“If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.” Ecclesiastes 11:4

Every month, Park View Community Mission quietly provides two weeks’ worth of food for over 700 families. They have become one of the largest food giveaway programs in our city. Every Wednesday night Park View provides a hot meal accompanied by praise and worship.

But in the midst of helping so many there were problems. Maintenance costs were staggering. Providing tons of food each week required of hundreds of volunteers. Park View Community Mission needed a transfusion of resources, volunteers and organizational expertise to continue their vitally needed ministry.

Many times, I wondered if we should quit. But there were the stories. People who lost jobs receiving food to get them through the rest of the month. Families receiving help no one else could provide. Hundreds of people with needs were coming into that old church building week after week looking for a miracle.

Ray Buchanan, founder of ‘Stop Hunger Now’ wrote: “I believe in miracles. I also believe that the church exists for mission. The two belong together. Miracles and mission are integrally linked; inseparable, in fact… If we believe this, we need to be healing the hurt, protecting the battered and fighting for justice with every single breath. If we aren’t, then something is wrong.” – From “Getting Off Our Buts”

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“If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.”

Conditions certainly weren’t perfect but miracles can’t occur in the midst of perfect conditions. Miracles come when someone or group steps out in faith with Holy boldness and declares to anyone and everyone; we are in the business of healing the hurt, protecting the battered and fighting for justice no matter what the consequences. Then we depend upon God for a miracle to follow.

God is clearly moving Park View Community Mission to be involved in helping the Lynchburg community more… not less. We needed to offer more help to the hundreds of people coming through our doors, not less. We needed to do more to help families break the cycle of poverty not less.

As Rev. Floyd Archie, a minister involved with the mission often proclaimed: “We needed to offer more than a hand out to those in need. We needed to offer a hand up.”

“If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.”

The first miracle came when United Methodist Family Services, based in Richmond received a large bequest with the stipulation that the money be used in Lynchburg. So, they opened a branch office on the third floor of Park View Community Mission. UM Family Services provides valuable family counseling and an adoption service to the community. In our time of need they also provided a partner for Park View to share in the cost of maintaining a large church building.

Two worthwhile organizations agreeing to work together in ministry and share costs.

Next, our Lynchburg District made up of 89 United Methodist Churches became a third partner, moving our offices and training facilities in order to manage the building and bring needed help to the mission. This provides an opportunity for all 89 churches to work together on a project that will benefit thousands.

Centra Health offered to provide a Mobile Medical Unit: This is a free clinic on wheels. Every Thursday, they offer free medical help through the Park View Community Mission. We want to provide healthcare for the uninsured and underinsured members of our community. A nurse practitioner will be able to perform an exam and treat health issues or connect people to other types of medical care.

“If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.”

Floyd Archie, one of the volunteers at the Park View Community Mission began leading Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous groups. Floyd was actually Rev. Archie, a minister who felt led by God to start a church. He wrote: “Church services were no longer happening within the walls of one of the most beautiful sanctuaries. During one of my prayers while sitting on the steps of Park View I asked God, why don’t we have a church where we could be of service to Him? There are a lot of broken people within this community who are in need of God’s unconditional love. We now meet every Saturday evening at 6:00 PM followed by a fellowship dinner.”

Two of the members of Floyd Archie’s new church felt the nudge by God to begin a communications company in order to provide low cost Wi-Fi throughout the area. Now students can continue their schoolwork at home in an area where very few homes can afford an internet connection. Special equipment for this project is being set up at the Park View Community Mission.

Our two land grant universities provided a nutritionist to teach people in the area how to cook and eat foods received on food stamps in a way that promotes better health. More than an employee, she lives in the area, learned from the program and lost 45 pounds in the process.

A local bank is interested in teaching financial management classes.

A community college and a Job Training Center are interested in working together to provide basic job training.

A counselor and therapist will soon be opening an office.

And the miracle called Park View Community Mission continues…

“If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.”

Next Week: A look into the future: moving from a hand out to a hand up: the ‘Welcome Center’ of Park View Community Mission

1 Comment

Ronda Lee · September 22, 2014 at 12:33 pm

Praise God from whom all blessings flow! I grew up at Park View UMC! Thank you for this blessed mission that keeps on growing! As the church began to decline, I prayed for a peaceful and desirable transition of the members. I too envisioned the church serving the surrounding community! My prayers remain with you!

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