Wednesday: Refreshing Spaces.

by Chris Kamalski

Joe Reed leading a typical staff his doodles!

Woke up pretty exhausted from a long Tuesday of mission and work, albeit a great day. Wanted to sleep until way past noon but instead got up and shuffled off on a series of errands including getting the sexiest wedding suit ever as well as finally putting some food back in my fridge.

Heading home, I grabbed some leftover pasta from our gathering Tuesday night (Thanks Curtis for making too much!) and re-read through a chapter of The Celtic Way Of Evangelism, a profound book that has shaped much of CRM’s work around the world, particularly NieuCommunities‘ desire to see its core work of mission flowing out of a living, breathing, holistic community that lives among those whom we are working with. Our Core Leadership meeting was about to start with Joe Reed, our Director, and Curtis Love, and among many things on the agenda (an upcoming Road Trip/exposure experience for a group of Americans in a shared trip hosted by Pure Hope and us, as well as the beginning of an evaluation of what environments we find ourselves working in (Curtis put together an excellent evaluation tool for us) we began with a book discussion.

We find ourselves in an interesting space as a missional community, just over one year after having dramatically refocused our mandate towards apprenticing South African leaders in the way of Jesus into sustainable mission around the globe. We have been exploring many avenues of service and engagement as a team, including discipling relationships with university students, coaching a variety of friends and strategic partners, as well as offering Life Compass vocational/vision training at 3rd Place and in a local youth prison. Although this wide focus has been invaluable for us this past year, it likely is time to begin tightening the reigns a bit, refocusing on what we do best as a missional community. Hence, time to read The Celtic Way again.

Rest, leading to renewal. At Mohale Rest + Renewal.

Shortly after our staff meeting finished, I dashed off to Pretoria North, where NieuCommunities South Africa was formerly based for almost 7 years, to join several spiritual directors in a monthly rhythm of supervision led by an experienced spiritual director and head of a wonderful retreat center, Mohale Rest + Renewal. Lorraine Groenwald has hosted our missional community many times over the years, and provides a restful, restorative place in the midst of Pretoria North, a retreat center spread out over several homes next door to each other in our old neighborhood. We spent 90 minutes this afternoon centering ourselves in how God is speaking in our lives, and then prayerfully listening to and reflecting back towards each other regarding a whole host of issues related to the spiritual direction we offer to those around us. Primarily, I am facilitating monthly group spiritual direction for both our NieuCommunities team as well as our friends in Soshanguve, InnerChange South Africa. It was so refreshing to return to a more formalized supervision space (in a sense, supervision of spiritual directors is simply spiritual direction for spiritual directors, or a space for those who help others listen to God to listen to God at work in their lives themselves), and to begin a new monthly rhythm with fellow directors.

I cannot begin to tell you how much this refreshed my soul, and re-awakened both a gift and passion within me to provide consistent, regular sacred space for individuals and groups to encounter God at work in their lives! I hope to return to and invest more effort in this invaluable work post honeymoon!

(Each day this week I will post a story or reflection about some aspect of my work and life that our missional community, NieuCommunities South Africa, is currently engaged in here in Pretoria. I’ll simply attempt to answer the questions, ‘What does a week in my life look like? while framing that within the larger question of ‘What stories are you co-writing with God in South Africa, and how does this story fulfill your unique mandate to apprentice South African leaders in the way of Jesus into sustainable mission around the globe?’)