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As the political fire in the U.S. heats up, the Washington neighborhood in San José has its own flame burning. A chain of charter schools wants to build a school in what is now a vacant lot, and we Servant Partners staff have joined many of our neighbors in resisting the plan.
What? you ask. How could you resist a charter school in your neighborhood? Wouldn’t that be a positive development?
Last year, Sarah Hanks, an Intervarsity grad from USC, made a documentary about a junior varsity football team inspired by God’s people to dream big dreams and believe that a 3.0 GPA is possible when many of the players barely reached a 2.0. It’s 50 minutes long and it’s very inspiring. Chris Rattay (SP church planter in Lincoln Heights) is the former head coach featured in the video.
We continue to face the tension between offering relief and seeking to further development. Of course, these are not mutually exclusive, yet when one gets the attention and resources, the other tends to slip to the background. It's easy to be idealistic about focusing solely on development, which in the long run purports to have a far greater impact for the good. But we went back to Los Cedros to deliver food to the three widows I described in a previous update. Some of you have asked specifically to help them in their crisis, so we are now bringing them a monthly delivery of rice, beans, oil, and sugar if we can afford it. We brought this food to Erica's house. Erica has a beautiful, ten-year-old son, Mikel, with a palsied hand and other physical difficulties. Kim told you the story about the men in his church pooling their money and efforts to gather parts and build him a bicycle in order to honor his late father's promise to him. Erica told us that she has found work, first washing clothes and then working at a pulperria (a small store selling snacks, drinks, and perhaps a few toiletries and essentials). She works from 6am to 4pm each day. For her work she earns forty-seven cordobas a day. The exchange rate is Nicaragua is 23 cordobas to the dollar.
One of the values that we try to cultivate in the interns during their time in the Internship is to live a lifestyle that is missional and incarnational. That means learning to live life alongside their neighbors - serving them, loving them, and learning from them. We really value developing friendships with our neighbors rather than seeing them as spiritual projects.
Over the course of the past 2 years, I’ve had the privilege to see this team indeed live missional and incarnational lives. They have been extremely faithful to serve, love, learn from, and value their neighbors as God’s beloved who reflect His image.
One of my favorite stories is from Alex, Katye, and Danielle’s efforts to build friendships in their apt. complex. Below is Alex’s account in her own words of her friendships with her neighbors, Antonio and Nancy.