Sunday October 7, 2018 started early with a 4:30 a.m. alarm. The goal, traveling from Center, Texas to Damon, Texas to worship with New Shores Baptist Church in Sweeney, Texas as they launched a northern campus in Damon. Driving down Highway 288 God broke my heart in preparation for arriving in Damon to participate in this new adventure with New Shores. He broke my heart with a song I had never heard before, but was on a Spotify created list. The song, “It’s About the Cross”, by the Ball Brothers. It is highly advised to set aside about 15 minutes and listen to the song several times in succession while intently listening to the words. Arriving in Damon, worshiping with the church and driving through the community praying following the service it became apparent God was doing more than I understood that day.
Returning from Damon that Sunday afternoon, I kept praying and listening to what God was saying. This conversation with God continued into the new year. In January, a call was made to BJ McCurdy the pastor of New Shores Baptist Church. I shared what God had been speaking to me concerning Stepstones future involvement in Damon with the possibility of teams coming in the Summer of 2019. Teams would work on the church facilities, lead a Backyard Bible Club and host outreach events. BJ listened and said, “We as a staff have been praying Matthew 9:35-38 asking God to send workers into the field to harvest in Damon!” The answer to the offer is YES, YES, YES! How can we say no to God’s answer to prayer?
Making a major leap forward in time, prayer, preparation, phone calls, gathering churches to labor in the field of Damon, training events, sight based visits and gathering of materials, Summer finally arrives. There were two weeks scheduled for service in Damon, one in June and the other in July. There were five churches that God brought together to serve in unity as a larger expression of His Church. The first and most vital part of this task was provided through FBC Broaddus as they committed early in the year to provide Cook Teams and a Shower Trailer for both weeks. This group performed tirelessly planning a menu and serving amazing meals. They kept teams fueled and hydrated so laborers could continue serving with strength and energy. The second part of the equation was provided by the Youth Ministry of Summit Heights Church in Hawkins. This group of students and their leaders served in June to perform much needed preliminary work and lay a great foundation for the July team. The third part of the equation was provided by Believers Baptist Church in Emory, Texas and FBC Haslam, Texas. These teams arrived with adults with the exact skills needed to lead groups to replace fascia boards on the church, caulk, paint, mow, weed eat, power spray, share Bible Stories, lead songs, etc., etc. As the teams pulled out of Damon in July more was accomplished by the unified efforts of the four churches who traveled to Damon to serve with New Shores than had been initially scheduled.
On Wednesday afternoon of the July trip we were given the permission to walk across the street and serve Damon ISD. We offered to power spray a portion of their building and it opened the avenue to greater service and impact than we anticipated. Thursday morning a small portion of the team remained at the church to finish up final details, but the large portion went to work at the school mowing, weed eating, cleaning and reworking flower beds, trimming bushes, moving furniture and hauling off major amounts of grass by the truck load. By the end of the day most of the property had been mowed, a large portion weed eated and the whole front of the school had been power washed. The School Board met that evening and following the meeting they walked across the street and joined the teams for a great Fish Fry! The Superintendent of Damon ISD thanked the group for the amazing amount of work performed. He shared that he had been praying asking God how they would ever get caught up with all the maintenance needed before school started. Holding back tears, he said, “Each of you are literally an answer to pray!” An applause of worship erupted and we knew God had done something only He could do!
One take away from the experience was revealed as Pastor BJ and I stood under a tree observing the transformation of the church facility and the school. What transpired from October 7, 2018 until July 19, 2019 was a clear picture of what a church can accomplish by being obedient to make disciples, praying and responding to God’s voice, working with a clear vision and humbly serving together in the Field White Unto Harvest! There are a multitude of God events that can be shared of answered prayers, team members changed, amazing contacts in the community, provisions, new people joining the church in Damon, etc., etc., etc. Lastly, PRAISE GOD FROM WHOM ALL BLESSINGS FLOW! THANK YOU FATHER FOR CALLING AND SENDING!