2017 Site Directors Gathering | Dallas, TX

QuadW mi site directors and members of the QuadW Foundation gathered for dinner Thursday night, September 21, at the home of Mac and Lisa Tichenor.  

QuadW mi site directors and members of the QuadW Foundation gathered for dinner Thursday night, September 21, at the home of Mac and Lisa Tichenor.  

This is the third QuadW Missional Internship site directors gathering.  And for the second year in a row we met in Dallas, TX.  Each year we gather to share stories of God's faithfulness, to work through challenges, to look ahead to what's next.  And bit by bit we find that this shared mission links us up to sisters and brothers we didn't know we had.  Relationships grow deeper, year after year... and we keep adding new people to the team.  

And this year we wanted to do what we could to not just get our work done, but to invest in and say "thank you" to our site directors... ALL of whom have other things that they do to make their living.  This is just something they do because of their sense of calling and the joy they find in walking w/ young adults into God's mission in the world.  

So, this year, we brought in a couple of people to share with us over the two days.  Tim Catchim came on Thursday to share about the Enneagram and Amber Benson, professor at SMU to share about how to connect with, support, challenge and engage Generation Z (our interns for the next several years).  These presentations and the conversation that ensured were rich and insightful in a way that had obvious and direct connection to our common work w/ QuadW mi... but beyond that, we learned a lot about ourselves and who God made us to be.  For many of us, in the conversation about Gen Z we were learning about our children and many we know and love and serve along side of in a variety of ministry contexts.  

In addition to seeing familiar faces once again, we were so happy to welcomed Chessie Lee (Riverton, WY) and Tiwirayi and Adlene  Kufarimai (Birmingham and Anniston, AL) to the team.  They will be launching our 3 new sites in summer 2018.  They jumped right in and by the end of our time together were clearly a part of the QuadW mi family!  

And (as pictured above) we enjoyed time with several of the QuadW Foundation Board Members for dinner at Mac and Lisa Tichenor's home.  The QuadW Missional Internship would not exist without the Foundations vision and generosity.  Time spent with them is always a gift, and as I said above, it allows us to see the way that we've been made a part of a family that is bigger and more expansive and more beautiful than we could have thought.  

We are grateful to God for this time spent together!  

Intern Spotlight - Tanaka Pfupajena

When l first signed up for QuadW, l had just come from an overseas mission trip that would shift my sense of mission and who God is among the people. After this mission trip, l was so excited to live the missional-intentional  life in my classroom, at work and in everything. However, it wasn’t before long, that l shrunk back to the norm, going to class and work, with little to no regard for God’s work among the people. I found myself asking, what does it even look like to be missional daily, and not just overseas. I looked up opportunities where l could learn this form of life. This is when QuadW entered the picture.

Instead of going overseas again, l signed up for QuadW that summer (2014) because l wanted to learn what it looks like to be as missional as l was overseas, here in the states. (QuadW also offered a living stipend which meant l didn’t have to worry about the funds for this mission).

Doing missions with QuadW, l quickly found out that God’s mission in the world does not look as neat as l had thought it out to be. In fact, QuadW has taught me that being sent to people and with people is usually, and l am beginning to believe it’s by design, messy. QuadW challenges however, that instead of looking for the neat and well cut out, God invites us to be involved in the messy every day.

"... instead of looking for the neat and well cut out, God invites us to be involved in the messy every day."

Mission in America differs from most overseas mission trips in that America is probably the most culturally and racially diverse place in the world. In this, you find that the needs look radically different from person to person. QuadW has allowed me to experience being sent out to different people groups. In my three years, l have been able to work intensively with African American, Hispanics and white people. This, l believe has prepared me to live more intentionally in this diverse culture.

Having a passion for missions, while holding a couple of degrees in Biochemistry, I had always struggled with regarding the former as holier than the latter. Experience with QuadW, especially the Friday experiences where we explored different on going ministries has allowed me to see that God’s mission is, as Os Guinness says, for everyone, everywhere and in everything. So while missions and lab work remained distinct, now l see that God is intimately involved in the whole thing.

In light of all these experiences, l believe QuadW has been a vehicle God has used for me to realize God’s calling in this life. I am currently working on seminary school applications, with the intention of becoming a better equipped missionary and church planter, and hopefully while l am at it, l will be able to plant a church in a laboratory while researching on drug discovery and cures for diseases that plague our world. 

Tanaka Pfupajena (the "P" is silent) currently lives in Dallas, TX.  He is a graduate of Eastern New Mexico University (bachelor and master degrees!)  He has served as a QuadW interns 3 times - Montgomery AL in 2014, Opelika AL in 2016 (where he was the RA) and this last summer as a part of the Dallas team.  

Tanaka Pfupajena (the "P" is silent) currently lives in Dallas, TX.  He is a graduate of Eastern New Mexico University (bachelor and master degrees!)  He has served as a QuadW interns 3 times - Montgomery AL in 2014, Opelika AL in 2016 (where he was the RA) and this last summer as a part of the Dallas team.  

Jakaela's Journey

We asked former QuadW intern and multi-year site director, Jakaela Davis, to share a bit about her journey and the ways God has used QuadW mi to be a part of that.  You can keep up with her on her new blog... www.jakaela.wordpress.com

But for now check this out... 

Jakaela Davis is beginning work on her Masters of Divinity at Duke this fall and is pursuing a call toward ordained ministry in the United Methodist Church.  

Jakaela Davis is beginning work on her Masters of Divinity at Duke this fall and is pursuing a call toward ordained ministry in the United Methodist Church.  

Tell me how many summers you've been a part of QuadW and where and in what role/capacity? 

So I have been a part of the QuadW Missional Internship for 5 years and each year has been simply amazing. The first two years I was in Mobile as an intern and the second year I returned as an RA. My third year I helped start up the site in Portland as the RA. Last summer and this past summer I was the Site Director in Dallas, TX.

In all that you've done and experienced through QuadW what would you say is the biggest/most important thing you've learned? 

The biggest and most important thing that I have learned throughout my years working with QuadW is that, no matter what, you have to be vulnerable and open to the idea that sometimes you will be uncomfortable... and that's okay. I have learned that being transparent is also big component to the work that I am doing through QuadW. Transparency is one of those words that causes us to cringe but its also a word that causes me to reflect upon my journey and I ask myself how have I been true and honest with myself and with those around me.

Year two in Dallas just wrapped up - How did it build upon year one's work and team?  How did it feel like something completely new and different from last year?  What was most exciting about this summer?  What was the most challenging piece of the summer for the Dallas team?

Year 2 in Dallas went great and I am excited about what God has in store in Dallas for the future. Last year in Dallas went well and I believe it was only the beginning. This year in Dallas, you can definitely tell that the foundation that was laid last year was a solid one filled with a rich love that was developed throughout the summers. One of the best things that has happened this past summer is that the day camp kids' parents volunteered for our meals because they wanted to give something back to us out of the kindness of their hearts.

This group of interns continued to build upon the relationships that were made and though we only had two returners, the kids immediately loved on the new and returning interns.

One thing that was challenging for me was that the interns did a great job teaching the different classes for the day camp, but when it came to living in community things got a little hard. We came together for dinners, group discussions, and weekly Friday experiences, but beyond those moments people were a little distant. Living in Christian community can be difficult, but I believe it be done.

In what ways has QuadW been a part of your discerning God's call to ministry and leading you to be a student at Duke Divinity this fall?

QuadW has helped me discern my call into ministry in so many ways. It was actually during my first summer as a Site Director in Dallas, I was laying down in my bed and the thought came of "what if I am called into ministry?" and I immediately answered with a "okay God I hear you and I am ready". I knew that God had called me into ministry but I was ignoring my call because I honestly didn't believe that I could be called. Throughout my years in Quad W, Tuskegee Wesley Foundation (as a student leader), Auburn Wesley Foundation (as an intern), and just years within the United Methodist Church, I have had years of confirmation and affirmation from various people. I am so excited to be a certified candidate within the UMC, as well as a first year div student.

Coming out of another summer of QuadW Dallas and now on the campus of Duke - what is God teaching you most about right now?

First of all being here at Duke is simply a wild dream coming to reality, I pinch myself every morning lol. In all honesty, being here in the now, God is teaching me to "Be still and know that he is God", truthfully God is teaching me to just "BE". To stop worrying about the when and how, but to simply just BE in the NOW.

Now What?

Today our last two QuadW mi sites wrap up - Portland and Riverside.  And just like that nearly 80 young adults walk out of an intense 8 week summer experience in which they were challenged at every turn: pushed beyond their level of comfort and understanding, sharing life w/ other interns from different backgrounds and life experience, investing deeply in mission contexts that put them in relationship w/ people they may otherwise never have had the chance to know, learn from, love.  To ask questions about who they are, who God has made them to be, what God is calling them to do, how are they sent.  

Last day of camp for the 2017 QuadW mi Elkhart team

Last day of camp for the 2017 QuadW mi Elkhart team

And now, even before they have had a chance to really work through and process all that they have seen and felt and experience of God and themselves and others, they are headed back to their college campuses, home churches, families, etc.  

And it will be a transition, to say the least.  

So now our work is to support them and keep in touch w/ them, to help them to figure out what's next.  To help them as their prayer is, "Now what?"  So we ask you to join us in praying for our interns... especially if you know some of them.  Pray for them that they would feel sent by God to the place where they are now/will be this fall semester.  Pray that they'll find or start christian community there that they can be on mission w/ in that place.  Pray that they'll find ways of continuing to reflect on and work out the things that God stirred up in them over the summer.  Pray that they'll be gracious w/ themselves when it doesn't go like they hoped or expected, when it is harder than they thought, when the patterns of life that they knew before are stronger than they are.  Pray for courage to do the hard things, to take the next steps, to say "yes" to what they sense God calling them to do/be now.  


Young Clergy Initiative Grant Awarded to the QuadW Missional Internship!

Our National Director, Don Woolley, works hard to champion the mission of QuadW and to find good partners and resources for that mission. And so we're very happy to be able to share this with you...

The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry has awarded the QuadW Missional Internship a $60,000 "Young Clergy Initiative" grant. This grant will launch partnerships in Conferences not already served by QuadW Missional interns. Plans are developing to launch three new sites in 2018--two in the North Alabama Conference and one on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. The QuadW Missional Internship is grateful to the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry for this opportunity, and looks forward to helping young adults listen for, discern, and respond to God's calling to ordained ministry!  


QuadW Columbus interns circle for prayer w/ others in the community 

QuadW Columbus interns circle for prayer w/ others in the community 

The Enneagram + Christian Community

Today's post comes from Josh Shepherd - site director of QuadW Kansas City.  Josh and his wife, Tricia live in the KC Mission House w/ the QuadW interns as well as those who live there on a more long-term basis.  You can find out more about the KC Mission House HERE.  In today's post Josh shares about an ancient tool called the Enneagram and how they make use of it to help open up to God's transforming work in themselves and to live generously and gracefully with one another.  We are so grateful who Josh is and for the work he is engaged in, in KC.  Enjoy! 

Here at Mission House in Kansas City, Kansas, we live in permanent Christian community. Our work with QuadW means we also have a steady influx of short-term guests. These guests — sometimes also called “interns” — come from diverse backgrounds. I’d be hard-pressed to name a demographic we haven’t had the honor of sharing life with. What they all have in common, though, is a professed desire for formation in the missionary ways of Christ and His people.

This is a broad goal, and we are constantly tweaking not only the resources we use, but even the categories of skills and capacities we are seeking to develop. One of the constants from the beginning, though, has been the facilitation of a greater understanding of both one’s self and one’s neighbors. One of the most helpful tools towards this end has been the Enneagram. 

Doing the Enneagram in community is an inherently vulnerable experience because it seeks to point out the often-hidden motivations behind our false self, what the Christian tradition simply calls “sin”. Based on the idea that all sin emerges from three fundamental distortions — anger, shame, and fear — Enneagram breaks these down into 9 root sins and assigns a number type one through nine (with additional nuance that I will not get into here for the sake of brevity). These root sins are: anger, pride, deceit, envy, greed, fear, gluttony, lust, and laziness. While we are all affected by each of these sins, the Enneagram is based on the notion that we each face a particular stronghold in one of the nine areas. This stronghold is the particular area of sin that constantly seems to plague us, is resistant to breakthrough despite much effort, and is our secret motivation behind much of what we do — even when we think we are doing good.

But the Enneagram is not just about revelation. It is also about transformation. This dynamic aspect of the Enneagram is what makes it different from most other typologies. It is not just self-awareness we are after, but a pathway to growth. Each Enneagram type contains both arrows of growth/integration and arrows of regression/disintegration. These arrows help us know which types to learn from and imitate on our way to transcending our current strongholds, as well as which directions we tend to go when we are at our worst.

We ask our long-term participants and guests to go deeper than simply seeking to understand their own types. We want everyone to have a grasp of the entire system in order to better understand the people around them. The reason for this is that we are often frankly too judgmental and dismissive of others when we don’t take time to understand the possible underlying reasons or personal values that motivate them to do what they do. Understanding goes a long way towards the creation of community, and it is very hard to be dismissive of the false self next to you when your own false self is being revealed in the process.

Of course, there are possible dangers. For one, we don’t do this for purposes of condemnation or shame at all. Sufficient Gospel groundwork should be in place, and reminders of the all-encompassing grace of God are important for even experienced Christians. But this is not a grace that leaves us where we are. God’s grace fuels transformation, and the Enneagram is simply a tool we can choose to use to uncover areas where this transformative grace is needed.

Another caution is that some younger adults are still very early in the process of understanding their identities at all. When I look back on all the masks and disguises of my late teens and early 20s, I see how difficult it would have been to deal with my false self when I had so little clue as to my real self. Once I saw sin as a stain on my sure identity in Christ, I was freer to deal with my own hidden motivations without being completely confused and lost as to who I am. Practically, we use other typologies (such as Myers-Briggs) that are more about what we are good at and what our preferences are. When used in conjunction with gift-based typologies, the Enneagram helps give a fuller picture of all the good, the bad, and the ugly that comprises our human personality both in light of the inherent goodness of creation as well as the devastating disruption of the fall. 

Lastly, mature Christians will understand that a typology is simply a tool and in no way describes the sum total of who any of us is. That said, younger Christians are rightly concerned about being labeled and “put into boxes”. I take time to clarify the reasonable limitations of typologies, and keep a fairly open-handed posture about what we are hoping to accomplish with any typology we use. If someone still has serious reservations about the Enneagram, I wouldn’t see any point in pushing it on them. That’s yet to occur, but I have had to be careful about not making young adults feel as though any typology is deterministic or fatalistic about who they are or who they are becoming. The good news is that the Enneagram is one tool clearly designed to help us grow into a fuller humanity in Christ, rather than simply leaving us where we are.



Internship Essentials - Liminality

All our sites are under way!  

QuadW Missional Interns in Opelika at welcome dinner on their behalf as they begin their summer of living and serving together

QuadW Missional Interns in Opelika at welcome dinner on their behalf as they begin their summer of living and serving together

One of the things that happens to each team as they begin to get to know one another and jump into the opportunities set before them to get know and serve among those in need is that our interns find themselves placed in situations that are a stretch to them, uncomfortable to them, new to them.  Sometimes this has as its focus the ministry sites, sometimes it centers around the experience of living w/ a handful of other people from various backgrounds... Sometimes its BOTH of those things at once!  

But this experience of being pulled outside our depth is essential to what we hope for each of our QuadW Missional Interns.  We call it liminality.  When we are moved out of what we have known and where we are comfortable and where we feel like we know how it all works and begin to venture into something new and different... that space is liminal space.  And we think that it is THE context that God uses, again and again, to call forth new faith, hope and love in us.

The image that the word liminal evokes is one of moving from one room or space, through a door way into another, new and further room or space... its moving from what has been into what will be, from who you have been to who you will be.  And while it hopefully stirs in you a sense of hope and excitement for what may be, it will for sure feel disorienting and like those growing pains you had when you were 12 years old.  

We want each of our interns to know that this is an essential part of following the way of Jesus... not just once... but again and again in our lives.  And the eight weeks of the internship works as a kind of catalyst to opening us up to this part of life w/ Jesus.  If that can happen in the lives of each intern, we are very grateful and feel they will move on from QuadW mi w/ eyes and ears and hearts all the more attuned to how God is at work in and around them, how they are called and sent to be a part of God's work of making all things new!  


Summer 2017 is HERE!

Our Pine Bluff site is off and running.  Elkhart starts today, a few others will be rolling by the end of the week and then by the end of the first full week in June we'll have around 80 young adults living and serving in 10 communities across the US.  

Please join us in praying for the intern teams as they come together... that  they would be one w/ Christ, one w/ each other, and one in mission and ministry in and among their communities and neighbors.  

Pine Bluff QuadW mi 2017 Team - Getting started w/ a weekend away for team building and sharing w/ one another as they begin a summer of living and serving!  Thankful for Pastor Natasha's leadership and deep investment!! 

Pine Bluff QuadW mi 2017 Team - Getting started w/ a weekend away for team building and sharing w/ one another as they begin a summer of living and serving!  Thankful for Pastor Natasha's leadership and deep investment!! 

Intern Interview - Braxton Bush

We'll have a new edition of the QuadW mi Newsletter rolling out in just a few days!  In the meantime here's an interview conversation Tony had w/ QuadW mi Dallas Intern - Braxton Bush.  Check it out... 

Braxton Bush is 22 years old and a Senior at Tuskegee University studying Psychology.  He served in QuadW Dallas last summer and will be returning to serve there again this summer.  We’re grateful for Braxton’s leadership and passion to serve… and that he took time to do this interview with Tony!  

Braxton Bush is 22 years old and a Senior at Tuskegee University studying Psychology.  He served in QuadW Dallas last summer and will be returning to serve there again this summer.  We’re grateful for Braxton’s leadership and passion to serve… and that he took time to do this interview with Tony!  

T: Share a story of an interaction or conversation that has stuck with you. 

B: Getting to know the kids over the summer, I gave them nick-names based on the best parts of their character and the potential I saw in them.  I wanted to help them to see that in themselves and to know how God saw them and loved them.  Seeing the way this made them so happy - this really sticks with me, how I can make a difference.   

T: What would you say was the hardest but most rewarding part of the QuadW mi experience?  

B: Coming together and living together with interns from all over with different backgrounds and experiences and having to learn how to let the mission and gaol of sharing God’s love with the kids.  That was challenging, but really powerful to get to see how we could come together.   

T: During the summer that you were together we witnessed the shooting of several African American men across the country and the shooting of police officers right there in Dallas.  What was it like for you to experience that together as an intern team? 

B: For me personally - as an African American, and as a human being, it was something where I felt like, even though I wasn’t there for the civil rights movement, it was like we continue to experience the strife of that and I feel how important it is for me and for all of us. 

T: How has QuadW mi helped to shape your understanding of what it means to be the church or to be a Christian? 

B: It’s about going out, discipling people where they are.  We ARE the church!  We have to build the bridge to the community.  I think I just saw how big that is for so many churches - to remember that!  The church is the people who go out, not the building.   

T: What is something you took with you from your summer with QuadW mi? 

B: A spirit of humbleness.  To learn not to judge a book by its cover, not to judge too quickly just when a situation doesn’t look like you thought it would.  Don’t doubt God just cause something is different than you thought it would be.  Look for God’s purpose right there.  Look for God’s meaning in it.  And this helps you to be able to live and enjoy life now and the people God puts around you.  

T: How has the QuadW mi helped you with your sense of calling?  

B: I’ve been doing youth ministry for about 6 years now.  Through the summer I gained more passion and energy for sharing the gospel and for wanting to be in people’s lives to make a difference.  Once this summer I was given the chance to preach in front of the Spanish speaking congregation there in Dallas.  I don’t speak Spanish, so I was nervous about how people would receive the message, receive the words God had given me.  But afterwards this guy, I’d say he was in his 50’s, came up to me and told me that he was really grateful for the word and that when he grew up he wanted to be like me.  And that just blew me away.  Here’s this guy twice my age and he saw in me wisdom and maturity that he wanted. And so I think for me its really about getting beyond my place of comfort and letting God keep doing work in new areas of my life.    

Moving Into the Neighborhood

Our QuadW mi partners in Elkhart, IN at Lifeline Youth Ministries shares the story of how they continue the long, slow, difficult and beautifully transformative work of seeing the gospel be embodied and take root in a place.  We are so thankful for Darrell and Caleb and their team there... it's a gift to have such good friends and partners as we bear witness to God's work of making all things new!  


New QuadW Site - Riverside, CA

We are excited for the beginning of a new partnership and a new QuadW mi site for the summer of 2017 - Riverside, CA.  Riverside is located outside of LA.  Our partners there are Alfredo and Carrie Cesar. They met in Dallas atPerkins School of Theology over 30 years ago and are now Pastors at Arlington United Methodist Church, in the Riverside community.  

Carrie & Alfredo Cesar  - QuadW Riverside  Site Directors

Carrie & Alfredo Cesar  - QuadW Riverside
Site Directors

They have a long history of working with families, blending missional style, spiritual growth and community development.  Their call to be a part of God's mission in the world has led them to serve in Mexico, Denver, Phoenix, Long Beach, Garden Grove, and now Riverside.  They have been in ministry in a variety of different ways!  The Cesars are dedicated to helping families in the Riverside-Arlington community to practice Christ’s teachings of loving God and loving others. They have helped the Arlington UMC turn an old but charming education building into a second home for the neighborhood. It is a community family center called “The Heart & Soul House”. 

The family center hosts events and classes for all ages.  This will be the primary place of mission and ministry for the QuadW interns serving there this summer.  

We are filled with gratitude for the ways God lets us partner with such gifted and passionate disciples of Jesus as the Cesars!

QuadW 9 Month Residency in KC

Here, Josh Shepherd, QuadW KC Site Director shares about the development and goals of the 9 month residency opportunity that he and his wife Tricia lead...

QuadW KC Residency Team - minus Josh :) 

QuadW KC Residency Team - minus Josh :) 

At Mission House in Kansas City, we started out in 2013 with the idea that we are to be a little Christian community, frequently inviting young people to come learn with us for a season about following Jesus in mission. Shortly afterwards, we hosted our first QuadW Summer Internship, and began experiencing firsthand how rewarding — and challenging — this work can be. At the same time and because of our situation as a permanent Christian community in a large urban house, we knew this would be a year-round cause for us, including the internship and extending beyond it.

So we began the concept of a 9-month residential training program following the shape and purpose of the 8-week internships. Now in our 4th year, we have partnered with and are receiving all kinds of wonderful support from the QuadW Foundation, so that what was once the Mission House Residency has been re-dubbed as the QuadW Residency. This re-naming is appropriate in several ways. For one thing, it calls attention to how the purposes of the Residency mirror the purposes of the Internship. For another, it continues to honor the legacy of Willie and the Tichenor family, who have gone to such incredible lengths to ensure opportunities for young adults to learn and be formed through an extended and dedicated time of Christian missional service.

This year, we are working closely with Don Woolley to build a Residency with appropriate structure and intentionality, so that everyone is on the same page about the different expectations and roles of our Residents and long-term community members. The basic requirement of the Residency is for everyone to live together in Christian community while committing a portion of our weekly hours (15-20) to local mission. Our goal is for this local mission to always be incarnational and vocational. Incarnational means that it responds to the actual situation around us in culturally and socially appropriate ways. Vocational means that we help our Residents go beyond volunteerism to find their own true calling from the Lord, and how this calling intersects with the gifts and needs of our actual neighbors.

One of our Residents, Morgan, is working with local leaders of color and police officers to understand the unique racial challenges present in our community. Her own experience as a young Black woman raised in a rural community has prompted her to seek out a deeper understanding of racial reconciliation and to apply it to her everyday life. Another Resident, Katie, recently finished an undergraduate degree in Cross-Cultural Studies, and has begun working with a local legal aid office to learn how to support immigrants and refugees in tangible, practical ways. She recently completed a certificate program allowing her to offer limited legal advice and assistance to immigrants in need. And there are many of those in our neighborhood and community.

These are just two concrete examples of the kinds of work our Residents pursue, while we make it our business to contribute to their ongoing formation as disciples of Jesus Christ. Together as a house, we worship, pray, and do other spiritual rhythms together, as we go about the often counter-cultural challenges of living as a Christian community. It is our hope that as we seek to be a powerful witness to our neighborhood that we will also continue to have many opportunities to invite young adults into this work. For it is only in the course of missional action that we learn what is really means to be sent as missionaries to wherever we are.

Written by Josh Shepherd.  Josh and Tricia live in the Mission House and are the site leaders of QuadW KC and lead the 9 mo. residency

Written by Josh Shepherd.  Josh and Tricia live in the Mission House and are the site leaders of QuadW KC and lead the 9 mo. residency

Gratitude + Mission

Don Woolley - Founder and National Director of the QuadW Missional Internship - reflects on summer 2016 with Gratitude for all God is doing... 

By the grace of God, the QuadW Missional Internship continues to grow across the country.  This summer, 86 interns served in nine sites, partnering with 63 different churches and organizations to serve over 2700 people. Wow!  In every way, it was an amazing year.
While I’m pleased with these numbers, what excites me most is the depth of transformation that happens in the lives of interns and those with whom they worked and served. Through this challenging experience, interns begin to see themselves and others in a new way. They come to understand their faith and the Church in terms of God’s mission in the world. And along the way, friendships are formed that will last a lifetime. None of this would have happened without the faithful perseverance of interns, strong leadership at each Site, and the generosity of those who gave of their resources and time.  

We are especially grateful for the QuadW Foundation of Dallas. They took a chance on us nine years ago, and continue to encourage us with their ongoing support.

 Thank you to everyone who worked so hard, and gave so much to make 2016 our best year yet!  

We are so grateful for Don's leadership and vision!  And now we join him in turning our attention toward what is out ahead of us!  The mission continues to develop, take root, reach further and deeper.  We have opportunities for more than 100 college-age young adults to live and serve in our 10 sites across the US.  And our 2017 APPS ARE NOW AVAILABLE!  

Join in God's mission of making ALL things NEW! 


Today's post comes from QuadW Kansas City intern, Lexi Smith.  Lexi is a sophomore at Auburn University, from Wichita, KS.  I asked her to share a mid-way point reflection on her time serving in KC & living in the Mission House.  Check it out... 

A little more than halfway through the internship- it’s been quite the adventure.

During our week we primarily work with two organizations: Avenue of Life and The Urban Farming Guys. Tuesdays and Thursdays we are leading a kids’ camp. We are split up with different subjects and age groups- I am with about ten children aged 8-12. We eat our meals with the kids, we do projects with them, encourage them to memorize Scripture, and love on them in any way we can. The other days we are working at an urban farm. A lot of our work consists of harvesting various vegetables and fruits, weeding, planting, watering, washing, weighing, and bagging produce. We get to be outside and get our hands dirty and bless the farm manager, Anna (who is 6 months pregnant).

Urban Farming Guys Garden

Urban Farming Guys Garden

On the weekends, we have a group discussion about our Gospel readings for the week, and on Mondays we meet with our accountability and mentor groups, as well as reflect over our online content and week. I absolutely love that everything we do here is focused on living in community. It’s been challenging in ways I expected as well as ways I didn’t expect, but it’s pushed me to love in the face of annoyances, growth through discomfort and stretching, and closer to the heart of God. I love that I get to interact with a diverse group of people, hear different opinions, learn from other’s experiences, and do life with some awesome people who are pursuing God in ways that make me long to deepen my own relationship with Him. It’s certainly not easy or always fun, but it’s been challenging in ways that draw me into a better understanding of others and myself. I’ve learned how God feels about me, how He is at work, and what it means to pursue Him.

KC Mission House - where interns live & serve together

KC Mission House - where interns live & serve together

By this point in the internship, the glamour of my expectations for the summer have definitely worn off, but I feel like I’m in a place where though I feel incredibly challenged and oftentimes exhausted, God is working in me.   

- Lexi Smith

Lexi Smith - and some tomatoes from the garden

Lexi Smith - and some tomatoes from the garden

Spotlight on a QuadW Partner - Kansas City, Kansas Mission House

[Over the next few posts you'll hear from Josh Shepherd, who leads our QuadW Kansas City efforts and who, along with his wife, Tricia, lives in Christian community WITH our QuadW interns and others who are involved in the work God is doing in and through the Mission House.  Listen to Josh share the story of God weaving together this beautiful Kingdom work....] 

Our Story & The Mission House Story: The Intersection

The house that is now Mission House was built in 1910 near downtown Kansas City, Kansas. Today, the surrounding community is multi-cultural, consisting mostly of a Hispanic/Latino population. Next is a large African-American community, while several blocks away are large clusters of refugee communities, mostly from Bhutan and Burma. Many refugees also live close to the Mission House, and their presence is a welcome and vibrant contribution to the recently-waning vitality of our neighborhood. I want to share a little about how we came to live here, at an address that often elicits puzzled looks from locals in-the-know, but one in which we happily call home.

I always start with Sam McCord, because it all was started by Sam McCord. By the time Sam, a fellow white guy in his early 30s like me, stepped inside the house ten years ago, it had been abandoned for years and was a home for raccoons. A KCK resident by birth, Sam first had the dream of opening a Mission House as a training center for young people to come and live together and serve the local community. So he bought the house for $30,000 and with the support of a large suburban congregation called Westside Family Church, he invested $90,000 in the renovation with the conviction that it would one day be filled by young people on a transformational journey together. Before that dream could be realized, Sam and his new wife had to move out for reasons beyond their control. The house sat empty once again, and the Mission House vision was in peril.

This was in 2012. At that time, I didn’t know what was next for me, having recently transitioned from my work on staff at a large suburban Methodist church. My mandate there had been to “reach young adults”, a task that I pursued wholeheartedly at a time when my generation was leaving the church in droves. This effort meant trying to understand what exactly it would mean to reach a younger generation, and why exactly they were leaving. Did reaching them mean convincing them to attend our weekly worship gatherings, or was there something much deeper at the heart of their departure? Through sustained observation and careful reading, I began to suspect that trendy buildings and better coffee were not the answer to the question that I now knew would be central to my life’s work.

During that time, I had the opportunity to lead many “mission trips” to places ranging from Galveston to Guatemala. On these trips, I saw first-hand how action and service made young people come alive in ways I had never witnessed in the events and classes it was my job to promote. I, too, was changed — especially by Guatemala — and began learning Spanish after realizing the tragedy of not being able to communicate with Guatemalans or the millions of Spanish-speakers back home.

Of course, my wife, Tricia was already way ahead of me. She had earned a Spanish degree in college long before she met me, and was already working exclusively with Spanish-speaking families in the Parents as Teachers program. Her cross-cultural passion and enthusiasm for this work was something I’d always admired about her, but it was only when I took to learning Spanish that I began to understand the nature of our shared call. Now, Tricia and I both love and live for engaging with the many cultures of Latin American and Hispanic people. I realize the danger of such a broad comment, but it’s the only way I know to speak of this cross-cultural passion that seems to have emerged from our relationship together. We see this passion as the work of God in our lives, and now seek actively to embody it in the concrete reality of our daily lives together.

Josh & Tricia Shepherd - Mission House Leaders & QuadW KC Site Directors

Josh & Tricia Shepherd - Mission House Leaders & QuadW KC Site Directors

Eventually, we joined a Spanish-speaking Methodist congregation, which is our church to this day. And we began exploring more and more the nature of our shared vocation and where that might lead us. One night in particular in 2012, we sat at the table for a serious conversation. Our suburban apartment lease would be up soon, and we wanted to be as thoughtful and specific as possible about where we should live. Before us was the simple question of where our combined gifts, talents, and passions would most align with the community around us. We knew there was important work to be done in the suburbs, but acknowledged that we were not naturally suited to it. So at that table we began to articulate with specificity what such a place might look like — agreeing that it would ideally be urban, economically poor, and mostly Hispanic. Knowing many neighborhoods like that around Kansas City, but not sure which specific one was for us, we said a prayer and left it at that.

One week later, two mentors of mine, who now serve on our board, shared with me about the Mission House vacancy. They sensed it might be a perfect fit for Tricia and I, and encouraged us to consider moving in and continuing Sam’s work there. I immediately agreed, and after 5 minutes on the phone with Tricia, so did she. As a result, we moved to the Mission House in September, 2012, not exactly sure what would happen, but committing to take one step at a time together in our new place.

It is now three years later, and we have since lived with around 50 college-aged and other assorted folks, for as little as 8 weeks and as long as 2 1/2 years. Our housemates have been White, Black, Hispanic, Bhutanese refugees, African students, Brazilian, Trinidadian, and Asian-American. Much of this diversity is largely thanks to our partnership with QuadW, which began about 6 months after we moved into the Mission House. I cannot stress enough how providentially aligned our lives and our callings now seem to be. It is not easy by any means, but living with and seeking personally transformational opportunities for such a diverse and international group of young people is simply our sweet spot together.

And because of this, what we are doing has never been just about the summers. Where we live, there are year-round opportunities for mutually-transformational service work, and we have structured our lives and the Mission House organization around this permanent endeavor. In addition to the incredibly fruitful 8-week summer internships, we offer a 9-month residential program with content mirroring that of the internships, as well as opportunities for the right people to commit even longer-term.

Where Are They Now... (part 3 of 3)

Earlier this month we heard from Wes & Charsy Anderson about their personal experience serving as QuadW (3.0) interns.  First we heard from Charsy, then from Wes.  Today they share w/ us, in their own words, a bit about what's happening with them now & how what began w/ QuadW continues to play out in their lives and ministries...  

On June 29, 2013 we got married. It was in my 3rd summer (Wes), and my 1st summer (Charsy) at Quad W that we had met. We now live in DeFuniak Springs, FL where I (Wes) serve as Student Minister at First Methodist Church, and where I (Charsy) serve as a reading tutor at West DeFuniak Elementary school. We have just moved into our first home, and are expecting the arrival of Laila Grace Anderson in early April.

Our lives were turned upside down by the Quad W internship, and not just because we met each other, although we definitely feel like that was a plus! The relationships that we built while serving as interns have lasted the test of time. Half of our wedding party was made up of interns, all of our mentors were at the wedding, and two of them officiated the ceremony. We still keep in contact with some of the kids we served, and have seen some of them go on to go to college, have babies, and get jobs serving others in Jesus' name.

The Quad W internship has been the single most transformative experience of our lives. Because of our 5 summers serving as interns (combined), our theology, perspective, and understanding of different cultures has been reshaped and informed. Through our experiences as a part of the program we were both recalibrated around the person of Jesus, and the life that he call us to live, and are doing our best to live in the messiness of that calling each day. The challenges of being an intern caused our faiths to grow like never before, and there is no experience we would recommend to college students more highly. Above, Charsy wrote that she applied to be an intern with Quad W because she “wanted to do something that mattered”. Because of Quad W, we did, we have, and we are.