We Are Allendale
About a year ago, after my family made the move to Allendale, I spoke with an old college classmate, who had since moved away from Greenville to take another job. He explained that it took he and his wife a while before they got it in their head that they ceased to live in Greenville. While they knew the truth that they physically lived in a new city, part of their hearts and minds were still connected to their friends and family back “home.”
Having gone through that season of transition, he gave me this advice, “Be all-in where you are. Don’t have it in your mind that you’re only in Allendale for a short time. If you think that way, you’ll never really find yourself at home.”
Growing in Confidence
Honestly, at first I dismissed his counsel. I figured that it was OK to be half-hearted and half-minded in Allendale. We didn’t know (and still don’t) how long we’ll live here, but we were sure that we would live here only for a season. It was fine, we reasoned, to only think of our time in Allendale as a temporary move.
But a funny thing happened as our family continued forward on our adventure in Allendale. We have become more and more settled in. We got a post office box for our mail, new drivers licenses with our current address, and we have already voted (and will do so again this fall) here in Allendale. We shopped at the local IGA, got our cars fixed, and I even have gotten an occasional haircut here.
And when I left my job at the Boys and Girls Club, many people (from Greenville and Allendale) thought that we would just move back to Greenville. But we were certain that God wasn’t done with us yet in Allendale. After all, we didn’t come here to work any specific job. We came here to assist children and families, and to spread the Gospel in Allendale.
A Theology of Missions
To understand how our ministry position has become more clear even to us, you’ll have to understand a little bit about how Grace Church views missions.
Grace Church’s work in Allendale (and Nicaragua, Kenya, Eleuthera, Greenville, etc) has never been about coming in with a bunch of resources and people to solve problems and launch new initiatives. They have always worked with people on the ground, who are from that area, to support those who are already doing good works.
So, when we moved to Allendale, it wasn’t so much that Grace Church was sending us here. This adventure is our ministry, and Grace has been gracious to support us immensely. So when we proposed to do camps over Spring Break and the Summer, Grace did pour in manpower and money, but not on their own initiative. We asked for that help, and the church (as an organization and as individual members) provided it.
Just as Grace church has supported Vision Ministries, the schools, and other community activists in Allendale, Grace is supporting us. We are among the local people on the ground. We are joining the ranks of other residents who see needs, and who want to see those needs be met.
We are all-in for Allendale.
Partnering with You
And the great part is that we are not alone. Besides great organizations such as Grace Church, and besides the folks here that we are working alongside, you are a part of this ministry. Many of you have prayed for us, encouraged us with notes (and blog comments!), and visited us.
And you gave. Almost 30 families and individuals have been supporting us with monthly contributions, and about 30 more have donated one or more times. I hope you feel like you are a part of this ministry, because we do think that way.
So when I say that “we are Allendale” and that this is “our ministry,” those plural pronouns include you. Thank you for being a part of this team. Or rather, thank you for letting us partner with you.
(And we are looking for more partners in God’s work in Allendale. If you are interested in partnering with us financially, please check out the Financial Support page.)
But however you choose to support us, thank you for being all in for Allendale.
Other Related Links:
- Thankful for Your Support
- Encouraged by Your Confidence
- A Vision for Allendale: Looking Back, Looking Ahead
- Be a Part of God’s Renewal in Your Neighborhood
- The Importance of a Neighborhood Association