One of the most unexpected things I have done since retiring in 2018 was to assist in leading the Ardmore Baptist Church Remote Learning Center (the “RLC”). The Center was operational from September 2020 to June 2021 during the height of the Covid pandemic. We were blessed with amazing volunteers and lots of wonderful students who just needed a little assistance with their remote studies. Many of our students were from refugee families and often struggled with understanding English. We believe (and have received feedback affirming this!) that we truly made a difference for so many who just needed that extra “push” to get them through that extremely difficult school year.
I’ve heard from a few of those students and their families since we closed the center – pictures of graduations, students singing at events, and notes of thanks. These were beautiful surprises and each a blessing! But one of the most unexpected moments that warmed my heart recently occurred on April 15th at our Love the City Missions donation drive for World Relief. I was helping load items onto a large truck in our church parking lot when a pickup truck from Highlands Presbyterian arrived to drop off some donations. One of my faithful RLC volunteers and two of my refugee students (siblings) popped out of the cab and started unloading! We all embraced and tried to catch up a bit. It was such an amazing moment as we laughed and rejoiced at seeing one another again! One of the students (Amani) will graduate from Reynolds in a month or so with plans to go to Forsyth Tech and study film. The other (Baris) is a sophomore at Reynolds who loves STEM subjects and making A’s. What more could a retired teacher want or need? I am so proud of them!
As it turns out this teacher got a bonus (shall we say extra credit?). God also showed me two young men giving their time and energy to help other families in need. Amani and Baris worked with World Relief most of the day, loading and unloading, sharing themselves, and blessing others. Most importantly they showed Christian love as they loved their neighbors, and made a difference in the community. Don’t you love how God connects the dots in these unexpected moments? We should all learn to expect the unexpected when we allow God to use us in surprising ways.
– Becky Bryant