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Grant and Shannon have moved to Atlanta, GA

What’s Peoplestown Like?

On September 1st we had the opportunity to visit Atlanta and the neighborhood we’ll be living in, called Peoplestown. The neighborhood is in some ways different than the stark concrete jungle I’m accustomed to seeing in movies about the inner city. There are plenty of trees and grass around. The houses are rather cute for the most part. But at closer look you discover that while pretty in a way, many houses are in disrepair and surprisingly a large percentage are boarded up. The neighborhood is not diverse by any means. From what I could see it’s 100% black. That is until we moved in. When we got off the bus at the corner where we’ll be living we overheard someone say. “Do they KNOW where they’re going?” Another thing that stands out to us is the amount of litter on the sidewalks. It’s ridiculous! Either these people don’t value themselves and their environment or the people walking through the neighborhood on their way to/from the nearby Braves baseball stadium don’t seem to value them. We did find that people are VERY friendly. They are quick to say, “Hi, how y’all doin’?” with a smile on their faces. We hope this will help us as we make friends with our neighbors. As crime goes, Peoplestown does not have high incidences of violent crime. There is a lot of theft though so we have a simple solution. Don’t have anything of value. There isn’t much in terms of stores. There is a Laundromat, a few convenience stores and one grocery with not much selection. It doesn’t seem like much but we’re really excited to call this neighborhood OURS.

Fundraising Update

We are thankful as we see the financial support of friends and family in both donations and pledges. Your generosity has carried us to 97% of our personal goal. We hope that within the next month, we’ll raise another five hundred dollars to be fully funded for the year. Thank you for your support.

Mission Year raises support city-wide. So whatever support we can raise above our personal goal will go toward our teammates in Atlanta. As we raise funds together, we bond over the shared experience. Though we may soon reach our personal goal, we invite and encourage you to give so that our whole team in Atlanta could be focused this year on community outreach and service.

Last week, I worked feverishly with the help of friends to develop a website to raise funds for Mission Year. We’re excited to announce “Good Shoppr” at . (There’s no typo there.) Good Shoppr is an affiliate that donates 5% of all sales to Mission Year. All purchases happen through so you get fast shipping, secure billing, and reliable returns.

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.

Reflections on Orientation

At the start of September, we traveled to Chicago for our Mission Year orientation. This week-long trip served to equip and excite us about the year. The experience was a whirlwind tour of diverse topics ranging from theological support for community to practical cross-cultural do’s and don’ts. Though we left feeling encouraged, the start of it was a bit rough.

Rather quickly Shannon and I felt a bit out of place. There are seventy of us participating this year in cities across the nation. Most are in their early twenties, single, soon out of college, and non-engineer/science types. As a Software Developer and Chemistry Teacher, we found few immediate connections with people.

To be sure, everyone was friendly and we found plenty to talk about. Obviously our presence at Mission Year orientation meant we had a lot in common.

But as we were encouraged and I began to see what we were really giving up, I searched for a vision. I wanted to know, at a twenty-thousand-foot view, what I was doing in Peoplestown and how I was going to do it. I found it.

The gospel that we carry to Peoplestown is simple: You have value. To the poor, the minority, the marginalized, even the criminal, we hope to communicate: You have value. So much of the gospel is contained therein.

And we carry that message in the most mundane of ways: we do our laundry at the laundromat alongside them; we ride the bus with them; we endure the trash on the streets and the bars on the windows with them. We live with them. We will share meals with them. We will share life together.

And so did Jesus, our God incarnate. He lived that we might know our value and so shared life with us.