The Best $300 I’ve Ever Spent
I am excited to post this blog written by Don Baldwin. You are going to be blessed and blown away his testimony. I can’t say enough about his heart for Jesus and for people. He is truly walking proof that you can’t love Jesus more and love people less! Enjoy!
When Brandon asked me to contribute to his blog, I felt and feel honored to share my passion at Connection Church with you. I am coordinator of benevolence and outreach services and am truly blessed to have this position. I have been asked to share with you why I do what I do. There is a very simple answer-God has asked me to do it! Many of you may know me as a staff member and loyal member of the church, you have met the “good” Don. You all do not know the arrogant, selfish, type A jerk that I used to be. Thank God He stepped in!
When I first came to Connection in 2009, it was not for church. I was destitute from losing my job in 2008 and after looking every day for three months and having no luck, I started my own “business” painting parking lot lines. Brandon’s benevolence to me allowed me to paint the lines, earn $300.00 and regain some dignity. That act of kindness brought me to church that Sunday and I’ve been here ever since. His continued kindness as well as that of the board of directors allowed me to come on staff to handle the maintenance and janitorial work. I have been blessed ever since. I’m not sure what Brandon saw in me but he began letting me talk to people coming in needing help. Shocker to me, I had a knack for it and it has been my passion to this day.
5 years ago I read a scripture that has stuck with me ever since. It tells me that I should comfort others in the way I have been comforted, and boy has God comforted me in many bad situations, some self-induced and others not so much. He gave me a unique perspective to see the hurt around me as well as the lies people tell, and has blessed me amazingly by letting me be used in changing lives for Him. My prayer everyday is that He would use me as His tool to impact the lives of others.
The irony of this is that I simply followed the model I saw from Brandon. I have found the best way to witness to people is to find ways to help where I can. Sometimes this is financial, but more often is listening and caring. This is the proof of the power of Jesus to change hearts because six years ago I would have not cared at all. Jesus answered my prayer to teach me how to love my neighbor, and it set a fire in my spirit.
There is no greater accomplishment than to KNOW God has used me and allows me to see the change and become part of someone’s life going forward. Many things I did not understand in my past, I now see how God was putting a tapestry together. I experienced things that prepared me to be effective in lives that others may not understand. I understand jail, divorce, addiction, unwillingness to forgive, not trusting God, going from abundance to nothing and, the biggest of all, that Jesus can turn a life around and give peace and joy that is incomprehensible.
Thank you Brandon, you showed me that you really do believe the words “feed the hungry, clothe the naked and shelter the homeless”. Many have come through Connection’s doors because of how you treated a man in need. Thank-you Connection Church for creating a staff position 3 years ago for a broken man and restoring his dignity. Thank all of you who I have met on this journey for loving me as a child of God. I can only be excited as to where we are headed. Please remember and believe, YOU can make a difference when God makes a difference in you.
All this being said, I do what I do because of the love Jesus has put in my heart. I do what I do so others can get a hand up from a mess they are in, regain value and move forward. I do what I do because it was first done for me and God wants me to pass it on..
I can’t wait for this Sunday and am excited to spend time with all of you at our land Sunday afternoon praying for things to come. If you want more info about our prayer time go to our website www.connection-church.com.
Heart and Soul!