Learning to Fly in Oakland

Our second round with our Oakland crew was just as rewarding as our first.

IMG_3708We parked with our Nic and Moe our host family and settled in for a week of whatever might come. It’s one of the most unpredictable neighborhoods we visit and a very difficult place for us to park, with only a 10 foot drive and a tall iron fence on each side. Craig pulled it off though and we were so thankful to be with them again.

Josh and Margie welcomed us with a meal and Josh prepped us on the weeks events. We shared a song workshop with the pre-school and spent time in community with new and old friends, including an invite to one of the community meals, tea with our friend Carla and her baby girl, and jamming with Lono, our wise elder from Hawaii. We also shared sacred space at New Hope’s Sunday gathering.

We travel with tools on board and it’s always a blessing to be able to offer his gifts in craftsmanship. This time around Craig was able to help Nic and Moe with a tile project.

For homeschool/roadschool we visited Berkley. We toured the campus and went to hear Burmese poet, Zeyar Lynn, which was a real treat. And, the best part of the week came when Josh invited Craig and Banjo to learn how to build and fly an RC plane.

 

Not a typical hobby for one who lives in the hood but for Josh this hobby has turned out to be a fantastic tool to build connection with his neighbors. Josh and Margie live on a very dangerous block between International Blvd and Fruitvale. They neighbor with pimps, prostitutes, drug dealers and refugees from around the world. Josh researched inexpensive ways to build the RC planes and purchased supplies. Through conversation with some of his neighbors he found an interest in trying to build a plane and learn to fly. That lead to a Fly club which meet regularly.

This commitment to the long haul is what we admire so much about our friends at New Hope. Their commitment to knowing God, loving others and really pressing into community is such an encouragement to us. In one of the darkest places in our country they offer a vibrant light of love to the community around them.  And, it is a joy to partner with them even for a short time.

Refocus

20130930-160911.jpgAbout every three months or so we have a “dream talk”, a sort of come to the table talk as a family. Our hope is to refocus, hear each other’s longings, dreams, desires and frustrations, placing them on the table and offering them up to the author of our journey.  We want to be obedient, we want to be good parents, we want to be good stewards of our finances and we want to succeed. However, this isn’t always an easy task as we each often come with different agenda’s.

Our latest table talk exposed a few twisted ideals. We found that we’ve worked so hard this summer, playing shows, releasing our third album, and toiling in the music business that we’ve drifted towards self-sufficiency rather than interdependence without even noticing. We also found that our dream talks were becoming angsty with both of our children making demands about their expectations and us feeling guilty for not meeting them as parents. Needless to say, it has been an emotionally exhausting couple of months. And, although we have seen some beautiful parts of the country, explored rock caves, beaches, forests and rivers, we have forgotten our first love. We have learned that humility is not something we have until humbling ourselves is something we do. We have been isolated much of this time and we are longing for community and purpose beyond just playing music and exploring nature. (Although, we do love both!) Ultimately, this past table talk revealed that we needed to go back to the beginning, to remember where we came from, why we made the life choice we did to swim upstream, and who the author was. We needed to lay down our pride and revisit our vision statement:

“We are The Hollands! We are a Mother, Father, Sister and Brother. Bound by blood and vision to travel about this earth, spreading a message of reconciliation through LOVE. We make our way sharing the gifts and talents given us; Music, Craftsmanship, Mentorship and Instruction, Merrymaking and Community building. Our desire is to connect with those we find along the way and encourage community and growth in relationship.”

With this new focus we are anxious to enter into our next chapter of service and although we don’t know exactly how we will be used we know that we will be used well.

As we make our way down the coast of California we will be connecting with our friends at New Hope Community in Oakland again. They have just experienced the tragic loss of their youth pastor, Jose. He was helping to push a car that was broken down to the side of the road when a drunk driver hit him. He was rushed to the hospital but did not make it. We are prayerful as we make our way to them and however we serve, our hope is to bring a tenderness and strength to our time with them.

The second week of October we will be serving alongside a new community in Monterey, CA. We connected with Brian Bajari through a mutual group on Facebook called The Parish Collective. (on a side note, we also met New Hope through this group.)  We are looking to meeting Brian and his community Gathering By the Bay, learning about their work with the homeless and helping any way we can. We are also keen to learn to surf and Brian has offered to introduce us to that world.

By mid-Oct we will be in San Diego with our hosts, the Penley family. We met them when we visited with our friends and their family in Colorado Springs, CO. They gave us an open invitation. My grandfather was stationed in San Diego and I have always had a fondness for the city. This will be our first time there and we are excited to neighbor with the Penley’s.

The end of October takes us to Arizona, where we will park for seven weeks and work alongside our Kineo Community in Central Phoenix. This will be our second long-term stop since we launched in 2011. Our longest was our first stop in Sister, OR where we stayed for twelve weeks, serving at Vast Church and building our bus.

We are so grateful for our Kineo community’s commitment to us and to all of those around the country who have encouraged us on our way. We are thankful for God’s amazing grace and patience. Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desires of our hearts.