Wow! So much has happened. A year ago this month we closed on the sale of our house and started pursuing the dream that God had planted in our hearts to be a part of forming a Christian intentional community. First and foremost, God told us to feed people. Hunger is a huge issue. Maybe you don't see it. You have food in your cupboards. There is a market within driving or walking distance. Your neighbor is there for borrowing a stick of butter. But hunger is commonplace in many parts of the world. In fact, if we looked closely, we would see it closer to home than we would ever have believed.
People don't just hunger for food. They hunger for touch, a smile, a caring word, a bit of attention...a bit of hope. God wanted us to feed these hungers as well. He planted a vision of a community that lived in close proximity, caring for one another...living in fellowship, sharing their resources, bearing one another's burdens, and sharing in victories. Such a way of living, He showed us, would provide greater resources for feeding the hungry in our greater community.
So we waited for Him to lead us to the place where this community, a community founded on the principles of 'koinonia', would be established. There are communities founded upon the same principles being established all over the world. People are hungry. They hunger for a different way of living. They hunger for true relationships. They hunger to live intentionally. Many hunger for a way of living different from the comfortable routine existence that they have been taught to expect from life. These communities have been planted to feed such hungers.
God led us to some beautiful land in Davidson County, NC...an abandoned farm. We purchased it last summer and have slowly been going through the process of bringing to life the vision of a koinonia community. Our family felt led last November to move onto the land in order to work and live, and begin working with the resources already available to us to feed people.
We purchased a camper, hooked it up to electricity flowing from an old abandoned barn, and our family of four spent our first night living here on November 22, 2008. Our time here so far has been challenging, surprising, difficult, educational, and blessed. I will try to catch you up over the next week or so on all that has happened in the last 5 1/2 months now that I have received the incredible blessing of wireless internet.
We are not truly 'roughing it' but we are lacking several of the luxuries that we had taken for granted throughout our lives. We are living in a 31' camper that contains a queen size bed, a pair of bunks, a sofa, kitchen table, and even a small kitchen and bathroom. It is just a little shy of 250 square feet. It is about the size of an average kitchen. We do have electricity and even heat and air...usually. The air is working beautifully today!
We don't have a well or a septic system. Whatever water we use for living or for watering animals must be hauled in in coolers and buckets. From several weeks of rain we were able to collect rainwater from the roof of the old barn in buckets placed around the barn perimeter. Hopefully before long, we will be able to finish repairs to the old metal barn roof, and have gutters to direct that precious rainwater into holding tanks. The hauling in of water limits our water usage, and we do have to go somewhere else to shower and to wash clothes. And hot water for washing dishes and face cleaning is obtained through the old fashioned method of heating a potful on the stove. We do have a toilet, but with no septic system...what goes in must be taken out. So we try to use the outhouse whenever possible.
We have nearly 50 animals here now ~ two dogs, two cats, two pigs, three roosters, four rabbits, seven goats, nineteen hens, and six chicks....I think. That sounds about right. So we have a steady supply of organic fertilizer to add to our quickly curing compost pile. And we are collecting more than a dozen eggs daily. And we have planted a garden of goodies. New little seedlings are popping up every day.
We wake up to the most amazing and inspiring view every day. It truly makes me desire to have an opportunity to start painting again. When I start to become discouraged or whiny, (which does happen occasionally) all I have to do is walk out my door and look around, and know that God is all around me, and I feel comforted. I am reminded of my purpose.
But the big news is that we now have a driveway. It was completed a little over a week ago. Those of you that have been here know what a big deal that is. Our way in was truly a challenge, especially with the amount of rainfall this past winter. Many days we had to park at the road and walk back to the camper a little over a quarter mile through the mud, hauling groceries and laundry. Occasionally we had to drive backwards in order to make it up the hill. And we had a little narrow rickety 'bridge' crossing the creek that some found to be a little frightening. That bridge was our biggest obstacle to building, or a well, or septic system. It had to be replaced before any progress could be made. But now a lovely (and wide) concrete pipe is in place across the creek, and a graded roadway covered in sand rock leads back across this beautiful property...all the way to a still pristine home site.
Life is good and God is great. More updates and some fabulous pictures coming later.