December 30, 2020
During the holidays, I have the habit of looking back through all of my photos, and apparently, I really like sunrises and sunsets. Scrolling through my photos you would notice a whole lot more pictures of the sky compared to everything else. My guess is that I am not the only one. Within each of us is an awe around sunsets and sunrises. When you see one it is hard not to stop and soak in God’s handiwork on display.
Out of the two, dawn seems more hopeful than dusk. Even the word itself comes across as more optimistic. Everywhere I turn someone is talking about turning the page on 2020 and starting fresh with 2021. But hope is not limited to only looking forward, the thread of God’s goodness can be seen in looking back over the year, even in a year as hard as 2020. Honestly my photo log has more sunset than sunrise pictures, because there is something satisfying about waving goodbye to the day as it fades and reflecting on all that has happened.
This time last year I heard the whisper of God asking me to take a step of faith, resign from my job as a school principal to transition into … well, I wasn’t sure in December 2019. Or in February 2020, or March, or even May, for that matter. I just knew God was asking me to leave and he would show me what was next. And He has. Since then, God has been a lamp to my feet and light to my path, showing me each next step I needed to take. Reflecting on this year, I am encouraged as I see how the thread of God's faithfulness is woven throughout.
Below is a Top 10 list of good things that happened in 2020 as UrbanPromise Nashville grew from dream to reality:
A trip in February to visit UP Honduras where God planted the vision for UP Nashville in our hearts
Long summer days filled with dreams, prayers, and hard work
Getting quick approval in July from UP International to become an official UP site
Lots and lots of front porch meetings with future supporters and good friends
Getting some amazing people to help us- 7 Board members and 12 Direction Team members
Exceeding our launch goal
Securing our first school partner and location for the After School Program
Hiring our first 6 Street Leaders
Reaching our Giving Tuesday goal to buy a bus
Getting one amazing Intern that starts next week
Only God could have done all of this in the craziest year any of us have ever experienced. As we get ready to step into the dawn of the new year, Shawna and I are filled with hope and have renewed spirits. We believe God has great things in store for the refugee community; that His work is just beginning. We are so grateful that in these crazy and chaotic times, God is using UrbanPromise Nashville to shine His light in the darkness and bring a message of hope, love and peace in Christ to refugee youth and their families. Together, we can shine His light even brighter.
Because of our God’s tender mercy,
the dawn from heaven is about to break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the path of peace.
Grace and peace,
Jonathan and Shawna Sheahen