by Darius Oxley
Wowwwwo im honored and excited for you to read this blog. This one was hard for me to write so dont hate me if it less easy to understand. Id love to discuss anything you guys hate/love in the comments. See you on the other side.
today was a big day for me as i was looking forward to taking my math assessment all day. i should have studied but hindsight is 20/20. what i will note is my trip with Uesin. he selflessly gave up his afternoon to drive me to my house, to get food, and then to lanham. What i appreciate about him is how thoughtful all of his actions are. not even just the ones that place me on the receiving end but rather how he places purpose in every decision he makes. i want my relationship with God to mirror how his looks in these ways one day. but after we the assessment i drive back and there is a group meeting centered around Vaughn and he was telling us about his relocation story. a very humbling experience but it seems like God does that to many people that being give them a task they cannot complete on their own. Important Part There is no way for me to claim i trust God with my life and then not my child’s life. so when i feel called to move into the city and education for my child comes up i dont think I want the best for my children. i want what God has for my family and i trust that following his will we do the rest. secondly i learned there is no way to do this alone. no matter how much i tell myself i hate people and want to be alone community is neeeeeeded for relocation. not only will God get you plugged into the city but he will plant you in community with folks with the same mission as you. your church should represent where you live and the values of Christ. make the sacrifices needed to do Gods work if youre going to go there you might as well all the way do it. Important Part people call tell when youre just moving in as compared to bringing Jesus into their Community.
without much change in my day to day this week i was eager to see where my life would be challenged. my first adventure came when i went further out of the city with Megan and Lestle to the bank. our walk confused me slightly because of what i anticipated to be true about the city was just not lining up to be true at all. everyone thinks the city is the worst part of baltimore but Important Part i am starting to believe i have reason to believe that the people who live outside the city before they are in the county technically that have the most strenuous places. ostracized from the county because they arent good enough and without the “resources” of the city. its a hard life out here. fastforward to dinner time im walking to hiphop chicken and a woman starts screaming to me if i want to buy any movies. its in my nature to stop and talk because i just cant pretend like i cant hear someone speaking directly to me or keep walking when someone is trying to get my attention. so tell her i dont have any interest in any DVDs or console games or perfume but that also wasnt good enough for her. so she crosses the street to better communicate her need for a dollar just have something to drink. the thing that was catching me was we were on our way to eat dinner and i had already decided i wasnt going to spend my money because i wasnt to hungry. so i told her i didn’t have any singles but she can have and i assured her that if i did she would be in luck. shortly after i ended up giving her the 5 to her surprise and she starts crying. i ask her name and then she tells me and i say i will be praying for her but my family group was standing a ways off and were waiting for me to go to dinner. as i tried to walk away she reaches out for me and asks for me to pray for her now. by the time im finished she is in full blown tears and i just gotta go because i cant be out here crying in these streets. i tell this story because i think for me and her it was more than about the mere 5. Important Part while the 5 would get her something to drink it wasnt going to meet all of her needs and we both knew that. the immediacy she wanted her interaction with her Savior right then. and it just teaches me not walk past anyone again because besides “costing me” 5 dollars which was only mine for all of 5 minutes i was able to be with her in her interaction which i believe she will remember way longer than she will remember the 5 i dont even remember what it looked like.
Who am I. Question I’ve found in all of my conversations since Sunday. Looking for ways I could define myself without telling people what I’m not. Today’s thought provoking comments came by the brilliant minds of Feitian and Lestle. After I was taking notes on my Asian culture 101 class I started to realize my questions weren’t specific to myself and that many other people groups go through the very same things I do. Seeking to find ones self. Feitian communicated to me the exact thing that I knew I couldn’t have been the only other person thinking. That people don’t want to know you, they’d rather skip all the time it would take to get to know each person and use what they have gathered previously through most times skewed lens to contextualize you. Important Part Who you are and who you aren’t are two different people trapped in one body. And most times we are stuck in between looking for someone else to shine some light on us to help determine where our strengths and almost-strengths lie. But I didn’t come to this until the 3 of us went around and spoke about how we were having such immense difficulty communicating who we were to the next person or how hard it was without describing what we weren’t. I believe we live in our pursuit for purpose in our lives and we start with figuring out who we are and what we like. Most times we never make it to the second part without placing our identity in Christ. Important Part It sounds super corny but I have been thinking all week and those are the only concrete things I can describe myself with that others cannot change the definitions to. Who knows. Maybe one day I won’t be afraid of someone knowing me better than I do. But I can’t call it as of yet.
Writing this a day after wasn’t my smartest idea yet. But we didn’t do as much. It was comprised of a seminar on racial reconciliation. while this seems like a super broad topic and it is. the main parts of what we were doing were focused around a couple steps that really broke down the process into knowing who you are racially and ethnically and what that means for our society and how can we knowing our differences work to create heaven on earth. this whole seminar was a challenge as to what i thought heaven was going to look like. i can see now what a real working definition of unity looks like. unity is fully realized in diversity. as a puzzle works there are many many pieces and they are all shaped through cultures and experiences they have been in. Important Part we needed more than 1 uniqueshape to complete the image of God and thats what unity is about. accepting people who are different from you and working with them because we all together reflect God
After the seminar we went on a trip to the National Blacks in Wax museum. While it was a learning experience i would have enjoyed maybe another hour or 7 to properly pace myself to get to really digest the museum. The worst part about this whole thing for me is in the idea that many of the atrocious acts that were used to oppress black people in the past were not only “based” out of christian beliefs but also done by christian people. So to think about reconciliation for me is to attach myself to an agent that was used to divide people in the past didnt sound appealing at all. Important Part But i realize i serve a God that is big enough to take what some people manipulated to hurt and dehumanize my people and redeem not only what was taken but Christ’s name. This is so important to me because the more broken the more we can see God’s grace cover many times over.
as practicing sabbath becomes more and more a thing im getting used to im thankful for the time im putting aside to be alone. lol and be with
God. i went over to the Zubeks home and there i met so many new friends. these people im starting to see work together to get your will done and i say the way teamwork looks. vision casting and group work does more and helps to create a community that is dependent on each other. every part of me hates being dependent on someone else but im trying my best to do more than just isolate myself and grow to work with people towards a common goal. but today i went to worship at a mass. it was so new and short i didnt even realize it was over when it was. a different pace but not something i dont think id do long team. i dont see enough variability for myself. i like the experience. id want to get to understand why they do all of what they do for their practices.
monday was a day that we began to get back into everything with brother Jeff. as a starter we spent about 30 minutes in prayer interceding on behalf of the kids who were just coming back from camp, playing in the league, and the coaches. This is so valuable to me because of what the kids experienced while they were at summers best 2 weeks. This christian camp was a structure and environment that many different kids have in. Brother Jeff took these 7 kids and they all took MAJOR steps in their walk with Christ. And this is great to see but everyone isnt going to be at the best 2 weeks forever and the situations these kids are coming back to isnt one that would accidentally foster them to continue to grow. Important Part Which is why we were fighting in prayer for these kids to meet us halfway so we can continue to pour into them while they are around. becoming an intercessor is exciting me more and more because im becoming like my momma and i see the importance and value of what she does so well. pray for others. i might have to get me one of those closets that dont have a door since i feel like id get locked in and die. but thats besides the point. we then went shopping for the 4th and the weekend for him before coming back home and doing more admin things. then my favorite part of it all. spending time with the youth came. we took timmy*** to the park to hoop for quite some time. seeing and getting these kids to be themselves and slowly begin to look up to myself and lestle and begin to ASK us questions just shows how willing and eager they are to learn. cant wait for more times.
Writing this blog now I’m still experiencing the 4th in the city and so the nonstop fireworks kept me awake enough to write this entry. To begin my 4th I went to brother Jeffs home and had a cookout with the kids and some of his closest mentees. Over a couple games of uno, burgers, and corn we discussed among many other things honor. While it might seem like a little thing to you guys honor for these kids is VERY VERY important. As I believe it should be for everyone but in biased. Honor and respect is given to those who earn it and something you would never give up on your own accord without a fight. While I know this to be true in my life it didn’t settle in how serious this was until asked point blank where put in a situation you had to Choose walking away with your life or dying with your pride that some would choose to die. Not only did this seem almost ludicrous to me but it wasn’t until shortly after that “death before dishonor” really held any weight. Not only were these kids being put in these situations but they were being forced to make these decisions and would rather die and be known as a real one that held to their values than to flake even when your life is on the line. I love it when someone teaches me something new about myself and this was definitely a time i could realize who i was and where i could grow, Because just putting it in my Blog doesnt mean id be willing to give up my life for anything. Important Part These soldiers would be rocking it in the army of God but until we can get them to stand on the solid rock of Jesus things prolly not gon stay too bright.
My second part of my day I want to compare firework experiences. While they aren’t entertaining to me I enjoy seeing others amused by them. To start off we went to the Zubek Home to watch then after our crab feast. People start to filter onto the roof of their rowhome in SOWEBO and lean up pretty much with their significant others. As people all around the city shoot of their fireworks the thing that stuck out most to me in this situation was how people were celebrating. The laid back privileged group of christians versus the constant street show that we watched for close to an hour as they blocked off stricker less than 50 meters from our home opens my eyes to so many things and actually visible comfort zones. Important Part I want to remember to that the people in Baltimore are not here to put on a show for me on my rooftop but rather that im challenged to learn, experience, and love on the people to try and better understand them. Connections work wonders as we watched and listened to the fireworks go off from 9-2 am non stop.
While this blog was harder for me to write i think there were less Important Parts as well and i dont want yah to hate me for it. Hopefully the ones ive pointed out in this last week add help with anything you might have experienced once upon a time. My last impressions would be to find 3 things you can tell me about yourself without telling me who you arent. My challenge would be to try a vegetarian lifestyle for a week. And my question would be where would you put yourself on the death before dishonor scale?
by Darius Oxley