Finding Joy in the Planting

One of the challenges of working in ministry is that there are few situations that produce immediate results. Building relationships with people and developing partnerships is the slow work of the kingdom. And honestly, there are times I wonder if the work I’m doing is making any difference at all. But with patience and faith, ministry is also very rewarding. Recently, EIRO facilitated a partnership that wonderfully captured this lengthy and fruitful process.

As a part of their strategic plan, the Tucker Lifelong Community Committee (TLC) determined that community beautification would be one area of focus this year. Specifically, TLC wants to clean and landscape neighborhood entrances in Tucker. Making these welcoming spaces attractive will help neighborhood residents nurture a sense of pride and place.

TLC also wanted this effort to be intergenerational, and they looked for youth volunteers to help out. This point is where EIRO stepped in and facilitated a community connection.

Louis Deas, EIRO’s intern from McAfee this semester, is a youth pastor at Family of God Church Inc. in Tucker. Louis is passionate about the youth in his congregation learning how their faith connects to community development. He wants his kids to know they can make a difference. We connected Louis to TLC, and then he recruited his youth group for the first beautification project day last month.

The collaboration was a success! Volunteers worked all morning to remove weeds and holly bushes before they planted new flowers and shrubs.

You might notice the “after” pictures actually look more sparse than the “before” pictures. Louis’ students noticed this change as well (you can’t sneak anything past kids!). When they asked Louis about it, he offered a profound explanation.

The gardening that the volunteers had done was mostly with plants that would bloom later. It would be a few weeks before anyone would be able to see the full magnitude of the work they’d done. Louis explained to the youth that faith and ministry were like these landscape projects. We often don’t get to see the fruit of our labor, especially right away.

I took comfort in Louis’ words and am trying to be more thankful for the times when I do get to witness the blooming of the seeds I’ve planted. I hope that in whatever way you are ministering, you too can find joy in the planting, knowing God’s faithfulness is yet to come. And I also hope that you are able to carve out space to rejoice in those moments when you do get to see your efforts combine with God’s grace to come fully into bloom!