I am sorry that we have not been keeping our blog more up to date in these past weeks. This whole journey has been a roller coaster and different than anything we have ever done in our lives, so knowing how to keep people informed along the way has been hard to navigate since so many things are changing daily.
Let me bring you up to speed on where we are at.
March 4th we moved from Arizona up to Manteca, which is where I grew up and is about an hour East of San Francisco. We moved in to my parents house in order to prepare to move to the city. This has meant looking for jobs and raising financial support. It has also meant time in prayer, time resting, and time as a family gearing up for what we expect to be a very difficult and yet very rewarding ministry endeavor. I think it is ok to say that part of my own lack of online communicative presence has been due to my own wrestling match with the Lord through this whole thing, continuing to ask this question, “Are you sure”? I would be foolish to not give weight to that question, because the reality is, this thing we are about to do is not going to be easy or comfy. If you know Renee’ and I you know two things about us. One, we are risk takers, but two, we are sensitive and have been through an enormous amount as a couple and family. That can be quite a pair of things to hold in tension friends. We have sought help from the Lord in these days to hold them together well.
In any case, our resolve is deep and it is set, we are moving to San Francisco one way or another, and at one time or another. We are fervently praying and pleading today that this would be soon. In fact, we are praying for June 1st. Here is why. The Lord has brought an amazing apartment situation in the University of San Francisco panhandle area. The apartment overlooks the University and is also very close to Haight and to Golden Gate Park. It would be more than what we could ever imagine for a place in the city. The price is phenomenal and would be a great long term place for us.
If I can speak candidly, we have one major barrier right now, finances. Let me give you a picture of where we are at there. Our goal is to be fully supported by monthly pledges or one time gifts from people who believe in what we are doing and want to help plant a church in San Francisco. Full financial support frees me up to focus on pastoring, and it keeps Renee’ from having to work so that she can pursue ministry relationships and care for our family.
At the moment, we are 1/4 of the way there on support for a workable salary to get in to the city. This means we must supplement 3/4 of our salary. Renee’ is working on building her Photography business up here in Northern California to help out with 1/4 of what we need. If you know anyone who might want family, engagement, or wedding photos up here, please let her know, that would be extremely helpful.
Another 1/4 of our need looks to be secured in me doing some freelance worship leading and music related work. There is a church up here that I have connected with that wants to bring me in a few times a month to lead worship. This is a good short term scenario, but in the long run will not be the most ideal. Nevertheless, we are very grateful for this, as it is bringing us one step closer to San Francisco.
The final 1/4 will have to come from another source. Our prayer would be that either I will find a job for this final amount, or that we can double where we are at with our monthly support. Our prayer would be that within 6 months, this amount comes from financial support, rather than a 20 hour a week part time job.
We would ask anyone reading this to prayerfully consider partnering with us both financially and in prayer. It has been a humbling process to reach out to people, some whom we know well, and others who we don’t know well or have just met, and ask for money. I have watched many friends go through the support raising process over the years, and now that I am in it first hand, I see that it can be very difficult. My biggest fear in asking for peoples’ money has to do with not wanting anyone to feel like I “just want their money” and don’t care about them. When thinking about asking, I tend to measure whether I think someone would want to give against how much I have invested in them. This has really revealed and rooted out some pride and people-pleasing tendencies in my own heart over the past few months. It reveals a tendency towards a transactional view of relationships that is not rooted in the gospel, but rooted in my flesh. I have asked for His forgiveness, and I ask for yours.
The reality is this: God wants to plant Redemption San Francisco because He wants His Gospel to go into that city to do a great work for His glory. I have had to realize that we are not asking you to give us your money. We are asking you to partner with what the Lord is doing and will do in this city. I must ask with that confidence, and so I do. Please pray that the Lord would lead you. We are looking for monthly commitments. It can be $10 a month or $100. It doesn’t matter. Every dollar is a step towards a city that is desperately void of the gospel. We believe our family will be used greatly there to further His Kingdom.
We are very close to having what we need financially to at least get in to the city and begin ministering there. Please pray that the Lord would work mightily in the next 3 weeks to help make it happen. We have submitted our application to this landlord as well as a breakdown of exactly where we are at financially. It will take nothing short of a work of the Spirit to cause them to allow us to rent their place. We trust that if the Lord wants us there and our time to move is now, then He will make a way for us.
Thank you so much for your continued prayer and support of our family. We are overwhelmed with gratitude,
C.J. Renee’ Keane