Following a Well-Tread Path
|image courtesy of hbrinkman via sxc.hu|
I know that Robert Frost wrote about the joys of “The Road Not Taken,” but sometimes it is nice to follow the road more traveled.
The Mess We’re In
Things are not well here in Allendale. It’s not just about the statistics, but about the loss of hope and vision, as explained in this video. Even on my second visit here last December, my family and I sat in the living room of an older gentlemen who confidently told me that there is no hope, no redemption, for this area.
Beginning in 2009, Grace Church has been building relationships and partnering with people in Allendale County. The primary goal has never been to come in and get a list of projects accomplished, but to connect and serve alongside the ministries that are already going on. But, we also know that good deeds can lead to Good News, and that working as a team to accomplish goals can breathe some fresh life into and give hope to others.
So over the past 2 years, staff, leaders, and students from Grace has been doing work — from fixing up the Boys & Girls Club facility, working with local community activists, and providing resources and opportunities to benefit the schools.
Blessed By the Trailblazer
When I started working here in January, I was busy meeting people and getting ready to launch the Boys & Girls Club program. In general, people were incredibly cheerful and helpful. But on numerous occasions, when the already-helpful people found out I was from Grace Church, their cheer and helpfulness rose to a whole other level. Even for folks that never met anyone from Grace, they recognize the name and immediately think “blessing.”
Of course, I try to not name-drop too much. I usually let God orchestrate the conversation, and if it happens to come up that I am a part of Grace Church, that’s fine; if not, that’s fine, too. God reminds me that our thus far (and as we go forward) has been made level by the vision of a few leaders at Grace, and by the hands and feet of many others who have poured out for the sake of this community in Allendale.
For all of you that have lead the way, I say, “Thank you.”