I initially wanted to do a spotlight on each community we plan on visiting but over the past couple of days we have heard back from five different locations so instead I'll just give a quick update on what we learned and what the schedule might look like now.
We first heard back from Koinonia and they said we could stay with them on the days we planned but they ask for a donation from each person. I am not sure if it is a "mandatory donation" but either way we are thinking about not visiting them since they are actually a bit out of our way. Instead we hope to visit Jubilee Partners in Comer, GA and have not contacted them yet. They are similar to Koinonia and were actually started by them and so we would get a lot of the same information we would from Koinonia.
The next conversation we had was with Mission Year. Jonathan and I talked with Caz who is the director of the Atlanta program and we got the opportunity to learn more about that program and the organizations in the area. She also told us about the Dwell Community which is part of the DOOR program and the Jubilee House in Atlanta (different from Jubilee partners in Comer). We hope to stay with one of the Mission Year houses and learn what they do as well as visit the other houses and get an idea of how their projects differ. They are all nearing the end of their time with Mission Year and so we should be able to get a good idea of how they spent their past year and how it shaped them.
After the conversation with Caz I called two other organizations which we hope to visit. Those organizations are Common Ground in Shreveport, LA and Area 15 in Charlotte, NC. Both of those organizations said yes and I hope to call them later to get a little more info on where we will be staying and learn a little more about their organizations.
A bit of bad news came last night when Leah from Rutba emailed me back saying they had a house meeting and they will not be able to host us. We are upset that we will not be able to meet with Leah, Jonathan, and the rest of the community of Rutba since they are so well known among the New Monastic circle but some of these places we are visiting have actually been around just as long and some longer than the Rutba House.
Five of seven (we are still waiting to hear from the Spencer Perkins Center) ain't too bad. We plan on spending a little more time in Atlanta in order to visit some of the additional communities I mentioned that are there and we may work in a full day of Sabbath at the midway point in order to catch up on sleep because chances are we are going to be so excited about learning about the communities that we will be trading off some sleep for conversations and relationships.
Things change and not everything works according to plan but this trip is entirely dependent on the generous hospitality of others and so we are more than willing to change our plan as needed. I also want to explain that Rutba is already housing a lot of people on the days we planned on visiting and they will also be working to plan a wedding for one of the residents so please don't think that their not welcoming us is any knock against their community. They do wonderful ministry and we hope to visit them some time in the future when they are not too busy.
As for now, we're adjusting the schedule and map and contacting a few more places in Atlanta. Even if we were to only visit the communities on our list (and even if a couple ended up having to drop off) I still feel this will be a great learning opportunity and hope we can share it with others.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Speaking of sharing it with others, I am meeting with a film maker tomorrow who may be willing to go with us. I'm not sure how much is any money he will be asking for but your prayers will be much appreciated around 9:00am tomorrow when I will be meeting with him.