Oikos in the heart of the city
By Joe and Karisa Paravisini
Hello! We are the Paravisini's! Joe, Karisa, Tobiah (9), Evangeline (7), Augustine (5), Romaeus (3), Seneca (1 ½), and a another one due in August!
We’re both natives of Rhode Island (USA), a scenic state on the northeastern coast, and the smallest in the country. We both love it here, especially our capital city, Providence. Many summer weekends are spent walking the city together enjoying it's festivities, food, and culture. Providence is a hub for creativity and innovation but has a shrinking Christian presence. Most church plants here fail, or barely survive through primarily transfer-growth.
Joe is a recently ordained bi-vocational church planter with the CRCNA and works in technology downtown. Karisa enjoys serving her family working through her home and schools our eldest children. Both of us are passionate about seeing the Kingdom break through in all facets, personal, social, and environmental. Together we are attempting to plant a new incarnational church rooted in everything we learned from 3dm and TOM over the years.
We recently moved from a suburban context where we spent years building communities as we served previous churches. After 8+ years of discerning God’s voice, we ventured into the heart of the city 6 months ago. The neighborhood that God brought us to is riddled with economic and racial baggage. A small picture of the coming Kingdom, contrasted with the stark realities of remaining sin – our community is richly diverse from the majority population comprised of immigrants and refugees, while also filled with brokenness and suffering. Over 34% live in poverty. Addiction, homelessness, and crime are rampant. The community struggles to bear the weight of the largest concentration of social service organizations in the city.
New to the neighborhood, our family is in the early stages of developing Oikos, while learning from our community and seeking out people of peace. Our children are involved in everything, as it's passion of ours for them to partner with us as we seek his Kingdom in Providence.
The brokenness in our community can only be healed by Jesus, not by any gimmicks we can devise. We are trying our best to abide in the love of Christ and staying close to be able to hear our Father’s voice so we can continue to be guided by the Spirit. This is a discipline we are growing in and would love prayer for, as we are both ambitious pioneers and generally lean on our own skillset too frequently.
Our first priority is forming an Oikos, doing what we do best: showing hospitality to large groups of mostly not-yet-believers in our home. Our struggle is waiting on God’s timing with everything, being patient with small beginnings and having faith that he is already at work. We recently hosted our first dinner party here and over 30 new people came out to enjoy Karisa’s Hispanic cuisine!
Please pray that God will send laborers and bring new life to our community, and that we would rest in our Father's plans!