A group of young adults were huddled around a table in the dimly-lit hotel conference room at the 2016 Lake Union Conference Youth Congress when the idea was hatched. What if a community garden was developed to reach members of our Frankfort, Indiana, community and show them the loving character of Christ through the beauty of the garden? As the idea quickly germinated, we determined this also was the perfect opportunity to live out Christ’s method described in the well-known quote: “Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Saviour mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, ‘Follow Me’” (Ellen G. White, Ministry of Healing, p. 143).
It really wasn’t difficult to see that the seven tillable acres with which God had blessed us and were rented out to a commercial farmer, could be put to greater use. By renting the land for commercial farming we were not being good stewards, and God’s land was not turning a profit for Him. I am not talking about a monetary profit; I am talking about a profit in souls, or a harvest of souls, if you will. Since we started the project last year, the garden has borne much fruit.
Our community now knows who we are. We visited our local City Hall to let them know what we were doing and to determine if there were any issues violating city codes or regulations. Officials were excited and offered their support! We also have gone door-to-door passing out information and books, as well as praying with whomever needed it.
Our sister churches have become closer. We are no longer scattered in our efforts to evangelize our community, and the efforts have brought more unity, more communication, more focus and less bickering. We are becoming the picture of Christ we were meant to be.
Cross-generational relationships are formed. Since there is no age limit, anyone can participate. We see our younger and older generations benefiting from passing knowledge to each other. Our older members teach how to plant and work the garden, care for the soil, when to plant, what to plant, where to plant, as well as how to use and share what they plant. The younger ones teach how to use social media to advertise our community garden, while providing energy, zeal and strength.