Recently my husband and I embarked on what we thought was ministry, but it was also a wonderful adventure. Two years ago at Convoy of Hope in Memphis, I met a gentleman named Reverend Morris Taylor. He has a ministry called Save the Children, International. He invited me to a backpack give away at Ripley Elementary School in Ripley, Tennessee, which led to other opportunities to share in his hope for the people of Henning, Tennessee and Lauderdale County. On this recent trip I discovered a great need for help in an area that is often neglected, small towns. Henning is famous for one thing. It was once the home of Alex Haley, the man who wrote the book, Roots.
As we drove into town, I saw neat little homes with pretty flowers and I saw houses that may have had pretty flowers in the past, but I think long ago in the past. For a Saturday morning, the streets were quiet. As we looked for the church where we planned to meet, a police car turned the corner and the officer looked us over as if to say, “You don’t belong here.” We did belong there on that sunny autumn morning, because we were there to help. The town looked as if it’s youth had passed. The trip down Main Street showed us that most of the businesses had closed their doors for good years ago. The church where we met was large for a small town and old enough to be on the historic registry or so I was told.
Children live in Henning, Tennessee and they need Jesus. As we walked in, we saw people packing grocery bags and preparing to give away clothing to share with the local residents. In a class room, I met some sweet Christian brothers and sisters. Some had come from Jackson, Tennessee to help that day. They welcomed me graciously and participated as I trained them to facilitate Growing Seasons Christ-centered support groups for children in single-parent familieshttp://store.livingfree.org/Growing-Seasons-Coordinators-Guide_p_162.html . They seemed excited as I shared the Facilitator Guides and training videos for Empowering Kids for Life, small groups that teach children the biblical principles to avoid addictions http://livingfree.3dcartstores.com/Insight–Empowering-Kids-for-Life-Leader-book-and-CD-with-teacher-tools_p_160.html. Mrs. Taylor didn’t send us away empty-handed. She had been cooking all morning and gave us pork chops, roasted turkey, green beans, and sweet potatoes for the road.
I plan to go back next Saturday as they celebrate a fall festival. I hope to train another group to help the children prevent addiction and grow up strong in the Lord, knowing that He is a father who will never leave. Children in small towns don’t have the Christian resources that we find in big city churches, so they need those of us who can to go there and prepare the adults to train the children.