This is the story of 11 twenty somethings, scattered about the Midwest, graduating from college in the middle of an uncertain year. They all applied to a strange program in Kansas City and somehow got in. This program gathered them all together and found them jobs – during a summer when unemployment averaged 10.6% – and gave them houses with a really big yard. The program gathered a whole lot of people who wanted to give the 11 twenty somethings advice and food, and so they did, showering them with wisdom, advice, council, and food every week. These 11 twenty somethings have been the recipients of God’s blessing and provision for the past 5 months, and this is the story of the Kansas City Fellows of 2020.
2020 has gone and passed. Everyone had a lot to say about the year, so I thought I would say something too. Through the ongoing turmoil of the year, our God has sat above it all, ever there and always at work. I like to think about the Sun. From our perspective it rises and falls. Sometimes it’s covered by the clouds and some days it bears down on us. And yet in reality, it never moves. We’re the ones flying through space, spinning like crazy and sometimes fogging over.
Last year has been different, but the things we have experienced are nothing new – disease, racism, political instability – they have come to the surface in such a strong way that has forced us to pay attention. But this isn’t a story of all the hardship of the year, but rather how our God has remained constant through it all. As the Sun remains steady and ever providing for us with its light, so God remains steady in our world. This story about the Kansas City Fellows, is a story about how God acts in unexpected, powerful ways, through faithful people and his Church.
If anyone hasn’t taken a moment to marvel that 11 college grads were able to get jobs, in the same city, during a time with the highest unemployment of the 21st century, take that moment now. God worked through two guys named Kris and Kevin, and each of our 11 employers to provide us with jobs. Incredible.
If you haven’t seen the KC Fellows Houses, you’re missing out, they’re beautiful. We get to live in them every day. God worked through the Fellows program and Carol (emphasis on Carol) to ensure we have wonderful places to live. Amazing.
Every Tuesday, without fail, we are fed by families throughout Kansas City. Regardless of what is going on that week, whether we sit in backyards, or the food is delivered to us, we are fed by generous people every week. God has worked through each one of these families to care for us with delightful food. Wow.
Every Friday, we are blessed with wisdom from people further along in their lives and careers. I have run out of paper in my binder because I have attempt to capture the overflow of insight which we are blesses with each week. God has worked through Kris, every one of the speakers, and every organization we have interacted with, to guide us Fellows into the start of our adult lives. Praise God.
Every Sunday, we are surrounded by and incredible church family at Christ Community Downtown. They have welcomed us in, and put up with us taking a whole row of chairs (we move as a pack). God has worked through this church, and the faithful people which fill it, to provide us with a church family. Awesome.
Every day, we wake up to two houses filled with friends. These people give us rides and make us snacks. They force us to hang out when we don’t realize we need some time with people. They talk to us when we’re down and celebrate with us when we’re up. God has worked, through the gathering of 11 unlikely people, to provide each of us with a friend group here in Kansas City. Breathtaking.
This is the little story. In the midst of a year of global and nationwide crisis, here in Kansas City, God has been steadfastly working and caring for a group of twenty somethings. He has done this through the commitment of some incredible directors, generous families, great employers, and a welcoming church. Now for the big hope.
When the fear and pain of a broken, sinful world hits us especially hard, we can look up and see our God sitting above it all, steady and constant. God does not change when things are looking better or worse. He was there at the end of a good story and at the start of a painful one. Hope. But He doesn’t stop there. We don’t have to settle for a distant God who gazes down at us as we go through turmoil. Instead, our God is active, more than we can ever understand. When it seems like all is falling apart, God is working his great plan out. His great plan will bring justice, healing, life, comfort, and renewal to all. His great plan involves a Church, a body of believers being built up into a holy temple, in which he will dwell with us forever. This great plan is not thwarted by the brokenness of the world. If you need some help seeing God’s working, then please refer back to the little story above. God faithfully works through his people to bring provision– typically in ways that are unexpected. His working often brings us pain, but in the end, it brings us more joy than we thought possible. In this story, 3 people obediently responded to a call to start the KC Fellows, and countless others joined them in this journey. God worked through hundreds of people to provide for 11 twenty somethings. Why? Because he cares for us more than the birds of the air.
We walk into 2021 in strength and hope that our God is still ruler of all and has a plan. We are confident that he is at work, that he is writing little stories like this one all throughout our country and world to offer provision for his people and redemption to the world. Each of us are invited to lean into this plan, obediently accepting his call in our lives to contribute to the coming Kingdom of his Son that will bring healing to all – just as Kevin, Carol, and Kris did with this program. God is steadfast through it all. God is at work now. This story, which sometimes seems dismal, will have a joyous ending.
Now that is a great hope.
– written by Sterling Evans, Mizzou grad, Global Orphan Project grant writer, KC Fellows Season 6.