A place at the table - we homeschool!
Testimony by fam. Shoemaker (Columbus, Ohio, USA)
A major part of our mission is connecting with and building relationships with other homeschooling families in our area (Columbus, Ohio, USA).
During any given week, you’ll find our little pile of families schooling our kids together, hiking, having play dates, meeting at each others’ houses for coffee and conversation, always conversation; on ‘nights out,’ the ladies may head to a wine bistro, the guys a local pub, and our family nights are always raucous messes at someone’s house.
Though this isn’t a formal missional community, we are definitely living as an extended family with a common mission. Together, we started this so that everyone can have a place at the table; and they do.
Within this group, some are a part of local churches and others are not. Regardless of how they church, we’re learning from one another and having deep conversations, everything from sexuality and Jesus-following to child-rearing and education to car-buying and how to deal with in-laws and what a healthy rhythm of rest looks like.
Recently, we stumbled on a great vacation deal and sent an invite to the other seven families at our table. To our surprise, miraculously, everyone said yes, cleared their schedules, and came!
We took turns cooking and bringing food to share so that every night we could share a meal together. We were staying close enough to one another that kid-swapping was the norm and the proverbial cup of sugar was just a jog next door and a knock on the door away.
Food-sharing and kid-swapping are the low-hanging fruit in this group. This kind of helping one-another seems to come naturally. Five of the families are exploring new expressions of church and questioning the status quo.
One of the ladies is wrestling with doubts around her upbringing, God, and religion in general, but is vulnerable and is open to seeing Jesus in a new light. These are just some of the breakthroughs we are seeing.
Prayer needs we are aware of: As the extended family has grown, we’ve seen or felt anxieties about losing relationships, fear of sickness, fear of change, and struggles with depression. It’s hard to see something good growing and not fear the weeds.
As with many breakthroughs, battles are often just around the corner; as soon as our trip ended and we were all back home, sickness plagued nearly every family, making it impossible to gather, and we’re in a mini rebuild at the moment. We also are in prayer that people would grow from having a heart of love for those “in” to include having a heart of love for those “out”...to extend and add a leaf to the table.