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Grant and Shannon’s Mission Year Newsletter for March

Marta is Smarta

By Grant Jenks

Monday through Thursday, I wait about five to ten minutes for the bus to take me twenty minutes to downtown. Then again I wait about five minutes to catch a train that travels two stops to the station nearest my work. Then I walk half a mile to my office. The stations along my route are in the South and East parts of the city, the poorest areas. Along the way and at the stations, drugs, graffiti, and trash are common sights. The whole process takes about forty five to sixty minutes one way. In total, I’ll go about three miles. Atlanta calls this public service, Marta, with the slogan “Marta is smarta.” In exchange for unlimited use of this service, I pay a hundred dollars per month. There’s got to be a better way.

There is. I’ve started walking. Because I can choose the route, it’s safer. And at only three miles, it takes about the same amount of time with less stress and an unbeatable price.

Josh, too, has felt the burden of Marta with an even longer commute. He will travel with me by bus to the train station to catch a train to another bus. Bus, train, bus later he’s gone more than five miles by public transportation. When he reaches his office, he’ll be only two miles from home. Because he has cerebral palsy, the long walk is much more draining. He’d prefer to ride the bike he brought to Mission Year but there’s too much construction and no bike lanes. Regardless, he’s started walking too.

Josh and Debbie brought a car to Atlanta but we’ve a lot of rules from Mission Year about how to use it. MY is concerned about us remaining in solidarity with our neighbors, a kind of poverty simulation. But when I heard last week that J’s Family has been visiting their father in the hospital, I had to volunteer our car. I couldn’t imagine taking Marta home after seeing my father recovering from pneumonia. An occasion to drive them home last week also gave us the opportunity to pray with them.

My boss at work said that Atlanta waits to improve public transportation once more people start using it. But no one uses it because it’s just not that useful. For a lot of our neighbors, public service scenarios like that are a way of life.

debbie looking out window

Grant captures our roommate, Debbie, watching her husband, Josh, trying to catch the bus but ultimately missing it!

Praises & Requests

  • Grant’s parents were able to visit for Come and See Weekend near the end of February! It was wonderful to spend time with family!
  • Pray for Shannon as she tries to build relationships with the local elementary school. Communication has been spotty with the after school kids.
  • Pray for much needed rest and relaxation on our spring break.

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.

mission year saturday dinner

Saturday night community dinner with kids from the neighborhood. J and T LOVE to help Josh cook every week. T suggested that we cook homemade pizza. Great choice T!

mission year kite flying

Grant and I took J and T to the park for kite flying. J loved Grant’s nylon stunt kite and after just 15 minutes was swooping like a pro!

emmaus house sunday school

Every Sunday morning before church, Emmaus house provides breakfast for the kids in the chapel and then Debbie leads them in Sunday School. This has been a great way to get to know kids in our neighborhood.

shannon and clint piano practice

Here I am practicing for the Emmaus House chapel choir with Clint, a retired judge who has been a leader at Emmaus House Chapel for decades. (I’m not playing the piano. I’m just using it to make sure we start off on the right key.)

everyday missions leroy barber

Mission Year’s President, Leroy Barber, just released a new book called Everyday Missions! Buy it on and 5% of proceeds will go to Mission Year!