Intro to Watsonopolis

There was one who once said crazy things like, give your possessions to the poor, let your light shine, go to the ends of the earth, love God, love your neighbor, serve, pray, die and live. Those words, the words of Jesus, have gripped and shaped our lives.

Because of Jesus’ life, challenge and love we are propelled into an amazing life journey; a journey that most often finds us pitching our tent among the poor and those on the margins of our world, serving, living, teaching, learning and loving there.

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Thursday
Feb212008

Moving to Memphis or Fed Exing ourselves to Tennessee

Since the 'big announcement' a couple of weeks ago, the watson clan have been occupying their time with packing, preparing to move, house hunting and enjoy our last few weeks in California.

A few highlights...

Meeting with Movers ~
We contacted a number of movers in an effort to secure bids for a company to move our 'valuables' from Fresno to Memphis. We've gotten several bids at this point. We've been told on several occassions, by a number of moving companies, "This is a small move for us". The best line we heard was from a company that we met with at the Pink House, where they were doing an inventory in order to get us an accurate bid. After looking at our voluminous amount of furnishings, he says, "I don't think you make the minimum. It might be better to leave the couch and bookshelves here, Fed EX your boxes and start over". Great. After 6 and 1/2 years of marriage, a toddler and baby #2 the total amount of 'stuff' that Lisa and I have acquired is more appropriate for a postal service than a moving service. While there is a smattering of pride in me that we've been able to continue to live simply, there's also some embarrasement.

House Hunting ~
For two weeks, after Nathan went down for the night, Lisa and I scoured craigslist and other Memphis rental property websites. We created a list, mapped them and flew to Memphis in order to find an address. We had a decent time. After looking at downtown condos, Mud Island apartments, and east memphis rental houses we settled on a historic tri-plex in midtown.

A few observations.
1) If you own a house you want to rent, the nicer it looks the nicer your renters will be. We saw a couple of places that with a little TLC would be great houses. But they looked run down, but the owners insisted that they wanted good renters. Here's a tip, if your place looks dumpy, you'll get dumpy renters.
2) The place you like the most will always be the most expensive. I think this is Satan's evil plan to continue to frustrate the human race. It doesn't matter how much money one makes, the thing you like and want the most, it's gonna cost you.
3) If you want the 'perfect place', you're probably going to have to build it yourself. Apparently the way that I would design a house, the location in which I would build it and the layout that most suits me doesn't exist. I'm not sure why. I'm not looking for some crazy design. It's not like I was hoping for a 2 bedroom, 6 bathroom, 2 kitchen bungalow with a water feature in the living room next to the functional fire place. but it seems a simple, 2 bedroom w/ office, 2 bath, nice kitchen, in a walkable community is as rare as a unicorn. and if you do find one, it will most certainly be very expensive. no matter how much you make.

so, we're back in california. visiting with some good friends staring out at the beach in Newport wrapping our minds around the reality that we'll be loading up the Element and heading east in 9 days. wow.

Thursday
Feb072008

A new direction

Dear Ones,

Hello from the ever growing Watson family! First we want to say thank you to you all for the emails, phone calls and prayers that so many of you have sent our way recently as we’ve been discerning God’s next direction for us. The process has not been easy at all, but knowing that we are surrounded by such a cloud of witnesses has been very encouraging to us.

Having said that we have 2 updates for you.

First, two ultrasounds later, we’ve learned that baby #2 is going to be a BOY! Nathan is going to have a brother, Matthew has been found mumbling “Watson boys” under his breath and grinning at the sound of it, and Lisa is settling into the idea that she will be outnumbered 3 to 1. So far, all doctor’s reports are good and baby and mom are doing well.

Secondly, we have sensed God’s leading, and in excited obedience, we are taking steps. Those steps are leading us to Memphis where Matthew is joining the staff of a wonderful church called Living Hope. We are very surprised by this development as we never expected to be heading back to the South, and certainly not to Tennessee. But the city of Memphis and the community of Living Hope Church has captured our imagination. The growing year and a half old church has asked Matthew to come on board as their Mission Pastor where he will coordinate the church’s urban ministries in inner city Memphis and also provide leadership to their international mission efforts in developing countries overseas. Additionally he will serve on the pastoral team where he will assist in pastoring the congregation, particularly in helping members understand their gifts, talents and passions and how those can be used in loving God and loving the World.

Although Matthew is the one ‘officially’ on staff, obviously much of the work and ministry that the job entails resonates with Lisa’s experience and passion as well. As much as she’s able and wants to before boy #2 comes along, we will be able to travel internationally and serve locally together.

We are very excited about this new adventure. Living Hope provides us with an avenue to use our experience in urban ministry and international missions; two things that are very near to our hearts, and help shape the missional DNA of a local congregation – a work that we are very much looking forward to.

Over the next 6 weeks we will be charting a course across the US and finally arriving in Memphis in mid March. As we begin the process, there are a few things we want to make sure that our prayer and financial supporters are aware of. First, the congregation has been incredibly gracious and generous financially. Consequently, we will no longer need to raise funds for this season of ministry. Thus, for those of you that give on a monthly basis, February will be the last month which we will need funds sent to Fresno, First Baptist. If you are enrolled in our automatic electronic funds donation system, February will be the last month in which those contributions will be automatically withdrawn. If you would like to continue giving to the Faith Alive Foundation in Jos, then feel free to contact us and we can put you in touch with the right folks.

Secondly, even though we no longer are in need of financial support, we still need prayer support. So we will continue to share prayer requests, emails and newsletters with you. These will allow us to stay in touch with you, inform you of what’s going on in our family and ministry; and chiefly, serve as a way to communicate prayer needs and prayer celebrations with you. Even though we are ending one chapter of ministry, we are opening another. We still need your prayers as, together, we begin this new chapter.

Thirdly, we are setting up a new, temporary website so that you can continue to check in on us. This site will give you updates, blogs and pictures of our journey to Memphis and life once we’re settled in. We intend to keep a web presence as a means to continue to stay in contact with as many of you as possible. The new site is called Watsonopolis (like Metropolis) and is located at www.watsonopolis.squarespace.com.

Finally, we ask that you celebrate with us these good gifts that God has given us. New life. New ministry. New adventures. Thank you for walking alongside us through our missionary stint in Nigeria, through our transition and through our professorship at Golden Gate Seminary. We look forward to having you walking along side us as we minister in our new parish of the city of Memphis with Living Hope Church.

With full hearts,
Matthew, Lisa, Nathan and one on the way.

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