Well it’s not the east coast, and of that I have no doubt. The past week, I’ve just been overwhelmed by the newness. There’s new roads and a new coast, new food and a completely new citizen. The plants are new, the animals are new (sea lions and sea otters for days). On Monday, I was joined by 47 new students. I’m being briefed by police officers on gang activity and what colors to avoid and told to avoid the neighborhood right beside our motel – the flats – because of the gang history there. I’ve never been more out of my comfort zone and it has never been so good.
There’s a vulnerability that comes with being here. It’s humbling. I’m completely dependent on those in authority who tell me what is safe and where things are. I can’t put up walls or fake assurance because I don’t know enough to do that convincingly. And that is good. As overwhelming as it all is right now, I have never been so sure this is exactly where Jesus intended for me to be this summer. I’m not comfortable yet. I don’t love it yet. But I have no doubt he is already working.
It’s interesting how much more you see of Jesus in a place when everything is new and where it is unfamiliar. When you see a place and experience it for the first time, it’s easier to be aware of the ways God is present. Even in a place like Santa Cruz where the city is stuck in the sixties, where gang activity (shootings and fights) are present, where the homeless will take the shirt off your back even if you don’t necessarily offer it; He is so present here. In my vulnerability, I allow Christ to have a greater hold, be a greater support, have a more substantial say. Where I am weak, which seems to be in everything right now, he is strong. He takes my doubts and my worries and he promises to provide and promises his blessings as I follow his lead. It is new but it is so good.
Prayer wise, I would love prayer for safety. We are living in a bit of an iffy part of Santa Cruz and should be fine but there is a higher chance of something happening than if I was in Raleigh or Boone. Prayer for continued support are also so very needed. I have until July 1st to raise support so just join me in praying for people to rise up and help meet my financial need. I’m still about $900 away from the bare minimum of what I need. Because of this, I haven’t really been able to buy much food and will really be struggling to cover my tuition bill. So just pray for comfort in this and for people to join me as financial partners. Christ is so good and has a perfect plan.