars on any of our anniversaries....I suppose we've never felt the need to buy memories. This year God used some friends of ours to invite us to splurge a little...so we did. It has been incredible.
We've realized (remembered) a few things while being away on this anniversary:
- We still don't love one another more than when we got married....but we do better understand the love we share. That's better.
- We still don't love one another most in this life....that spot is reserved for Jesus.
- We still have a marriage characterized by mission. We are not driven to achieve wealth, or happiness, because our marriage serves a bigger purpose than what it can offers us. Our marriage is about together sacrificing and serving Jesus by aiming to make life-long followers of Him.
- We still have a marriage characterized by friendship. We've traveled the world, hiked and climbed all over North America and Canada, and so many more things...but we did them as friends.
- We have a marriage characterized by substance. We have deep friendships and people actually know "Joe and Heidi white". We aren't people who take ourselves to seriously. We admit our mistakes and failures to ourselves and others and hope that if we are made low, Jesus will be made high.
...I could go on....but seriously, it's our anniversary....and I want to be with my girl.
Thanks for all your support and love for us over the years!
Thursday, June 4, 2015
So how are you doing?…so many have asked.
I spend my weeks speaking about Jesus in front of every kind of group. Here I am in the town of Avenal, a city just outside of Fresno.
I asked someone there, "how many people are in your town", he replied, "14,000 but 7,000 live in the prison". There I spoke about Jesus in front of a group of teens and 6 came up afterwards and wanted to talk more about following Jesus.
We are learning to see Fresno with a new set of eyes…to see the way that beauty grows out of it's soil and up into it's long horizon.
We are practicing faithful presence in our family…in the front yard and the backyard. Many nights we have guests around our dinner table but sometimes it's just us…and that's OK.
We are renovating an old workshop. Hidden in one of the walls we found a beer bottle dated to 1892. We are turning this workshop into a space where teens in the neighborhood can be paired with experienced mentors to learn job transferable skills -- woodworking, welding, auto mechanic, and artisan. Most of our equipment is donated and it's going to be an incredible space.
our kids are thriving
Our new Neighborhood Church intern has arrived. He is living with us for 6 months doing design and marketing and learning how to leverage his gifts to love our neighborhood and serve our city.
…and I keep talking about Jesus nearly every weekend all across the city --Sharing vision and telling the story the stories of Neighborhood Church in the Jackson Neighborhrood.
…it's going better than we ever thought it could. Jesus is moving faster than we know how to keep up. So many stories to tell….but not here -- Sign up for our newsletter if you haven't already: www.supportthewhites.com
Thanks for loving and supporting our family as we plant Neighborhood Church. We are on target to do a preview service in October and launch weekly at Jackson Elementary in January 2016 -- everyone we speak with loves the vision of www.neighborhoodchurchfresno.com - "a church for people who don't like church"…. a Church about Jesus, Neighbor, and Neighborhood.
Labels: neighborhood church
Friday, April 10, 2015
We are feeling more settled into our new life here in Fresno, California. That's good. "Unsettled" feels like wearing clothes that don't fit. We don't like that feeling. We are still searching for our normal rhythms…especially for making time to play in the mountains, but that will come.
Our kids are doing so well. For those of you that read our blog that pray for our family….thank you! We have been so thankful for the ways that they've discovered friendships, bonded together, and joined us in our life of ministry in the neighborhood.
Speaking of ministry…. it's been incredible (sign up for our newsletter at www.supportthewhites.com for stories and updates). God could have sent us anywhere and he knew we would have said yes. But he sent us to a place where we get to play on the same team as guys like this (seen below). My dad has for decades been on the cutting edge of ministry in Fresno. It feels like such a privilege to have been called to join the team of Jesus focused missional radicals seeking the shalom of Fresno.
It's also been nice to find our rhythm of extended rest. Once a month, instead of working six days and resting one, we rest two days. This last month we went to the central coast to drink in some cool breeze and California sun.
It's also been fun to preach here in Fresno. Preaching the whole gospel is what I feel called to do, in fact, something I feel I have to do. Jesus continues to encourage me by giving me opportunities to speak for Him across Fresno.
It's also been fun to engage in our neighborhood. Here I was able to talk about Jesus with a group of neighbours who gathered to celebrate Easter together.
…and yes, we still climb. We currently have sinus infections and ear infections so we are totally out of commission….but you'll start seeing outdoor pictures soon :)
Thanks for following our lives….sorry it's been a few weeks since we last updated our blog. We will do better from here on out!
These are good days.
Thursday, March 5, 2015
As we walk through our neighborhood we see that our streets are lined with very tall Palm trees. Whenever I see them, I find myself praying, "Lord, raise up new Jesus followers to stand tall like these trees." For me, every palm is a prayer.
But Praying is easy….waiting is hard.
I love palm trees because Palm trees bend they don't break. When I pray for new Jesus followers to rise up like those Palms, I am praying for durable Christ followers who won't break under the pressure of their culture to conform to its ideology, its morality, and its "wisdom." I pray that they will face the storm and bend, like Jesus did as he washed his disciples feet... and not break, like Jesus did not break when confronted with death.
Every palm is a prayer and I want God to answer my prayers. Soon.Follow @joeandheidi
Thursday, February 26, 2015
The picture is terrible….but the metaphor wasn't.
As I took a moment and watched the sheep graze on the edge of our city, Fresno…. I noticed how little they looked up. Their contentment surprised me. A picture in my mind began to emerge. I saw myself, a sheep, eating and unworried. I noticed myself beginning to pray…."Jesus, these your sheep don't worry about anything. But I worry about everything. Lord, these sheep don't question the care of their shepherd because they see his grace in ever blade of grass abundantly provided. But I question Your provision (stupid, I know, Lord) and some days feel blind to the daily bread you're providing."
God, keep teaching me how to be your sheep…..content and unworried under the care of my Shepherd.