This week, we have some exciting news about the future of Presencia! I’ve asked my husband, Ian, to tell you the story of how we got to this point and where we’re going.
Ian here! I believe that we live by the light of stories. We act, think, and feel differently if we think of our lives as tragedies, comedies, or sitcoms. Are we on a quest, are we gardening, or are we at war? Our stories tell us how to feel, what to do, and who matters.
Presencia is the point where my lifelong love for understanding and sharing stories meets a community’s need. After twelve years of volunteering and part time work, Ruthie and I believe it’s time for me to join the Presencia team full time to grow our capacity and tell a fuller, clearer story.
The journey leading to this point has been full of unexpected turns, compelling characters, and rich subplots. I’d like to share the highlights with you and ask for your help turning to the next page.
Twelve years ago, Ruthie and I loaded our cats, iguana, furniture, and belongings in a few vehicles and left Chicago to drive through the night to a new home. We were going to involve ourselves in the story of God’s love for immigrants and refugees.
My goal since starting that journey has been to live in the story of God’s love in my neighborhood and share that story with others. We began by tutoring six children in our two bedroom apartment in Atlanta’s Buford Highway neighborhood.
Over the years, our work grew. We hired our neighbors to work with us. We incorporated and built a supporting community to sustain and grow the work. Eventually, we secured a second apartment for the after-school program, a studio, and an office space.
While working to love our neighbors and help them tell their stories, I have worked as an armored truck driver, a painter, a cashier, and a freelance writer to make ends meet. Before she was able to begin work full-time, Ruthie hosted at a restaurant, cleaned houses, and babysat.
When I took a position as Director of Communications at a global nonprofit in addition to my work with Presencia, I learned to understand and tell stories from different cultures in print, public speaking, radio, and video. I learned to tell stories in a way that engaged diverse community and grew capacity.
I moved from that job to pastoring students at our local church, where I learned to understand, question, and reframe the stories that guide the lives of young people from different backgrounds. This was a wonderful chance to unite my love for Presencia students and my church family.
Through all these chapters, I have balanced Presencia, other commitments, and a growing family. I’ve been grateful for all the opportunities to love, lead, and learn through various other kinds of work.
Through a year of crisis and change, Presencia has grown to the point where we need a full time communications director. I have grown in my sense of vision and gifting, and I would love to fill this role.
As a full time communications director, I could train Presencia’s staff in interpersonal communication, gather and tell stories from the neighborhood, produce short films that highlight our neighbors and their stories, organize and promote events to grow and connect the Presencia family, and help lead this collective work into a rich new chapter.
Our board of directors has agreed with us that I could grow Presencia’s capacity and enrich the work, but they have asked us to raise an additional $20,000 to close the gap in our budget and make the transition possible.
Choose Your Own Adventure
This year has been turbulent, and we’re not asking everyone to give. But we’re asking the whole Presencia family to find their part in telling this story. Some of you will pray and think of us, some can connect us with their churches or workplaces, and others are in a season where they are able to support this work financially.
Would you consider how you’ll help us tell the Presencia story in the coming years? Click Donate to visit our campaign page. You can read it, share it, or use it to donate to the good work ahead!
Looking forward to a new chapter together,
Director of Communications