Thursday, July 2, 2009

Emmaus and the Kaio Community

Kaio Community

The Kaio Community was the heart of my experience with Emmaus Ministries. This was where I I lived. The community consists of interns who give up a year of their lives to work with the guys. In return they receive training, a place to stay, a stipend and health insurance. Prior to my arrival one member left the community. While I was there a potential intern was being interviewed. I lived with Brandon from Iowa, Nicole from California and Chris from one of the Carolinas (sorry Chris, I forget which one!)

The apartment itself was nice. The living room was large and comfortable and included a dinning area. The room made you aware immediately that you were in an urban setting. The window looked right down on Wilson Avenue. The sounds of the city were constant.

The kitchen was bright, cheerful and full of activity. The bedrooms each had their own character. I distinctly remember however the sound of our neighbor crying out to God every night well into the early morning.

Down the hall was a utility closet that Chris had turned into a prayer closet. Inside were reading materials, icons and one chair. It was used often.

The apartment was on the third floor. The first floor were the offices for Emmaus and the basement was the Ministry Center.

However, it was the member of Kaio that really touched me. We prayed together daily. Tuesday was Kaio Prayer night. That meant one person cooked for all of us. We ate together. Another person lead us in prayer and another in discussion. Finally, we spent time enjoying one another’s company.

This is where I went to recharge my batteries after long days or nights. This is where I went for good fellowship. This is where I went to remind myself I was finally living in an intentional religious community. I loved it.

So, these are the last of my Emmaus Ministries videos. I will not be writing about Emmaus for a while. If my photos are ever recovered I will post them and talk about the places I visited. Until then it is time to move on.

I spent the spring and summer immersed in faith communities. I spent a week in March in Kentucky with the Christian Appalachian Project. I spent May in Chicago with Emmaus Ministries. I spent nine days in June in Minnesota with Collegium. Now it is time to consolidate, integrate and apply. It is also time to go back to what I normally blog about. That includes the Church in Asia, Africa and South America, life in Fort Wayne and northeast Indiana, family and peace and environmental issues.

The spring and summer of 2009 has been an extraordinary time in my life. Now it is time to live the life of a husband, father, teacher, congregational member and Hoosier. That sounds pretty good to me!

Nicole and Chris Baking Cookies at Kaio

Emmaus, Al, Andi and Stories from the Streets

Al Tauber was my boss. He was the guy that made it possible for me to do my internship at Emmaus Ministries. He is the director of educational services. However, I had spent two years trying to get in contact with this other guy, Andy Tauber. Imagine my surprise when Andy turned out to be Andi, his wife!

Together Andi and Al did “Stories from the Streets." This was a musical and prose compilation of the stories of the guys of Emmaus. It was powerful. The Taubers toured the Midwest presenting Stories from the Streets" to colleges, churches and social organizations.

Al did Stories full-time until there was a need for him to step into the directorship of educational services. He now works at balancing these two very different jobs.

Al was the person that connected me with Kiao, the Ministry Center and outreach. He gave me my first interview. He checked in with me regularly. Al and Andi are a dynamic, loving team. My only regret at Emmaus was that I did not get to spend enough time with the two of them. Also, in the future, I want to visit their church. In the meantime, I will just be grateful for the time I did get to spend with Al and Andi.

Al Tauber, Director of Educational Services

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Volunteers at Emmaus Ministries

Piano Man, notice the sound of lively conversation in the background

The Ministry Center is not just the meeting place for our guys. It attracts dedicated volunteers. They come from local universities and seminaries. They come from churches. Often they are just Christian and curious about the services we offer. However, it is not unusual to have volunteers stay on for years simply because they fall in love with a place that practices unconditional love.

One of the Saturday nights I was working the Ministry Center we had volunteers from the Laborers for Christ Church. I had never heard of them before. They come once a month and provide meals and fellowship for our guys. They were truly an inspiration.

The church is a small church on the Southside of the city. They got involved in Emmaus and working with exploited guys and then they caught on fire! This little church became an expert on working with the sexually wounded. They have provided ministries and worships in South Africa and surrounding countries, in Turkey and Greece.

The church member in the video is a little nervous about being taped. I spent time with her, she knows Turkey is a nation and not a city, she is just nervous. That did not stop her from ministring to people on three continents. It does not stop her from helping our guys. She is a dynamo and a great ambassador of her church.

The young man playing the piano was one of two young men from the church visited Emmaus that night for the first time. His piano playing was well received. As you listen to him listen to the sound of lively conversation in the background. The atmosphere was almost party-like.

These volunteers were truly inspiring. They showed that you don’t have to have a big name or a mega-church congregation to make an impact. You simply need to listen and follow, and they did!

Laborers for Christ Church