James' December Update/Farewell 2015

Reading details of what an internship with Uffizi would entail nearly two years ago, I wrestled with the idea of stepping into a role so gauged towards learning. I tend to prefer the practice of things rather than the study. But as I considered how to sustain, operate, and grow a mission well, I knew mission was something worth the time to study. My time with Uffizi has given me an incredible insight at what it takes to develop a mission that is effective and sustainable.

We value discipleship heavily at Uffizi, it has become evident to me that it is at the heart of empowerment and sustainability. Jeff, the founder of Uffizi started our order over a decade ago, sharing meals with his friends living on the streets. Now, our order has initiatives sharing meals once a week at two parks, tutoring youth on the Westside of Santa Barbara, seeking solutions to address the problem of human trafficking in our county, and housing veterans who are living on the streets. We have grown and diversified because of Jeff’s excitement to invite people alongside him in doing mission and the ways he releases them to pursue their passions!

Our organization has equipped churches to bring food and develop relationships at the parks. We have also continued to disciple Westmont students to build relationships with individuals on the streets. Our staff has been pushed to understand the justice issues their initiatives combat and therefore, train to develop their initiatives successfully. I see huge promise for the future of Uffizi because our leaders disciple individuals to continue our work.

As I wrap up my internship with Uffizi this month, I have a strong sense of success and gratitude to those I’ve worked with. I’ve gained deeper insight on how to expand the Kingdom in many ways. The clearest, and most central is unquestionably discipleship. Viewing mission as an opportunity to walk alongside those in my life has intersected with bringing God’s Kingdom into fruition through their own lives. Discipleship reveals to others the ability to improve their lives and the lives of those around them, along with your own willingness to partner with them in doing so.