Update on Our Jobs and Ministries in Allendale

Site of our new after school program

Site of our new after school program

At the close of 2012, Joanna and I had been wondering, discussing, praying about, and receiving counsel regarding what’s next for us in Allendale. We’re thankful for all of you who supported us with encouragements, counsel, and prayers.

We are now three weeks into the year. And while we don’t have answers for the entire even half of the year, we are excited about how many things are lining up for us, with regards to both jobs (what brings in the big bucks!) and ministries (unpaid).

My Paid Positions

  1. STEM Workforce Development Coordinator. Fancy, confusing title isn’t it? In simpler terms, I started working (part-time) for the USC-Salkehatchie Leadership Institute, under a Department of Energy grant. My role will be to encourage students to pursue careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) related fields, in a four county region (Allendale, Barnwell, Hampton, Bamberg). We will have programs, events, and camps, and I will work to connect local schools with science-education resources and organizations. In many ways, I’ll be getting paid for what I’ve been doing for free. And for the first time ever, I have my own office (and with a window!).
  2. Community Liaison. I have been working for Allendale County School District as a Community Liaison. However, due to some leadership changes up in the ranks, I am not sure of my future in this position for me. (It has been part-time, contractual work.) We’ll see.
  3. Assistant Football Coach.  I’m looking forward to still coaching this year, at Allendale-Fairfax High School. Though our season was cut shorter than we expected, the relationships formed were well worth the time, and I look forward to building on those relationships with the players and coaches.
  4. Special Needs Shadow. From September to December, I worked three half-days a week as a shadow for a student in the school system, filling in specific hours for the regular shadow who is continuing his own education. I am not sure if I’ll be needed this semester, but I suppose I could still substitute.
  5. Support and Blogging. Since I am still only working part-time positions, we still are in need of financial support. We’re thankful for the dozens of individuals and families who have supported us financially. And though I do not receive direct support from blogging, we feel that this has been a great way to keep our supporters informed of what is going on with our family.

Our Other Ministries

  1. Neighborhood After School Program. Last week, we began a two-day-a-week after school program in our neighborhood.
  2. Another After School Program. While I was coaching in the fall, Joanna started volunteering at an after school program in Allendale. I had already gotten to know some of the leaders and members of the church, New Life House of Love Church (you can’t go wrong with a name like that). This church has been serving youth with its after school program for 6 or 7 years now, and we were able to volunteer some in their summer camp (and partnered with them in an end-of-summer celebration). When we were done with football, I was able to volunteer in their program, and I hope to continue to once per week.
  3. Prison Ministry.  I have been going to Allendale Correction Institute (a state prison) every Sunday, joining a group of inmates in “The Quest for Authentic Manhood.” I have loved getting to know this group of men, as they’ve been working towards life change, and I’ve been personally challenged. And I think future ministry opportunities can arise out of this one.
  4. School Lunch.  Starting this past fall, I had been eating in the school cafeterias about 3 or 4 days per week. For less than 4 bucks, I get a good lunch (especially on spaghetti day!), and it gives me a chance to spend time with students and teachers. Earlier this month, Joanna also started eating with a 5th grade class once per week. (Edit: You can read about the impact she had in “That Lady I Was Telling You About.”)
  5. Spring Break Camp. We are looking forward to doing our second Spring Break Camp in April. Last year’s camp was a huge success and blessing for children, parents, volunteers, and the Allendale community!
  6. Allendale Baptist Church.  We just started attending a new church, and we are in talking to leaders about how we can serve. We want to “adopt” a college student (this church has a significant college ministry), and are considering some other ministry opportunities that this church has.
  7. Summer Interns.  We hope to (again) have a couple of summer interns. Doing this has been great for our family, and has been a challenging and rewarding opportunity for five college students over the past two years.

Our Not-Really-Ministry

We also look forward to being a connection between the Allendale community and outside churches, families, organizations, and individuals who want to serve and get to know the people here. Let me know if you might be interested in supporting and serving in any of these ministry areas that we are involved in.

Even if we didn’t do those other ministries, we would still feel like we are having a positive impact in Allendale. After all, the most important contribution we can make in this community is not in doing a bunch of programs, but in lovingly relating to a bunch of (or even a few) people.

The programs and jobs that we are involved in are not the end goal, but they are tools that help us connect with others. We know that we need to continue building relationships, and we need to go deeper and be more intimate with others.

I say all this, but it’s easy for us to fall back into “task-mode.” Tasks are always easier for us that relationships. They’re cleaner, don’t require emotional investment, and easier to stop. So please pray for us, that we would grow in our efforts to be missional and to bless others in this community.

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2 responses to “Update on Our Jobs and Ministries in Allendale”

  1. Beth McMeekin says :

    Joey – we’d love to help with supplies, etc. for spring break camp. Let us know how we can help donation wise!

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