This week, I was reminded of the importance of both rest and community as we seek the Lord and his kingdom in the Chirilagua neighborhood. Our team has been running at a sprint for the past 18 months, and I began to feel the burnout. We decided to take our first steps to slowing down and spent a day on retreat together, pausing and recentering ourselves before the new program year begins. The day was dedicated to sharing our stories with one another. Through deep listening, I witnessed the challenges we have encountered in our lives, the joys we have celebrated, and how we have seen God at work through it all. It was a slow day of receiving beautiful testimonies of what has happened. I felt more connected after hearing one another courageously and vulnerable share pieces of our lives; it was a confirmation that we have the exact team that we need for this season at Casa. As I rested in all that God has done, I walked away encouraged for what is to come.
Coming off our retreat, we jumped into running parent orientations. As parents came to receive information about programs and events at Casa, our community center was filled in a way that it hasn’t been in the last 18 months. It was a welcome sight to see parents sitting together, engaging, laughing, and asking questions. As I looked out at the room of parents, I saw the faces of people who ran alongside us this past year. I saw people who are resilient, who love deeply, and who are fiercely for their neighborhood. At that moment, I thought back to all of the ways each of them stepped up to care for their community in the midst of COVID, and I began to wonder what God might have in store for them this year and how he might use them in loving and caring for Chirilagua.
As we kick off a new season of programs at Casa next week, I am confident that through choosing rhythms of rest and relying on community, we will be able to face anything that lies before us. Our Elementary Programs Director, Diana, said in a planning meeting recently, “We were able to successfully pivot and change everything with no warning last year… if we have to do that again, we are more than capable.” We are committed to finding rhythms of rest for ourselves and our community as we continue on in the work God has laid out for us, and we do it with great joy, knowing that we do none of it alone.
Marissa Salgado – Programs Director