The ZIP-code sized aspiration of Mosaic Church of Central Arkansas
On her 18th birthday, Shundreka leaves her 24th foster home to live with her mom.
“My mom comes back into my life a few months before I turn 18 and tells me she loves me and she has been sober for a year,” she says. “I want to believe her.”
In the week of her stay, Shundreka learns of her mom’s continuing addiction and listens to her ranting on about how she is not her daughter.
Twice, Shundreka overdoses on medication.
“I was thinking maybe the world would be better off without me,” she says.
With nowhere else to go, Shundreka lives with her father, a crack addict, in an abandoned house with no electricity or bathroom. When her father rapes her, she moves out on her own in 72204.
A lady in the neighborhood learns of Shundreka’s need and contacts Eric Gilmore, who leads a new social service agency, Immerse Arkansas.
Immediately, Eric and Kara find shelter for Shundreka.
Mike Montgomery arrives predictably late at the meeting to close his deal with Mosaic. With their signatures, Mosaic purchases 10 acres and a 100,000-square-foot facility on December 12, 2012, at precisely 12:12 p.m.
DeYmaz doubts so many consecutive 12s possess any spiritual significance, but he also learns to look more deeply at any parade of coincidences. At closing, DeYmaz experiences a clearer understanding of the best way to measure success.
“I left a church of 5,000 to start Mosaic,” DeYmaz says. “I remember thinking of the big shadow [that church] cast on the city, and it did. But when our 600 people leave Mosaic on Sunday morning, they spread out to permeate every nook and cranny of the city. The homeless return to the streets, while other members return to homes in the ’hood, the barrios, the suburbs and everywhere in between.”
In 2012, The Orchard feeds and clothes more than 17,000 people for less than $1,000 a week.
Jon Harrison, a former vice president of Caterpillar with international experience, takes over as director of Vine and Village, helping launch more leaders into ministries caring for their community.
Joyce Elliott, an Arkansas State Senator, resident of 72204 and Mosaic member, praises the church as a model of loving community in all of its diversity. When Joyce speaks of the church’s personal impact, she joins a chorus of accolades from church and government leaders.
“When I talk about my church, it also mirrors what I do in the state capital,” Elliott says. “No one is ever surprised when I ask other politicians, ‘How will this affect that person?’ In my church and job, I remember I am here for all the people different from me, and not just people who look like me.”
The purchase of the Kmart property allows Mosaic to establish non-profit and community centers, as well as offer discounted rental space to businesses.
“Once we’re done, Mosaic will have played a significant role in renovating 180,000 square feet—or 54 percent—of the approximately 335,000 square feet of commercial space in the neighborhood,” DeYmaz says.
While DeYmaz waits in prayer for the necessary money to move into the abandoned Kmart, he rents some of the building’s space to the owner of a discount furniture store, Mike Montgomery.