Becoming Chris Kamalski

"There's a Writer outside ourselves, plotting a better story for us" ~Don Miller

Tag: NieuCommunities

Goosebumps + Throat Lumps (2010 Year-End Report).

  • ONLINE FINANCIAL PARTNERSHIP HERE! (My monthly financial need in 2011 is $2,908. Currently, I forecast approximately $2,431 in monthly partnership in 2011. Simple subtraction tells you that I need to raise an additional $477 in actual funds a month to meet my financial needs.)
  • [2010 YEAR-END REPORT] (Looking back on all God has written in the 9 months I have lived on mission in Pretoria…looking ahead to 2011 and what is peeking forward on the horizon; plus my 2011 Financial Needs Forecast)

_____________________________________________

Last Wednesday, Conrad Damies, a young man serving multiple years in Baavianspoort Youth Prison for a terrible, violent choice he made in his past, stood up in front of myself, Maxie (my South African lady and the Director of Pure Hope, a non-profict ministry dedicated to being a catalyst for hope and exposure to issues of poverty and injustice in South Africa), and Wessel, a man who has given his life to working alongside the correctional system to mentor, develop, and release rehabilitated inmates back into South African society, and declared the following as a culmination of a months-long process of developing a fresh vision for his life:

“I want to be a place where there can be peace, a place where people can come who think they have made mistakes, a safe place where they can speak out their problems. I want to be a source of life for those who spent most of their time with me; I want to be a place that provides encouragement for those with broken hearts, I want to be a place for those who come from afar and a source of life for those that are close and around me. I want to be a place where people can come and fish, get some advice or to just get fresh air and maybe even spend the night. I just want to impart joy, love, build character and be a friend. Even if some just come and throw their garbage in me I will never change – that is what makes me different from the sea, I like being a lake. There is no other metaphor I will take that is more powerful than ‘The Encouragement Lake.'”

Goosebumps covering our bodies + large lumps in our throats, we celebrated his vision alongside six other inmates in a bittersweet ‘graduation ceremony’ upon the completion of the Life Compass process with a group of guys who have become very dear to our hearts. As we walked through the long barbed-wire hallways to our cars after this ceremony for the last time in 2010, I found myself turning to Maxie (as it seems I do each week) and remarking, “This is the best thing I am apart of each week–I truly feel as if I am engaging in the actual transformation of South African lives!”

Countless other stories such as this small moment make up the kaleidoscope of life + work that I am engaged in as a part of NieuCommunities South Africa, our small missional community who moved into the heart of Pretoria in July of this year. Often, I find it hard to describe what how I am “apprenticing South African leaders into sustainable mission around the world,” as life transformation is slow and messy, often defying simple description. Yet this picture from last Wednesday hopefully crystalizes our mandate into an actual life. Conrad = Why I am here on mission in South Africa.

The Christmas season is upon us, and I know that you are highly busy. I’m writing for three reasons:

  1. To thank you sincerely for partnering with me in finances + prayers this year (I truly am here because of you!).
  2. To update you on my work as a part of NieuCommunities South Africa (Click the link below for my 2010 Year-End Report)
  3. To forecast my financial needs as 2011 approaches and ask you without shame or hesitation to consider how God may be asking you to continue partnering with me financially in this coming year.

One paragraph on my financial needs: My monthly financial need in 2011 is $2,908. Currently, I forecast approximately $2,431 in monthly partnership in 2011. Simple subtraction tells you that I need to raise an additional $477 in actual funds a month to meet my financial needs. My budget increased $280 month in 2011 for several reasons:

  • NCSA’s move into Clydesdale, a suburb with dramatically higher rent/utilities costs.
  • The strengthening of the Dollar/ Rand exchange rate ($1=R6.8 currently, down from R8+ in early 2010).
  • A year spent in South Africa helping me accurately reflect my budgetary needs (I am learning to pay for what I spend!)

I am overly aware of how inundated everyone is at this time of year for end of the year-giving requests, dramatic needs, etc. I don’t want to minimize my need (it is real!), nor the fact that my budget has been too tight for comfort this past year. Yet I know that you face real choices as well in your own life.  Will you pray and seek God for how you can partner with me, and let me know in the next few weeks?

If you would like to support online, simply click this link:

If you would prefer to send in your gift in the mail, download the support card, fill out the details, and send into CRM at the address on the card.

I am deeply grateful for your generosity and belief in me on mission here in South Africa,

Chris

PS: Enjoy a ‘veritable cornucopia’ of windows into all I have been involved with this past year…click on all links below!

  • [2010 YEAR-END REPORT] (Looking back on all God has written in the 9 months I have lived on mission in Pretoria…looking ahead to 2011 and what is peeking forward on the horizon; plus my 2011 Financial Needs Forecast)

_____________________________________________

A SLEW OF WINDOWS INTO THE STORIES GOD IS WRITING THROUGH MY WORK WITH NIEUCOMMUNITIES SOUTH AFRICA (Enjoy the holiday distractions! 🙂 )

  • [60*SECOND STORIES] (Brand-new 2011 venture into video-blogging through my YouTube Channel, seeking to tell the stories of missional transformation and life in South Africa through short 60 second(ish) clips)
    • Meet Lewis (The unfolding story of Lewis Mhlongo, a Zimbabwean youth in prison we are working with to develop a vision for life after the completion of his sentence)
    • Coffee At Wimpy’s (Walking alongside Nosiat, a Catholic friend with a heart to see fresh missional expression within her parish)

What Are We Doing? (Pt. 1)

(Top to Bottom, Left to Right): Curtis Love, Ezra Reed (4), Myself, Natalie Reed, Joe Reed, Keziah Reed (2), Malachi Reed (4 months).

This series of posts will attempt to convey a bit of the steps through the fog of the last ten weeks of my time here in Pretoria as a part of our NieuCommunities South Africa team. Each reflection will seek to answer the question of What are we doing? in a simple,  straightforward manner that hopefully paints a clearer picture as to our adventures as a missional community in transition. Check back here over the next week or so for more reflections!

What are we doing?

We are engaging in the formation of friendship as a new family unit seeking to live life on mission, together! This means that we have begun experimenting with a rhythm of life together over these past several weeks, a weekly rhythm that includes:

  1. Daily morning prayers during the work week (Currently, we are reflectively reading The Divine Hours by Phyllis Tickle, a fantastic Protestant version of the Book of Common Prayer that follows the church’s liturgical seasons).
  2. Weekly common meals (It is still surprising to me how powerful sharing food together at one table can be in drawing a community of diverse people together, even though this was regular occurrence within my apprenticeship year in 2009).
  3. The_Clearness_Committee (Just finishing, and something I will post on in depth later, but a powerful communal discipline used to help those in transition out of our community discern the movement of God within their vocational choices and future life direction. I have been facilitating this time as a close ‘cousin’ to spiritual direction).
  4. Neighborhood exploration (Prayer walks throughout Clydesdale, the ‘sanctuary within the city’ that we are seeking to move into as a missional community to serve as our home base and ‘hub’ of missional activity. Also, conversations and listening to locals within the neighborhoods in and around Clydesdale, all in an attempt to discern what God is up to within this slice of the city).
  5. Strategic ‘responsive’ planning as a staff team (Joe has lead us through a multi-week process of what we God has done through us in our past as a part of NCSA, where we are at currently, and what our unique mandate looks like as a missional community that trains and sends South African leaders into sustainable mission. It has been a rewarding process dialoguing and moving forward together with Joe and Curtis as a part of the trinitarian (Ha!) staff team).

My vote for favorite team photo. I call it "Ezra Patricide."

My Pack Of Gum.

Mulling over what to write about this morning (Remember, it’s all about putting something written on the page), I realized that I have several prompts that would make great posts, but no willpower, time, or mental energy to pull them together into something cohesive. Instead, here’s what’s in my current pack of gum (For the literalists out there, this is what I am chewing on):

  • We live in a world of discordant voices. To pray is to become increasingly sensitive to the voice of Jesus and to recognise in him the ‘way in’ to God, the gate that opens out into the wide pastures where we encounter truth and life” (via Sacred Space).
  • “You arrive at enough certainty to be able to make your way, but it is making it in darkness. Don’t expect faith to clear things up for you. It is trust, not certainty.” (Flannery O’Connor)
  • If our community is a ‘missional community’ in its central DNA, how do I value incarnation over attraction, and people over programs? (via Mark Thrash via Tangible Kingdom)
  • A scripture from John 10 that I’m thinking about: “He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.” What was Jesus hinting at in saying that shepherd ‘goes ahead’ of his flock?
  • And finally, the focus of this week’s meditations at Sacred Space:

Hopefully, one more step today.

Why I’m Returning To South Africa 2.

Here’s How You Can Help Me.

Introducing a rhythm in practicing Spiritual Disciplines to our community.

I see 4 avenues of missional engagement with South Africans as the primary ‘currents’ within which I’ll swim as I return to South Africa for the next two years. Here’s the first avenue I see myself engaged in:

  1. Developing Spiritual Formation & Rhythms in God for our Community: Using my training in Spiritual Formation and Direction, I will direct, deepen, and engage both our covenanted and wider South African community in spiritual rhythms, disciplines, and a formative process that helps open our hearts to God, each other, and the transformative journey that we are all on as followers of Jesus. I will oversee the “Communion & Community with God and each other” piece of NieuCommunities South Africa’s vision.

Why I Am Returning To South Africa 1.

Here’s How You Can Help Me.

“I WANT THIS KIND OF NORMAL.”

I wrote those 6 declarative words in July 2008 at the close of an incredible spent living with the NieuCommunities South Africa family in Pretoria, South Africa, never knowing that they would draw me to return as Field Staff 2 years later.

My heart in this simple declaration was to name out loud the growing desire in my heart to leap out into the great world that God is re-creating all around us every second of every day.  Jesus describes this Kingdom of God’s as being ‘at hand,’ literally within arm’s reach. I yearn to live the kind of life where every breath that I take, whether in San Jose (the home where I grew up), Orange County (where I called home for 10 formative years in early adulthood), or now Pretoria, South Africa (much of 2008-2009, and now for the next 2 years, through 2011), is one of increasing openness, willingness, and receptivity to the presence of God in my life, and in the world in which I live.  My journey carried me to the bottom of the world in 2009, in an attempt to flesh out the heart behind that simple—yet deeply complex and challenging—declaration.

Now, I am called to return to Pretoria, South Africa, to join the NieuCommunities South Africa team in a season of great transition, and equally great opportunity. NieuCommunities is a collective of missional communities scattered around the world committed to mentor and send followers of God in the way of Jesus. Stated simply, we will train and empower South Africans to live as missional Christians in their own neighborhoods, as well as send them to influence leaders around the globe.

I invite you to join me in this adventure of becoming myself—Chris Kamalski. I need you: your love, questions, relationships, prayers, thoughts as I move into this calling.  I wish to be a true friend to you as well: to provoke your thoughts, struggles; to ask you to join with me in pursuing ‘the life that is truly life.’

Vancouver, Pretoria, San Diego: NieuCommunities Updates.

headerRob Yackley, NieuCommunities Director Extraordinaire, updates the wider NieuCommunities crew on the comings and goings of the three NC sites in Vancouver, Pretoria, and San Diego from time to time.  I thought many of you might enjoy a wider glimpse into all that is taking place in this current season globally with our crew.  Vancouver just finished up their apprenticeship year and is heading into a ‘reload’ season, we (Pretoria) have just finished our first Learning Posture (Listening), and San Diego is just launching as a brand-new site with a fresh vision and approach to mission!

Click here for Rob’s Communique.