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An Update on Brandon and North Main
In previous editions of the newsletter, you’ve read stories about Brandon. We change most of the names we use in this newsletter in order to respect the privacy of those among whom we live and serve. Brandon was no exception to this practice. You may have read about Brandon when we talked about the beginning of his liberation from the slavery of addiction–about how he found hope and love in unexpected places and soon became an essential part of all that we do at Grace and Main Fellowship. You can read a bit of that story here. We updated you on his progress back in November of last year and made an appeal to you to consider providing financial support to Third Chance Ministries in order that we could bring him on as a missionary on the northside of Danville (you can reread that newsletter here). In January of this year, it was our privilege to add him to our missionary staff because of the increased generosity of folks like you. Once he came on staff, we started using his real name when we told his story because he said it was okay and because it would mean less confusion when people came to visit us. Brandon’s real name is Bruce and he is changing the world around himself on the northside of Danville.
The first project Bruce undertook on the northside was to enhance the roving feast that had first reached him years ago under a house on North Main St. His home became something of a headquarters for food preparation within weeks of him coming on staff at Third Chance Ministries. Each day, you can drive by and see a full coffee pot or cooler of water (or lemonade on the especially good days) in front of his little corner of the Kingdom on the Northside. In a previous edition of the newsletter, you even read about the great weekly breakfast that Bruce helps lead out of his home, as well (if you didn’t, check it outhere). Another leader, Mike, joined with him and began providing baked goods and loaves of bread an an incredible rate, adding yet another piece of overwhelming grace to the mix. Bruce even began to fix up an old shed that once he had slept in. Over the course of several weeks (and several busy trips to local hardware stores), Bruce used his skills to turn that shed into a tool library and co-op workshop. Nowadays, Bruce can often be found in that shop or around town helping some of our brothers and sisters to find work and providing them with the tools to do it. Below the shed, they started a garden to provide fresh produce and work to the neighborhood. There’s a beautiful, calm peace that permeates that place–it’s hard to believe that you’re in one of the harder neighborhoods in town when you’re down there kneeling between rows of tomatoes and squash.
It is your support that made this possible! Individuals and families account for roughly 90% of the donations we receive in a year at Third Chance Ministries. These are individuals and families who have seen what we’re trying to do and want to participate and become a partner with us in giving people a chance to do a different kind of ministry in our midst. Bruce is able to do what he does because of the generosity of people like you. If you already give, then please let me say “thank you” as loudly as I can. If you’re on the fence and thinking about it, let me add one more piece of information to the mix: we’re going to do it again. In the upcoming months, we’re hoping to bring another missionary on staff for the Southside of town. His name is Ben and he brings an entirely different set of skills to the team. Already, he gives numerous rides to folks with transportation issues, provides pastoral counseling, develops leaders and disciples in hard places of profound need and incredible poverty, and provides spiritual leadership to our most marginalized brothers and sisters. He might not plant a garden (though he might!), but he is already changing the world around himself. Soon, he’ll be doing it as part of the Third Chance Ministries team. Of course, he needs your support, too. If you’re on the fence, or if you’ve been thinking about how you can help in work like this and ministry like this, please don’t hesitate to let us know. Email Joshua firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at (919) 358-2131 to talk about how you might be able to partner with us in the work we’re doing. Your support could very well be what makes it possible for another of our brothers or sisters to find their way to freedom from addiction. Your support might make it possible for another person to see the Spirit move in their life and feel hope for the first time in a long time. Your hand reached out in partnership might help to give birth to the Kingdom of God in a place where the world seems all too powerful.
Thanks for everything (and enjoy the pictures of what the Kingdom of God looks like near us).
To view a collection of great pictures from the Northside, click here.