In Search of Real Community, Part 3: The Right Location

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You are looking at a .577 acre lot on Ferguson Rd. It is just up the street from my friends and partners in ministry, Don and Sharon. My first exposure to this property was an aerial view on a Shelby County map. I liked the look of it from the first moment, but I failed to find any information about it. Who owned it? How much was it worth? Was it available for sale? Thankfully, Don knew a little trick I was unaware of, and one double-click later I had nearly all the information I needed.

It might be best if I back track for just a moment and explain why I was looking for property at all. The past few months have been a perfect storm of events edging me into motion. First of all, I was going to lose the place I’d been living for a little over two years. As I began thinking about where that might lead me, a brainstorming session at our June board meeting made it clear that it was time for me to join Don and Sharon in Whitehaven as quickly as I could. I needed to literally be a part of their community. These things prompted me to begin looking.

I wanted to be as close to Don and Sharon as possible. As I looked at homes and rentals in the area, I struggled to find anything as close as I wanted to be. It was then that I began looking at land. I was thrilled to find properties on the same street and within walking distance of the nearby Warren apartments where much of our current activity is focused. This brings me back to the property above.

Why this property?

For one, it is in the Shelby County Land Bank. Put simply, this means that the property is owned by the county and being sold for significantly less than its value. It is also a fairly large property at just over half an acre. Considering our desire to connect with our neighbors through urban gardening, this is a true benefit, and as I intend to build a small home (only 800 sq.ft), there will be plenty of land available for this purpose even with the upward slope at the rear of the property. Finally, it is in the community in which we are ministering.From the get go, I wanted to be within walking distance of the apartments, and, in this case, I will also be across the street from an RV park. This will make it easy for neighbors and neighborhood kids to come visit, and hopefully, work alongside me in the garden. It also means my home can be used for home church meetings, bible studies, outdoor concerts and evenings just relaxing on the porch together. Lastly, it may be possible to acquire the two empty lots next to this one in the future. One day we hope to help people in great need, for example, homeless families. A key necessity of that work is small homes in close proximity. These could be ideal properties to see that become a reality.

I’m amazed at God’s generosity to see a property that so closely fits my needs. It has been amazing to watch at each moment as one door after another has opened, and to see others share my excitement and hope for this land. Please join me in praying for God’s provision.

Thank you,

– Kirk

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