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Grant and Shannon’s Mission Year Newsletter for January

Motivated by Dreams

By Grant Jenks

In the spirit of resolutions, we began the year by dreaming. With dreams, we also set goals. While we won’t see an end to obesity, ignorance, or fundraising, our goals can make a difference. There’s a significant need to accomplish something tangible as we live here. The Christmas break was a great time for processing and to love despite the ambiguities was one of my resolutions.

Emmaus House performed a survey of the community at the end of last year. Two specific needs stood out: lack of access to affordable fruits and vegetables and lack of employment and other activities for young adults. And so our dream is to see a fruit and vegetable stand raised up in the neighborhood: one which connected the produce of local farmers with the health of inner-city Grandmothers and children. Our roommate Josh has taken particular interest in this dream and will focus on it as part of his Master’s work. As a tangible goal, we hope to sell discounted fruits and vegetables at the Emmaus House community dinners which are hosted once a month.

Across the street, the McDevitt Center hosts a youth program named Youth on the Move. As part of this program, I volunteer on Wednesday and Thursday nights to help the Robotics Club. I love the “ah-ha!” moments in the eyes of the kids as we expose them to programming and engineering. My dream is that we raise up young engineers who go to college and build our future internet, microchips, and spaceships. Though none are poised to realize those dreams this year, I see my contribution as scraping flint with spark onto their interest. By the end of the year, I would love to take them on a tour of a robotics lab at a local college. Anyone a Georgia Tech alumni?

I have written often about Good Shoppr and it still motivates me with a lot of potential. As of this writing, Good Shoppr has raised $270 for our Mission Year. By the end of the year, I hope it can raise $1,000. With Christmas behind us, the odds are against it but I’m still inspired. In my dreams, Good Shoppr will raise millions to support organizations like the Alzheimer’s Association, World Vision, and the Red Cross. Did you know your Amazon gift card will work with Good Shoppr? Shop for goods, shop for good on

Grant, Shannon, and Josh on Playground

We have a dream to impact youth in our neighborhood. Here we are at the McDevitt Center across the street from Emmaus House.

How to Make a Donation

You may either use the enclosed envelope or you can donate securely online. Whenever you make a donation, be sure to include our Team Member Name and Support ID Number. Those are:

  • Team Member Name: Grant and Shannon Jenks
  • Support ID Number: 11-9031

Visit in your web browser to make a donation online. Make checks payable to “Mission Year” and include our Support ID Number in the memo line. Donations are tax deductible.

Prayer Requests

  • That in these cold weather months we would feel motivated to continue pursuing relationships.
  • That more neighbors would come to our community suppers on Saturday evening.

Remembering Martin Luther King Jr.

By Shannon Jenks

This past Monday we celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. In the past MLK Day has been just a day off to me. I would maybe read an article about MLK and that was it. Living in Atlanta this year, MLK Day means so much more. MLK was born and raised in Atlanta. The Civil Rights Movement was headquartered in Atlanta. MLK is buried in Atlanta.  In Atlanta I can still see the racism that triggered the Civil Rights Movement, but I can also see signs that show how far we have come due to the leadership of this man. For instance, before the civil rights movement I would be unable to live in Peoplestown.  The other day I saw an older white man and an older black man walking down the street together, talking and laughing. We have made so much progress! But we still have some ways to go, especially in the south.

On Monday we went to the Martin Luther King March and Rally which ended at the MLK Memorial. Standing in front of MLK’s tomb we watched as a man recited the “I have a dream” speech to TV cameras. As I stood in front of his tomb I thought about how this man literally gave his life because of his belief in the equality and value of all people. His drive was fueled by his deep faith in the abiding love and power of Jesus. His belief in peaceful protest always reminds me of Jesus words: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.”

Here on Mission Year, MLK is one of our most inspiring role models. We are dedicated toward loving our neighbors, most of which are a different color than us. We are striving to show the poor, that despite their background, God loves them and values them for who they are. We partner with other organizations to fight the injustices that still persist in our neighborhood. We believe that Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream is one that’s worth fighting for.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial

We visited MLK’s tomb in Atlanta on MLK Day