The Next Chapter

Recently, we started a book club with some of our ESL students using a fantastic book from Gemma Literacy that we learned about at the Literacy Texas conference. We have a small group of women that meet each Wednesday for tea and coffee, and read the next chapter of a book together to improve their English skills. Our first book is a story about a young girl navigating a difficult job situation and family struggles. The story is relevant and interesting to our adult students and we have enjoyed great conversation so far. We usually end our time together by asking the question, “What will happen in the next chapter?” It’s a great chance to imagine and think about what is coming based on all we know has happened so far in the story.

That’s a question that we’ve been asking a lot around here, not just in book club, but in our staff and board meetings. If you’ve followed us for long, you know we like to communicate about our vision and identity through visual graphics. We have tried over the years to think about a refugee’s journey in different ways, most recently as a bullseye diagram. It was useful to plot our friends at different rings on the road to flourishing, equipping us to understand the unique needs of each stage.

We’ve also talked about our organization as a a funnel. We want to be open wide and attract refugee communities through programs and services we offer as a way to build genuine relationships and connect them into the wider community, for their good and ours.

Most analogies are only useful to a point, and it can be easy to get stuck in the ruts they create. In this season, we have been asking a lot of questions about what’s next. How wide should our funnel be? Is a bullseye the best way to plan and think about what we hope to accomplish in our community? Back in 2019, in the midst of the Covid pandemic and before opening our community center, Dr. Pennington developed a vision and set of long-term goals for the fledgling organization. These served RLP well in those initial years, driving us forward into growth, collaboration and the landmark opening of the PLACE. But the RLP of 2023 is not the same as the RLP of 2019. So now, we are working with our board and staff (pictured in header), to make sure we are going in the right direction, with clear boundaries for the next part of the story.

Will you join us in praying for our vision and goals in the next chapter? Send us an email to let us know you’re doing so, or join us on Wednesdays at 12:30 to pray in person.

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