We scheduled a work party here for the whole community and what a wonderful and productive time it was. We started out with intention of making the process more important than getting things done and making people more important than things. Then we prayed. I shared all the goals of the work party, and then went outside to get some stuff done.
At the Ella House, we have a goal to make an urban homestead which is sustainable and self-sufficient. With projects such as a rocket stove (disguised as a couch); aquaponics; gardens, and rain water capturing system as our goals, we have a lot of work to do. Because various things were scattered around the yards (we basically have three parts in our yard), we needed to move things around.
We also realized that a lot of the stuff that we have collected over the years was not needed because they no longer fit our goals. Some things have gotten ruined. We don’t like going to the dump, but sometimes it is necessary. There are still items in our yard which were left by the previous tenant that definitely are not needed.
Having many hands on deck truly made the work load lighter. Mahriyanna was happy to be in the kitchen preparing a healthy meal of salad and wraps. Since she is still nursing an injury to her arm, she didn’t mind being consigned to the kitchen. Chris and Cliff are very strong and we put them to work carrying the heavy things like concrete. Robert stayed ahead of the game getting things ready and okaying where various things would go. I supervised, mainly, making sure that everyone was busy doing constructive stuff.
We also needed to go to one of Robert’s handyman jobs where he needed to get rid of a heavy door that needed four people to carry. Having four people made the job very doable. Even the driving over to the job gave us time to visit and connect.
After about 2 1/2 hours of hard work, Cliff had to go. But first we all shared briefly what we appreciated about the experience. Really, it seemed that everything we prayed for happened. No one got hurt. We had harmony except for one very small disagreement that was quickly resolved. Lots of work got done. We had fun, too.
A fabulous meal of salad and vegie wraps was consumed by the four of us since Cliff did not want to eat lunch. We worked about 45 minutes more, getting some last minute stuff done. Chris and Mahriyanna got to talk about future plans for Fun Fellowship and Service while we all worked on processing a bunch of cardboard.
I love work parties with my community. Not only is physical progress made, but we build up trust, connection, and love as we contribute to each other’s well being. We are the hands and feet of Jesus to each other. We pray that eventually this urban homestead will be a place where people can learn to grow food and live sustainably in the city. We have big dreams that we think God has given us.
I feel so grateful for all that God has done for us and is doing for us. We are co-creating the kingdom of God here on earth. Now that is a real privilege! We would love to hear your comments and experiences of community and cooperation.