The following will be published in the upcoming Shalom Missions Communities newsletter.

In the midst of routine has come many exciting changes for the Lotus House community.  The winter, though cold at times, has brought many guests that have provided warmth and encouragement.  Sydney and Stella Warren, from the Bruderhof, spent about two months living in the ‘66 house and engaging in the life of our community, while also interacting with numerous individuals and faith communities across St. Louis.  They were a constant presence and fixture in our community, helping us put down a new 3rd floor in the ’66Syd-Stella dinner house and countless other small projects across the houses.  We thrived on many tasty meals and desserts prepared by their hands.  Hosting the SMC Coordinator’s meeting seemed very simple and painless, due to their presence and hospitality.  We were sad to say goodbye to them at the end of January, but remain grateful for the continuing development of our relationship with their community and the ways they have impacted our lives.

Last fall, a young man named Trevon re-emerged in our lives.  About six years ago, Trevon was a 13 year old who we worked with through the church’s tutoring program.  Trevon came to live with us in a relationship that felt challenged in so maTreny ways.  He stayed with us for about 6 months, before moving on.  Once or twice a year he would drop by the house and Candace would catch up with him.  Last fall, he returned “home.”  When he returned to us, he was already working to get his life back together, applying to get into St. Louis’s Job Corp program.  Tre moved back into the house and enlisted Candace’s help in getting him into the program.  In January, Tre was accepted into the program.  He is doing incredible things, but he has struggled with some of the program rules, which is weighing heavily on our hearts and prayers.

January was an exciting month for our community due to hosting the SMC Coordinators meeting.  Due to the smaller size of our community, we have not been able to host gatherings until now.   For several communities, this was their first time to visit the Lotus House.  We were thrilled to welcome our fellow SMC’ers, and the gathering was an incredible encouragement to our community as well.  We also look forward to additional visitors from our sister communities in the future.

We closed January  with our annual retreat to reflect on the year and our future.  We also spent some time reading and discussing David Janzen’s chapter on the art of wisdom-seeking conversation.

There are many individual transitions happening right now.  Daniel left his job of seven years in housing/mental health services after accepting an administrative position in a local medical school’s intellectual/developmental disability research center.   Stephen recently became engaged to a South Carolina belle named Emily (wedding May 21).  He and Emily will likely spend the summer in Germany if his language study application is approved, and then they will settle in St. Louis, but not as part of the house community.  James is also applying to a similar study program in Germany.  We continue to pray with Alden that his teaching options will expand, as he still has no guarantees that he can remain at SLU.

For the Basses and Daniel, who have been seeking a new church home, no decisions have been made yet, but both are feeling a little more sense of direction in where they may end up.  At this point, we are also still waiting on God to send us new community members, as we know that to sustain two houses, we will need God to provide us new members.