Monday, December 28, 2009

Field Report From Ronda

Congratulations Marquita Hurd!

I met Marquita, better known as “Kit” in September of this year. I immediately was drawn to her beautiful smile and dynamic personality.
Kit had recently moved back to Corinth after a difficult time in Florida. She was homeless, no car and without work. Crosswind began to work with her to find a place to live and quickly moved her into Hickory Terrace Apartments. She immediately became involved in all activities of Crosswind and was willing to do whatever it took to get her life back on track.

Judy Wilbanks, our Life Coach at Crosswind, began to spend time with Kit and arranged for her to meet with a Crosswind Financial Counselor who would help her get her finances in order and also began to help her make a plan for her future.

For the next 3 months Kit took on odd jobs to pay her bills, put in many, many job applications, did volunteer work at the Boys and Girls Club, visited residents of Hickory with Judy and prayed for God to supply her every need.

In November 2 she applied for a job with the new Goodwill facility here in Corinth and on November 30th was hired!

Today, December 28, Kit met with her Crosswind Financial Counselor, opened a savings account and bought a car!

Way to go Kit!!! We are so proud of you!


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas... Crosswind Style

Tonight I experienced Christmas in a way I never have before.

Tonight a group of friends gathered together to share Christmas Carols with the wonderful people of Farmington Arms. As we gathered I looked around and saw the most beautiful sight. Black & White, Young & Old, Rich & Poor, Residents of FA and people from all over Alcorn County gathering for the same purpose to share Christmas with others through song. I walked along with the carolers carrying Spiced Cider and my friend and her daughter carried plates of cookies to give out to those who dared to open their door to this rather large group of people carrying candles and wearing Santa hats. To us we many have seemed out of tune and unorganized, but to those who heard us to those who listened I believe they heard and saw something completely different. Many ventured out of their warm homes and stood and listened to the songs of Christmas...Joy to the World, Silent Night, Jingle Bells, etc.

...and then it happened; a door was opened not only to hear the songs, but a door was opened for us to share the hope of Christmas with a new resident. A single Dad raising 3 young children. As he opened his door we showered him and his children with cookies and cider. I dont think he really knew what to do with us, not sure he had ever experienced such a welcome party, but he chated with my husband and a few of the youth for a while. We wished him and his children a Merry Christmas, invited them over to the Crosswind Apt for more fun and fellowship and left him and his family on the balcony. I looked back as we left and he was standing outside watching us as we walked away. As we gathered up in the Crosswind Apt we began to fellowship together and helped the children begin the decorating of mini-gingerbread houses. For most this was the first gingerbread house they had ever seen, much less decorated. It was so much fun and we had a house full!
Then from around the corner I saw him! He had come and brought his 3 children with him. "Can we build a gingerbread house too?" they asked. As we squeezed them into the already crowded room they began to build their houses and we began to build relationship with dad. We found out he had just moved here from Michagan and had been able to get work...which for many is a miracle in and of itself. He was doing well but was having a hard time. Robert Gates the one we call our "Pastor of Farmington" began to share with him all about the neighborhood and how the kids could come to Bible Study and how there was a Bible Study for him as well. Robert shared with him how the people in this room wanted to come along beside him and help him work through this difficult time in his life. As Robert shared with him he began to open up and Robert was able to find out that he wasnt going to be able to have much of a Christmas for the kids because he had not been at work for long. "Well, Robert said, we will fix that tomorrow". Come to my home when you get off work and we will provide a way for you to be able to give your kids Christmas presents. "Really" was all he could say.
So tomorrow we will begin our new friendship and relationship with a single dad and through a single act of kindness begin to share with him the greatest gift of all "Christ"! And we thought all we were going to be doing tonight was share Christmas Carols and build gingerbread houses...when God's plan all along was for us to share the hope of Christmas and build a relationship with a single dad and his children that will lead to friendship with each other and Him.

Now to me that is Christmas!
-Ronda Windham

Monday, December 21, 2009

Lighthouse Brings Joy To The City

There's a famous old gospel song that talks about a lighthouse... the chorus says, "And I thank God for the Lighthouse..." and so do we.

Fifteen years ago God told a young basketball star and his preacher buddy to go where the broken were and bring the light of the gospel. And like Abraham and many other men of faith before them, they did just that.

Every year at Christmas, the Lighthouse invites the believers of the city (the Church) to partner with them to bring a blessing to people in need. This year was no exception. The Church gets to join together for a day of hope and inspiration offerring the gospel and a listening ear to the hurting in our community. This year the Lighthouse gave away 6000 toys to over 1500 kids from over 500 families. And every family heard the gospel, was provided one-on-one counsel and prayer, was treated like royalty and 'loved on' bigtime. Wow!

God told us when we gathered together to "stir one another up to love and good works." Well the Lighthouse Toy Store does just that. It's impossible to go and not be stirred. We are stirred with compassion. We are stirred by the gospel. We are stirred by the brokenness some of us weren't aware of in our city. We are stirred by the love of Christ. We are stirred by Christian unity and fellowship. The whole day is just a MIGHTY stirring!

We did a video to celebrate the Lighthouse with you. We hope you enjoy it. You'll see what the real magic is behind it for the old gospel song goes on to say... "for Jesus is the Lighthouse and from this world of sin He has shone a light around us that all who will may see, if it wasn't for the Lighthouse, tell me, where would this ship be."

With overwhelming hearts of gratitude and love for Gary, Herbie, Markeena, Nan and the rest of the Lighthouse staff and volunteers... our city loves you and wishes you a Merry Christmas!

CLICK HERE and then on "Personal Stories/Lighthouse"

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

'Tis the season...

I love Christmas. I love Thanksgiving. And even New Year's Day. I just love this particular time of year.. And for a charity director I especially love it... because it is a unique time of year for generosity and love.

This blog is called InsideOutreach. It is called so because we are trying to give you the reader a behind the scenes look at charity life. We want to share our experiences, to let you in on our experiment. And especially for us, it becomes a diary almost of what we were learning along the way as we tried to start a charity and use it to start a missionary movement in our city.

So this season is unique i that everyone is charity minded during this season. There are angel tree's and Christmas basket giveaways and our famous Toy Store and special holiday meals and on and on. It is a wonderful season. So what does a charity do during this season of cheer? And particularly what is Crosswind doing and why?

Crosswind is using this season to be a lively partner of the many events already scheduled. Here's what we mean by lively partner:

1. Our donors and volunteers are donating and volunteering at the many great charity events in town and 2. We are helping the people in need get connected to your events.

That's all... We thought about having our own thing but why? There's so much good stuff going on in our community already. There are many of us that can make a bigger impact by teaming up with others instead of doing stuff by ourselves.

Come January, we'll have our plate full again, but for now, we're coming to your place.

...And we're bringing friends.