Saturday, July 31, 2010
Tomorrow morning Junction, the church we have belonged to since coming to Africa, will move into our new building on William Nichol Road, the road that slices through Northern Johannesburg like Tracy Boulevard, Watt Avenue, the Esplanade and VanWyk Expressway slices through your own cities.
It is an amazing work of art, our new building, resembling a work of Frank Lloyd Wright, the American Architect who insisted buildings should be one with the surrounding landscape. No wonder, our architect and designer friend, Roger Boden loves Wright and mixes his style into all he does.
If God spares us through our sleep. Mario and I will join the rest of the church as we walk from our old building (a container-configuration that has been Junction's home for eight years) to the modern, beautiful multi-purpose center that will become our new place of worship.
It is amazing.
A 700 meter walk that represents "crossing over into our promised land" will be amazing. We will have to cross the dreaded William Nichol and have police and vested escorts to help us all through. Mario has assembled a team of Junction's most formidable guys that I have affectionately called "The Brute Squad" to stop traffic and guard the path as the 300 person congregation crosses over.
We will be two who will cross.
The reason I am amazed is for one reason: Mario and I have helped every church we have been a part of move into new buildings, but have never attended the opening ceremony or "Welcome Service" for any of them because we have moved shortly before the day was celebrated.
When we first became Christians we joined a beautiful American Baptist Church that became our family, our support, our wisdom in the early years of raising our blended family. With the charismatic lead elder, Rick Bergstrom, we met regularly to talk of building "our own building" that the church could occupy instead of renting the local school multi-purpose room. With a team of church members, we began a building fund and a project that made my head spin...and occupied a lot of our time. We ended up purchasing an existing building, wooden and spacious, for our new church.
A month before the building was complete, Mario began a new job in Sacramento, and we sold our mountain home and moved to a cement jungle. As we left, the church sent us off with their whole hearts, and lots of tears...and moved into their finished and redecorated building.
We eventually found our new "church home" - the Vineyard Sacramento, which went through changes as soon as we arrived. Vineyard endured planting other churches, changing venues, and an eventual separation from Vineyard International. We later changed our name to "Journey", and appropriately sought God with each step we took. Our prophetic lead elder, Rick Martinez later met a team of apostolic/prophetic guys from South Africa, called New Covenant Ministries, International (NCMI). We began a relationship with an international team that would change our destiny; and changed our name to Capital City Church International, or CCCI.
We also began praying about "something greater" than a church building-- a community center that would reach several layers of our communities, and bring people together. We looked at a few buildings, but eventually decided on 1901 Del Paso Blvd., and named it "The Artisan", CCCI's (eventual) new home.
The gutting and building out of our new building was exhausting, challenging, but familiar...and we shouldered in to do the work that bonds families together: building our new "home".
The Artisan became a multi-purpose building that was an incredible sharing of a theater, a coffee shop, an art gallery and a mutli-purpose room (our new meeting spot) . The center won the attention of Sacramento magazine, who awarded our new building "Best Creative Convergence" of 2006, the most fashionable meeting center I had ever seen.
Two weeks before our opening service, we moved to Johannesburg. Our church sent us with their whole hearts, a great party and lots of tears, and we went off to start a new adventure: full-time ministry in Africa...something we had prayed about since our first trip to Malawi in 2000.
There is a portion of Exodus, the Bible's second book, where Moses is told by God that the people he was leading into the promised land would see it, but that Moses never would. I can imagine the sinking feeling in Moses' heart...and his disappointment at never seeing the land he would lead the Israelites into. All that work...all that prayer... and now I don't even get to go in.
Joshua, the man who Moses raised as a leader, led the Israelites across the Jordan River and into the promised land. Moses died in the desert.
Tomorrow we will cross the Jordan... or rather William Nicol, and follow our charismatic/prophetic lead elder, Craig Elliot into our "promised land".
We know a building is just a building... but we pray that it will affect the community the same way the other buildings we left behind are doing now.
And we had to come to Africa to cross our Jordan.
Take a look at our new Junxion Center -- a multi-purpose building that will change the world, God willing.
Posted by Janet Rodriguez at 9:29 PM