Urgent Prayer Needed

[Note: This is being published as a facebook note and as a blog post on my blog. Any that want to comment can do so in either place.]

Hmmm…looking back to June I see that I published a post that was supposed to be the first in a series on why my blog is called DesperateTheologian. But alas, I never followed it up with any other posts.  Part of the reason for this goes back to the fact that I am terrible at blogging. I’ll just admit that and not belabor the point. It’s not that I don’t have any ideas to blog about. I do…really! Well, anyways, I do need to finish out this series but it will have to wait till later. I am devoting this post to some urgent needs that we have since we moved to Houston.

What’s been happening…

Most of you will know that we finished up at Logsdon Seminary in August and moved to the Houston area (we actually live in Stafford) at the end of August for C.C. to do a first year residency at St. Luke’s Hospital in downtown Houston.  The move to Houston had its own fair share of excitement though. Our plans were originally for us to go to Lubbock, TX for C.C. to do a first year chaplaincy CPE residency at a hospital there. These were plans that were set in place almost a full year in advance and we had everything all set to go. However, three weeks before we were supposed to move the hospital called and informed us that the CPE program was being severely downsized and possibly cut altogether and that they did not know of C.C. would have a position for the next year (We have since found out that the program in Lubbock is indeed being cut). The biggest question at this time was: “what are we going to do?!?!” C.C. managed to get a last minute interview with St. Luke’s for their first year residency program, we came down for the interview, and she was accepted immediately. Since St. Luke’s is one of the premier chaplaincy programs in the country and with her quick acceptance we felt like this was an answer from God to our prayers and that this was what God wanted us to do. So we did what we always do, we stepped out in faith and walked through the door that God had opened for us.

I want to emphasize first how much we have to be thankful for and the ways that God has blessed us in this move. It really is amazing how everything came together especially since we had to do everything pretty much last minute.

  • Damaris is in a really great school, Dulles Elementary, which from everything we have heard and can tell is one of the better schools in the area.
  • After a little apprehension on the school’s part upon learning that we had home schooled Damaris for so long they ended up putting her in the 5th grade’s gifted and talented class.
  • Also, Damaris really likes her school. She tried out for choir and got in. Needless to say music is her favorite class.
  • We managed to find an apartment right across the street from Damaris’ school.
  • We owe a HUGE thanks to the Pogues who helped us get set up here and get everything moved into our apartment. I’m pretty sure without their help (and the help of those they found to help) that all our stuff would not have actually made it into our apartment (which happens to be on the third floor). And did I mention that they let us stay with them for a week and store all our stuff in their garage since the apartment wasn’t ready?
  • And C.C. is doing well with her residency, even the 24 hr on calls which are the most intensive part of the program.

And now for the bad news…

However there are a couple of things that have not gone well for us and it is here that we need some very urgent prayer. One is that we have not found a local church to call home yet. Some may see this and wonder what the fuss is about here. After all we’ve only been here for six or so weeks, right? Well, that is true but we don’t like the feeling of not being connected somewhere. When we moved to Portales, NM we were fortunate enough to find a place to call home rather quickly. And when we moved to Abilene, Crosspoint was the second church we visited…and well, it just seemed like a natural fit. I find myself really wishing that there was a Crosspoint around here that we could be a part of. We miss the conversation, community, and being part of a small group. I hate feeling disconnected.

Second, I have not been able to find a job since we arrived in Houston and this is perhaps the most stressful thing we have faced thus far. Honestly, I had not expected this part to be so challenging, as I have always been able to find a job rather quickly in the past. But it has proved more difficult in Houston than I had ever imagined. So, it is this that we are feeling the most need for prayer. Of course the biggest issue here connected with this is paying our bills. C.C. does get a stipend from St. Luke’s but it is not enough to cover all our bills and whatever savings we had is gone as Houston has been more expensive to live in than we had thought.

I will admit that I’m feeling more than a bit squeezed right now, frustrated and even a little desperate. If I were to be honest, I would accept personal donations…but (and this may be a male machismo thing) I really hate to ask others for money – especially knowing that others out there are struggling too. C.C. and I are committed to this missional way of life and living in the missio dei (or mission of God) in every aspect of life, mundane or otherwise. We are wired to be givers and it is more than a little distressing when we can’t do this. For example our friends at the Friendship House in Abilene are trying to raise money for a very worthy cause. We feel like the Friendship House is a part of who we are and if we were even close to breaking even right now we’d give in a heartbeat and the fact that we can’t kills us.

Before we moved to Logsdon I had prayed hard that C.C. would be able to discover what God wanted her to do while we were there. Our time at Logsdon and Crosspoint (while far to short for us) was a time of needed healing and clarification for us. I received what I felt was needed confirmation to pursue PhD studies and C.C. received her confirmation to be a hospital chaplain. Doing a residency for her was the next, most natural (and indeed required) step. In coming to Houston we stepped out on nothing but faith, believing that our move here for C.C. to do her chaplaincy residency was what we needed to do for our future ministry together and that God would provide what we needed. I knew that I was going to have to postpone PhD stuff for at least a year but that was/is fine with me. I love that C.C. is able to do what God has called her to do and I am glad to support her in everything. She helped to put me through two Masters degrees and it is my joy to support her at this point – whether that means doing all the housework, playing chauffer, cooking all the meals, or whatever.

The Specifics…

What we didn’t factor in was that I wouldn’t be able to get a job. Authenticity demands that I admit that it really kills me that I can’t find a job. Quite frankly it’s embarrassing to me (besides being stressful as well). The simple fact is I have applied for everything from fast food to HEB to Lowes to Home Depot to positions with the local school district. I have literally gone cross eyed filling out applications. I am not sure what else to do at this point other than to continue to step out on faith every morning as we have been doing and to bring our needs to the attention of others. Below is a brief list of some of the most pressing concerns.

  • That God would provide the means to pay our bills every month (especially the rent and car payment) whether that is through a job or some other way…
  • That we would have money for groceries…
  • Getting the oil changed in our car…
  • C.C. has an injured foot (stress fracture) which means trips to the doctor and a specialist this Monday – which means a co-pay every time she sees the doctor.
  • It’s a sentimental thing really but we were looking forward to being able to walk together at graduation. If something doesn’t happen soon we won’t even be able to make it back to Abilene in December for graduation. We haven’t been able to make any of the graduation arrangements due to lack of funds.
  • I want to do a PhD but this means two things: actually being able to apply to PhD programs as soon as I possibly can and taking the GRE. The GRE by itself is $130 and then of course there are application fees.
  • That whatever job I do find would be conducive to me dropping C.C. off at the local park and ride bus stop in the morning (about 6:25), picking her up in the afternoon (about 5:30), taking Damaris to school (about 7:45), being here when she gets home at 3 (so she is not home by herself), and the 24 hr on calls that C.C. has to do each week.

We sincerely appreciate everyone and all your prayers and support.

Russell

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