Written by Corr…
Written by Corrie Emmons
To all my family and friends out there following this, I hope your summer is going splendidly! I love and miss you all. To my family who may be worried, I am not dead or injured and I have not taken any unnecessary risks. J
My time here in Oakland has reached a week, and what a week it has been. I arrived last Monday at ReGeneration Church which is situated at the edge of East Oakland ,for our week of BayUp orientation. The orientation week was packed full of so many different ideas, sermons, activities, and testimonies that it is hard to tell them all, but I will try and do I some justice in hopes that you can have a better idea of what my experience has been like.
Speaking of justice…….. That is really why I am here in Oakland. God is a just God, and he wants justice for his people. What he wants is for things to be the way they ought to be. If you were to take a look around the world today, it doesn’t take very long to find something that isn’t the way it should be. The biblical term used to describe the way things ought to be is shalom. Throughout orientation week, we have been discussing shalom, and where we see it being broken or restored. It has sort of become the theme of our time here in Oakland, to seek shalom in the midst of this crazy city. Along with my 20 other fellow BayUper’s, I have been able to participate in a wide variety of activities that have given me a completely new perspective on issues of social and environmental injustice in Oakland and the entire world. Some of the things we have done included talking to people on the street in poor, crime ridden areas of East Oakland, hearing from various activists and Christian leaders on the injustices occurring in the city, experiencing a day in the shoes of the working poor (we actually worked for an entire day as either day laborers, janitors, or house cleaners. I was a day laborer) sleeping outside, and having many discussions on the topics of sex trafficking, poverty, immigration, and environmental ethics. To try and sum it up, orientation was AWESOME. I have learned so much already, and it is truly life changing stuff. God cares so much about what happens here in Oakland, and there are some very good people making a huge difference in this town. It has brought up a lot of questions for me, one in particular being does God actually do things in the midst of violence, despair and poverty of the big city?
That question has been answered about 5 times a day for me now. On Saturday, I finally moved into where I will be living and staying for the next week: City Team Oakland. Before I came to BayUp, I really didn’t know what to expect with City Team. What City Team does is remarkable. Currently they are housing about 20ish guys, who are all at different stages of their yearlong commitment to becoming sober, and graduating the program. The men in this program have already given me so much. Their stories of how they are coming out of addiction and into a real, living relationship with God have impacted me greatly. The faith that these men have is incredible. I have been honored and blessed to have their wisdom imparted upon me. I am feeling so welcome. It is truly a house of God. One of the highlights so far is being able to eat with the men, and help serve the people that City Team feeds everyday. Each day, City Team provides two meals to the homeless and afflicted people of Oakland, breakfast and lunch. This is consistent everyday! What is also consistent is that breakfast starts at 5:15 for the guests, and 6:00 for the members of the house…. So needless to say, I am currently trying to adjust to a radical new sleep schedule. It has been nothing but great though. I am loving my time here in Oakland, and every day God is changing my heart to love this City and its people more and more. Praise God for every thing he is doing here! I am blessed to be learning so much. I wish I could communicate more clearly how much God has changed me since I arrived here, but I can say that there is so much more to being a Christian than I ever thought there was before.
I will blog again soon, but for now please pray for Jordan, Samuel and I as we continue to dive into what God has for us this summer. The power of prayer is real! Thank you so much for supporting and loving me. I am so grateful to be blessed by such amazing people.
I love you all, and God Bless!!