Faith in Action – Day 25

June 25
Mary Laurel Patrick
Furman University
Greenville ARP Church

Gentrification in Greenville, South Carolina seemed to spread like wildfire. My drive to school
changed every single day, as I watched new homes develop on every corner and old subsidized
homes get torn down completely. Looking past the political side of gentrification, I saw an act of
unification was needed in the Greater Sullivan Neighborhood in Greenville. A community garden
seemed the perfect solution.

I stepped out of my comfort zone to create the community garden, which ended up leading me
to talk about what I’m most comfortable with – gardening and myself. In the past, I wasted so
many good opportunities to share the gospel by staying comfortable. Yet the Lord showed
mercy and gave me a change of heart. I was beginning to actively live Ephesians 4:29, which
says, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up,
as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” It’s not always comfortable to be
bold for your faith, but I realize now that seeds of grace and salvation are a stronger foundation
than seeds of the soil. There’s a common phrase that says, “Every garden began as a seed,”
and, just as Outreach North America encourages, even a church requires planting, developing,
and an engaged love; growing the Juanita Butler Center Garden required the same. Kids and
families of all ages, socioeconomic status, and religion came together to plant, develop, and
love the community garden.

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice,
and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8 represents exactly what
the Lord taught me through the process of creating the community garden. Stepping out into the
community, loving people who are different than you, and doing justice is good and brings so
much joy to everyone involved. Yet, the biggest lessons the Lord taught me is humility; although
being recognized for your actions is exciting, true joy is putting Jesus and others before
yourself.