Finding "First Fruits" in Arkansas

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first fruits

The Salvation Army of Fort Smith, Arkansas saw deep need in their community rising from widespread job losses. Families, already struggling, are being further damaged by decisions made out of desperation. In this they saw that the problem was cross-generational touching all ages and parts of families. They discerned that their response would need to be holistic.  Their hope is to encourage cross-generational  relationships enabling new transfer of wisdom and community formation.

To address these needs in a way that addresses whole families, they’ve launched “FirstFruits.” In this they seek to teach skills, including gardening, sewing and cooking, to improve their lives. These skills, taught cooperatively across generations, begin with spiritual development in mind.

When they work in the garden, they will hear terms suchas germination, cultivation and growth. These terms are paired with the discipline of a Christian life. To germinate, meaning to grow, is compared with how God comes into a person’s life and germinates or grows. When a person is wanting to cause germination in their spiritual life, they must cultivate the ground. Cultivating a Christian life involves prayer, reading God’s Word (the seed), and looking for “weeds” of sin. When these things happen in a person’s life, their lives will grow into a beautiful “harvest” for the LORD. – Capt. Charlotte Gargis

As church members and new friends learn and grow together, they are finding new family. Children, especially those of single parents, are finding new grandparents to love and lead them. Parents are finding joy and rest. College age people are learning to nurture children. All are, in the words of Captain Gargis, “redeeming the family.”

Every Sunday, Seedbed will feature stories of how God is working through the people that make up the Church. We want to hear how God is working in your church. If you think your church should be featured in Seedbed’s Sunday series then email us at seedbed@asburyseminary.edu

 

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John Wesley Leek serves the Mississippi Conference of the United Methodist Church as a Commissioned Elder. He is appointed as associate pastor to Natchez, Misssissippi’s Jefferson Street United Methodist Church. Jesus wrecked his life and he likes it. He probably likes you.

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