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RESOURCE CENTER AND ARCHIVES

Millbrook Baptist Church’s RAs ‘get dirty’ for God by tending garden as ministrycomment (0)

December 3, 2009

By Emily Flack


Driving tractors, tilling, planting, weeding and harvesting — that’s how the third- to sixth-grade Royal Ambassadors (RA) of Millbrook Baptist Church (MBC) are getting dirty for the Lord.

The RAs have established a community garden chock full of fruits and vegetables including beans, peas, tomatoes and “a mess of ‘okri,’” said Trent Deason, garden guru and longtime RA helper.

Anywhere from eight to 12 boys join together on Wednesday nights, and sometimes even on Saturday mornings, ready to dig in.

“Sometimes we use shovels [to dig holes], and sometimes we use our hands when it’s just small seeds,” said 10-year-old Dillon Pannell.

And what’s he learned from this experience?

“I learned that you don’t judge a vegetable by its size ’cause they don’t get too big but they can fit in your mouth very good,” Pannell said.

The idea for planting a garden at the Elmore Baptist Association church was birthed one Sunday morning during casual conversation between Deason, who used to sit on his grandmother’s back porch and watch his family peel homegrown tomatoes, and Lisa Martin, a fellow member of his Sunday School class.

They were talking about how things always seem to be better when they are fresh out of the garden.

After discussing with Pastor Mike Ingram the potential of an unused 100-by-50-foot plot on the church’s property and getting permission to use it, Deason recruited eager helping hands to get involved in this labor of love.

At the next RA meeting, he asked the boys if any of them had ever helped with a garden and if they would like to try to start one at the church. Last year, their first garden yielded a crop, and it’s been growing ever since.

The garden functions as a service project for the RAs and an outreach to the community.

“Many of the vegetables harvested are delivered to local senior adults and shut-ins,” Ingram said. “All excess goes to members of MBC. And sometimes the members take and then re-distribute to people they know in need.”

Neighbors passing by can also pick from the garden, as everything produced is free for the taking.

Deason hopes the seasonal garden will become year-round, because the need for it knows no season. The vision for the garden already includes plans to eventually add a small fence, displaying the Lord’s Prayer on one side and the Ten Commandments on the other.

A prayer gazebo will find a place to nestle within its perimeter, as will a box containing literature with information about the church.

“It will be a place to visit and sit on a bench, reminisce and pray. It will show our visitors that God isn’t only in the church, but He is outside working as well,” Deason said.

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