Better Together

Charity Ramsey, Partnership Coordinator

It’s a beautiful thing. To watch the process of this community working WITH groups, rather than groups working FOR this community. The idea sounds great, the heart behind it is so rich, but how does this happen on a week long trip? 

Relationship is how we’ve seen it start. We invite the community to be a part of the work being done to express to them that we value them, their time and what they can contribute. We all have gifts and talents, some revealed and some waiting to be revealed. The most wonderful thing about this whole picture of community working with us in these seasons of transformation isn’t just the concept of empowerment, investing in a project or investing in a community initiative. But rather, the most exciting part is the opportunity to invest in the LIFE of another human being. We want to get to know them in order to build a lasting relationship with them. We want to lift them up, show them Christ, we want to learn from them. We desire to encourage, and be encouraged. Quite frankly, they have just as much to offer us as we do them, and sometimes more.

Community is the heart-beat, and its people are the reason why we do this. Jesus has commanded us to not just meet physical needs, but the emotional and spiritual ones as well. So let me share with you a little about this photo. These are two of our community kids that have been around and a part of Next Step since we first started partnering here in Lexington, South Carolina. Little Mia was 6 when we first came here, and she just recently celebrated her 12th birthday. Ronnie, is a 15 year old who used to be a little guy who did backflips to show off at community block parties. Now he is a bigger and stronger guy who still likes to show groups his cool talent. Rondarius, their brother is 14. He loves playing basketball and football with his school teams and in the community with his buddies. He was down on the ground helping some of the students cut shingles while this photo was taken.

These kids have been a part of this community long before we entered, and they will be here long after we are gone. We treasure the time we get with them. We value the laughs, the dancing, and the lessons learned and shared along the way. Our hope and desire for these kids is for them to feel the love of Christ and grow closer to Him. We are blessed to be able to provide a new roof for them, but we are even more blessed to be invited into a relationship with them. They love big and are curious and expectant. Little moments like this on the roof, where we spend time talking about our favorite ice cream flavors, our weird scars and some of the goofy things we’ve done. Moments where we just get to enjoy the pure essence of being in each other’s presence, these are the pivotal times that are cherished greatly. This is why we strive to work WITH our families, not FOR them. We partner together and do it side by side, for we know that we are better together.

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