Love Where You Are 

When I was in high school I went on a few short-term mission trips to San Pedro Sula, Honduras. They were some of the best weeks of my life and until I die part of my heart will live there. I fell in love with the people, the culture, the baleadas, and the heart of serving. I went with a bunch of teenagers. Everyone had a blast, everyone was there to serve, but we were teenagers. With that being said– at some point every single one of us were searching for the wi-if connection to instagram what we were doing and talk to friends and family back at home about our experiences. Justin Ross (the missionary that hosted us–truly incredible guy) sat us down one night and we had the talk about keeping “both feet in Honduras.”
In order to actually be all in and the most impactful in our service we had to be all there. We couldn’t form new relationships if our main concern was with the ones that were back in the states. We couldn’t have one foot in America and one foot in San Pedro Sula. Two feet had to be there. This is one of the most important lessons that I’ve ever learned. Keep both feet where you are.

I’m obviously no longer in Honduras but the concept still applies. In order to (fill in the blank) you have to have both feet there. In order to make an impact/form new relationships/serve your community/etc. you have to be all there.

This was something that I was very conscious of when moving. A new city with no one that I knew was overwhelming. I was in a new home with none of my family (besides alex of course), a new campus with none of my friends, and a new church with none of the people that I had grown to love as family. It would have been easy to focus on all the change and be sad/lonely. Honestly there were times of I was. But Justin Ross taught me about both of my feet so with that echoing in my mind and Jesus being an ultimate comforter I knew better than to dwell on what wasn’t there and focus on what was.

It wasn’t hard to do, Lou is an incredible city. I honestly think there’s something here for everyone. We live close to downtown in a community called Old Louisville. There are magnolia trees here that are taller than the four-story-Victorian houses next to them, small delis and coffee shops on corners, and people who know my dog (and give him treats) just from seeing us walk around everyday–everybodyloves Fed.
Finding a church here was a priority. When alex moved up here last summer he tried out a couple different places but without question we decided on Southeast Christian Church. We have been attending since then and recently became members. We can not imagine being anywhere else. Southeast is freaking huge. We came from Hillvue which is a bigger church in bowling green but it’s still tiny in comparison. When we first started looking around I was honestly against SEC just because I thought there was no way to get involved in anything there because there are sooo many people. I was so so wrong. Southeast has brought us–and continues to bring us–community.

We had been attending services on Sunday mornings and loved it. I felt like we were just in and out though. Around February I was really wanting to start doing more so I got online and started looking into bible studies that they offered. I found a women’s study called Welcoming Hearts. It was specifically for women who were new to the city and just so happened to be meeting for the first time the following Tuesday. (Of course it was, thanks Jesus.) It was truly the best thing. It was full of christian women who were all in the same boat that I was. They were new to the city and to the church and were looking for that same community. I dont know if this is something that all churches do, but they defintiely should. We read After the Boxes are Unpacked: Moving on After Moving by Susan Miller which talks about all of the struggles that may come with moving to a new city and we were just open and honest with each other. It was awesome.

In this group we also learned about how southeast operated. We got tours of all of the churches facilities and information about other studies and groups there. I’ve recently been in touch with a group called side-by-side which is for spouses of people in medical field. (How perfect is that? #wivesclub) Another thing we learned about was called love where you are.

Love where you are is a campaign that Southeast started a couple years back. It is about God using you for his glory where you live, work, and go. No matter were that may be. You can watch the sermon series for yourself here. I definitely recommend. They started community groups based on your address. They group you with people that live nearby in hope to start something amazing in each neighborhood in Lou.

The community groups just started back up this month. So needless to say alex and I were excited to get involved. We love our Historic Old Louisville and couldn’t wait to meet other southeast members close by. The problem though is that there aren’t any other southeast members that live in the Old Louisville area. So we decided to put our house as a location where we could start a bible study community group in the future. We are anxious to see how that plays out.

We met up with the community pastor over our area and his wife for lunch one day and just got to talk about different service opportunities and things going on around us. Alex and I both have a heart for serving so this is something that we were very excited about.

If you didn’t know, I’m going to school for teaching. So by default I love children and I love learning. We live near several different inner city schools. There is an elementary school on the same street that we live on just a block away. This specific school has a campaign called everyone reads which is a mentor/tutoring program aiming at raising literacy rates. When we heard that they were looking for volunteers we were all over it. —-YOU GUYS! I’m so excited I seriously cant wait to start. We’re working on getting the trainings/background checks/applications/etc. worked out right now but we have already had others in the area reach out and say that they want to get involved too. I am so pumped for this and the fruit that can come from it. Its going to be an incredible way for us to make our mark on this little nook of the city in the couple of years we have left.

One of the things our pastor said in this series was that the first step in changing the world for Christ begins next door. So that’s the goal. Loving where we are, serving where we are, and keeping both feet where we are. Jesus has truly been so good in providing comfort and making paths for everything that we have wanted to do here and we are so thankful. We LOVE Louisville.

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