|Jon's Selection Weekend|
Jon worked his way through meetings, tours, interviews, and talks. I drained the battery on my cell phone as I depended wholly on its GPS and the Designsponge city guide I had found. I remember initially being so terribly let down by this tiny city. Memphis was at it's best: upper 70's, sunny, in full bloom, and the mosquitoes were not out yet. All that sunshine couldn't cheer me as I came to all 4 corners of the city and the end of my guide and feeling ultimately underwhelmed. I had no desire to move to this strange and very southern city. I found a coffee shop to charge my phone and faced the window instead of the room. Positioned so, I knew no one could know that the tears had begun to fall.
Jon and I reunited back at the wonderful guest home (palace) that a previously unknown older couple had offered up for us for the weekend. In all it's grandeur amidst their wildlife sanctuary yard and a pool, I felt the panic setting in. When I saw Jon, his face was also wet with tears, but for opposite reason mine were.
|The guest house that we stayed in during selection weekend. So beautiful.|
That weekend, MTR had been painted as this wonderful program that sought out God's mission and justice in a city plagued with a failing education system and generations of injustice and prejudice. He was more excited about teaching than ever before, and was truly feeling the Lord tug on his heart for Memphis. His tears were of joy and excitement. As much as I love seeing my husband excited, I couldn't catch my breath and had the distinct feeling of falling.
A year later, it's selection weekend again, but this time, for next year's residents. My husband is one of the ones doing the interviewing and touring. Prospective residents will be touring our apartment. The weather is cold, rainy, gloomy. It is quite different from last year in many ways. Yet the biggest contrast is my attitude. I no longer feel like this city is so miserable, lonely, and boring. It may not yet be "home", but it has come a long way in warming up to me. Jon and I have spent this past year trying to get to know this town and finding our own little niche. We have made good friends, established coffee shops and restaurants as our "go-to's" and no longer need a GPS to get around.
Jon was totally right, this program is incredible. He is graduating in May and will be teaching on his own this Fall. I definitely feel like he is better prepared because of MTR than he could be most anywhere else. Best of all, MTR actually seems to be making a huge impact on this city. They have a Gospel-centered approach to education. They believe that urban education is the single greatest social justice and civil rights issue in America today, and teachers can make a difference. I thank God for pushing us out of our comfort zones and moving us 900 miles away. I never thought I would say it, but I'm glad we moved to Memphis. I still miss Richmond dearly, but I know that God is using us both mightily here.