We are John & Paula Milgate and Let’s Be Gracing is the name we have given to this internet portal and blog site for our ministry.
Starting in about 2006, while we were living in California, Jesus began awakening within Paula a deep desire to minister through hospitality to students at Seattle Pacific University. She was able to live this out in smaller ways: By “group meals” brought in a suitcase when we flew up to visit two of our own children (Justin & Anna Marie), by being embraced by some of Anna Marie’s friends, and through Facebook. But Jesus kept moving her heart for more—with a strong desire to live close to the school so we could regularly open our house to students for meals and as a place to ‘drop in’ or ‘hang out.’ Jesus can use us through that kind of hospitality to develop relationships, model grace, encourage faith, and live through us. This is when we began calling our ministry “Let’s Be Gracing.”
Until September of 2008 I (John) had no similar sense of mission or call to a ‘student ministry.’ I was actively engaged as a pastor – facilitating home Bible studies, preaching, and writing. I was also privileged to work with many other pastors in the Concord (California) area in living out the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. But, in September, 2008, God opened my eyes to the strategic value of the ministry about which Paula had become passionate and affirmed this call as His own. Within the next several months He impressed upon me the need to support Paula in pursuit of the desires He has given her.
So, in response to God’s call and in accord with the affirmation of the Spirit through others with whom we have long ministered, we put our house in Concord up for sale and (in March 2009) rented a house in Queen Anne just blocks from Seattle Pacific University, from which we began to reach out to the students through Sunday dinners and desserts. Starting in the Fall of 2010 we also hosted regular times of prayer, mentoring, and experiences Learning to Live the Jesus Way (a “discipleship experience”). The blog post archives are some words of encouragement and challenge Papa has prompted while we have lived in Seattle and as the adventure continues.
In 2012 the owner of the house we called home in Seattle told us of her desire to sell the house. We explored purchase, but were “checked” by God on several fronts. Through the winter and into the spring of 2013 we explored with Papa God what He would have us do; we were unable to find suitable housing close to SPU and John’s job prospects seemed to weaken. Amid prayer and conversation we concluded that God was bringing our time of strategic involvement in Seattle to a close and we began to make preparations to move–to California again (you can’t go back, but you can go there again). Many great friends came to visit on our last Sunday in Seattle and to help us load our stuff for the move into more challenging opportunities for us to minister grace and truth through love and faith in the person and power of the Spirit of The Risen Jesus with an expectant, “What’s next Papa?”
In January, 2014 John continued to help others Live the Jesus Way while adding relational peacemaking to his schedule–pursuing service as a mediator/arbitrator with a friend of many years, Tim Arensmeier, of Bay Area Christian Conciliation Services, Inc. (through which we receive tax deductible gifts).
We have rented a nice two bedroom apartment in Pittsburg, California (within a block of the Pittsburg/Bay Point BART station and with a view of the Sacramento River), and we are beginning to extend the invitation to come and be refreshed–as Paula resumes her ministry of hospitality in this home we sometimes describe as A Place in the Son [sic]. When could you come?
YOU MAY CONTACT US AT: firstname.lastname@example.org