The Big Announcement

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Here we are. After months and months of questions, we finally know what we’ll be doing next.

Actually, we’ve known for a few weeks, but finally the timing is right for us to communicate.

Are you ready for this?

But before I say more, I want to just say “Thank you” again for all your support, prayers, and encouragements. We have had an amazing adventure over the past 3.5 years, and we could not have done this with the people that have gone ahead of us, walked alongside us, and spurred us on.

Where and What

We have much to say (and even more to figure out) about what exactly we’ll be doing, but here’s what we know so far.

We are moving to Greenville, SC. Soon; like within the next 3 weeks.

We will be working for Mill Community Ministries. Don’t know what that that is? No sweat.

Mill Community Ministries (MCM) is a non-profit organization, started by Grace Church a few years ago. The goal of MCM is to help facilitate neighborhood transformation and revitalization, especially in and around the Sullivan Neighborhood in downtown Greenville.

“We want to be responsive to the needs of those whom we serve. Our goal is not to impose our own cultural standards, but to engage the culture and allow the Gospel to redeem each aspect of the culture.” (Grace Church Culturally Engaged)

MCM has already been working and growing, primarily through Mill Village Farms. We will work under Mill Community Ministries in a new ministry that will focus on children. Another person is also coming on board to work with small business development (more on that another time), and there are numerous other issues that we may address in the future.

We are excited about this opportunity!

Exactly What?

When we say that we “will focus on children,” we don’t have an exact plan of what that will be at this point. I’m sure we’ll spend the initial weeks (and months!) observing, talking, and learning.

But if you’ve been journeying with us since we started working in Allendale, you know that we didn’t know exactly how things would unfold.

OK, maybe we had a little more clarity, since I initially had a job to help launch a Boys and Girls Club in Allendale. But we committed to the children and families of Allendale before we committed to the Boys and Girls Club.

We didn’t move to Allendale to launch an after school program. We moved to Allendale to be a part of the community, work with kids, and be a connector of people and resources. The specifics of that varied over the years: after school programs, tutoring, summer camps, spring break camps, coaching, teaching, and more.

In the same way, we are not moving to downtown Greenville to launch any program. We are moving to be a part of God’s redemptive work in children and families. If I were to guess, our work will involve after school and summer programs, and being involved in the local schools. But we are not rushing in with any preset plans.

The Blessing of Allendale

Welcome_to_AllendaleHere’s where the story (God’s bigger story) gets cool.

Most people think that Allendale is a place where you go after you’ve gathered a bunch of skills, experiences, and resources, so that you can help make that community better. And that may be true.

But in our case, we didn’t move there with a whole lot of knowledge and experience. We were just following what God was calling us to. It was in Allendale that we gained skills and experiences that will help us in Greenville.

Now, I’m not saying that we used Allendale as a sort of stepping stone, or that we are moving on to “Bigger and Better” things. That was never our goal. But what we learned in Allendale is applicable to inner city Greenville. We have a lot to learn, but we feel more equipped now than we did 3.5 years ago. And we have the community of Allendale to thank for equipping and supporting us.

And I think that’s the long-term goal. Instead of Allendale being a place that sucks up resources and energy, our hope is that Allendale becomes a place that gives and provides resources to make other communities better. And in a lot of ways, that has already been happening.

What We’ll Need

We will move to Greenville by the end of July. Some members of Grace Church are letting us rent their brand-new house, at a very discounted rate. The house is within walking distance of the Sullivan community. Praise God for this answered prayer!! (For months, we’ve been praying for God to “drop a house into our lap,” and this is definitely the answer to that.)

We are asking for three things over the next few weeks:

  • Prayer
  • Labor
  • Money

Prayer

Please pray for a smooth transition. We need to pack, with the aim of moving the last Saturday in July. And there are people in Allendale that we’d like to say “Good-bye” “See you later” to — more people that we will have a chance to see.

Labor

We are moving. You know what that entails. And will have to figure out what stuff we need to get out of storage, and what we need to get rid of. (Coming Soon: Bargain basement prices on lots of items!)

Money

For everyone who has been supporting us over the past three years, we are grateful beyond words. If you are able, please continue to support us financially through the rest of this month. And if any of you are able to give a one-time donation, that will help us with all those pesky moving costs.

My Future Income

Speaking of monetary support, beginning in August, I will have two sources of income: a paycheck from Mill Community Ministries, and a part-time job (to be determined).

Mill Community Ministries

As I mentioned, Mill Community Ministries is a non-profit that was started by Grace Church. But in the long-term, the goal is not for Grace to provide the bulk of the finances.

So we (the MCM team) need you to give. We will soon have a way for you to give directly to MCM, but for now you can set up giving to our account through Grace Church. Beginning in August, Grace will take any money in that account and write a check to Mill Community Ministries.

Read more about Your Financial Partnership on my new blog.

Part-Time Job

My income with MCM will provide most of our family’s needs, but I need to find a part-time job in the area. Additionally, I think a second job will help me connect with the downtown community even better.

Ideally, I want to focus on working with children, but at this point, I might take anything that will bring in some money and provide a connection to the community.

If you know of a job that I could do (10-15 hours per week), please contact me ASAP.

Stay Tuned!

I know that this was a long post, but there was so much information to communicate, that many people have been asking about. Thanks for reading, and thanks for your prayers!

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8 responses to “The Big Announcement”

  1. susan says :

    Joey and Family, we are so excited for your new opportunities in Greenville. We will miss you all here in Allendale, but feel so blessed to have met you all and appreciate everything you all have done for this community. Hope to see y’all before you leave. God Bless.

  2. Tracy Collins says :

    We are excited to see what God will do as you begin this next adventure for Him! We’ll miss seeing you here in Savannah, but hope to keep in touch through your blog, FB, etc. Love you guys! Praying for you as you make this transition.
    PS – Let us know if you need help with the packing/moving. 🙂

    • joeyespinosa says :

      Thanks, for EVERYTHING! I trust that you know how much you guys have meant to us over the years. We will definitely stay in touch!

      • Sheila says :

        This is a bittersweet moment for me. You and your family have taught me so many valuable lessons that I will never forget! Allendale is a better place because of your family! Thanks for everything you did for Allendale Elem and the Allendale community as a whole. May God continue to bless you all and please keep on touch!

        • joeyespinosa says :

          Bittersweet is a good description for us, too. I am so thankful to have been able to work with you. You’ve blessed us beyond measure.

  3. sarahelizabethdale says :

    So glad you posted/reposted this!! I’ve been thinking and praying for y’all and was wondering today what the next step was!!
    :-). I’ll keep praying!!
    Thanks for actively believing God and being a light.

    • joeyespinosa says :

      Glad you saw it, Sarah. And thanks for your encouragements and prayers. Unfortunately this means fewer trips to Savannah for us. I hope to see you before too long, and we were honored to have served alongside you!

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