Last autumn, many leaves fell to the ground, flowerbeds needed weeding and the yard at the Dorothy Doghouse shelter required cleaning and maintenance.
As residents looked outside on Sunday morning, they noticed the Rev. Martin Avery and his church members working hard to clean up the place they call home.
"Every fifth Sunday, we put missions teams together and work with different organizations for mission projects," said Avery, pastor at Faith United Methodist Church, Fargo, North Dakota. While some teams helped at the shelter and others organized and helped sell items at a thrift store for a children's home, more dug into the ground to do garden cleanups.
The church also coordinates the mission projects with its campus ministry, The Bridge. Last May, the college students held a fundraiser for a local animal shelter. Those who came learned about the pets that needed homes and spent time petting the dogs. They raised $100 for the shelter.
"This service is so important," said Zach Zaborny, campus pastor at The Bridge. "This allows the students to step back from their busy lives and help in the community, and they are aware of those who are less fortunate." Zaborny also said that it feels good to do God's work for the greater good, because seeing the smiles on people's faces is priceless.
Avery and Zaborny are not surprised at how people's lives are transformed when they are shown God's love. They remember Jason Balster, a North Dakota State University student who was a heavy partier and did not believe in God. He drank too much one night and found himself in a jail cell. His grandmother asked him to talk to a pastor that she knew. Balster recalls the pastor telling him that God forgave him. That revelation led him to Faith's campus ministry, where he now leads a weekly Bible study. He hopes to be a church planter in the future.
During spring break in March, Zaborny is planning to lead the young adults to help with projects at a Native American reservation.
AT A GLANCE Faith United Methodist Church | 909 19th Ave. N., Fargo, ND 58102 | 701-232-6844 | [email protected] | www.fargofaithumc.org | Rev. Martin Avery | Average Attendance: 181 | Dakotas Conference