by Harold Naylor, Executive Director
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11) As I received the call to join Good Neighbors Home Repair Ministry these words from scripture came to mind.
I have known and been a friend of Good Neighbors for over 8 years. In my role as a strategic consultant, I worked with Jay Malthaner and his team to strengthen the organization, and develop sustainable fundraising process on which the next Executive Director could build. Rob Ellis brought the right organizational skills, procedures, processes, and passion and under his leadership, Good Neighbors has flourished and grown, touching many lives throughout Southern Chester County. In 2015 alone, over one hundred homes were repaired and over 200 volunteers were mobilized.
There are many more impressive statistics. The ones we do not know (yet!) are the lives that were touched with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the One who gives true and lasting hope. These conversations occur when a grateful homeowner walks out in his or her yard and sees a team of volunteers sharing their time and talent to bless another. "How and why do you do these things?" is often the question. This question gives us permission to talk about the Reason for our hope.
After six very productive years Rob leaves behind a bigger, stronger, and focused Good Neighbors that is poised for a strategic expansion into neighboring New Castle County, Delaware. It is our board's hope and plan to leverage the structure and experience to move just over the state line to continue the work of "Repairing Homes and Restoring Hope". You will be hearing more about this in the months to come.
We have a new Board Chair, Bud Swenson. Please pray for our team as we listen to the Lord and submit our will to Him and His plans for Good Neighbors. Lastly, please call or write with any ideas or suggestions to make us more effective and impactful. I am confident that there is much more Kingdom impact ahead of us!
Plans are firming up for the 17th Annual Good Neighbors Youth Camp to be held July 17-22, 2016. Avondale Presbyterian Church (APC) will again be our host. Nearly 50 senior-high youth and their leaders will spend the week working with skilled Good Neighbors staff and volunteers to "Repair Homes and Restore Hope" for multiple low-income families in southern Chester County. Youth camp is always our busiest week of the year, and 2016 will be no exception. At the end of each workday, the teams will shower at the Kennett or Jennersville YMCA and return to APC for dinner. Each evening, our youth volunteers will gather for sharing of fun, fellowship and discipleship. We are excited to welcome back Rev. Joshua Knott as the evening program leader. In addition to being Good Neighbors' Chaplain, Josh serves as associate pastor at Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Newark, DE. Please pray for a safe, productive and enriching week.
By Rev.Joshua Knott, Chaplain (Associate Pastor of Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Newark, DE)
Philippians 2:3-4 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Humility is unnatural. A quick glance at the world or at our hearts proves it. This is why the apostle Paul exhorts us to humility and a few verses later points to Jesus as the ultimate example. Jesus, he tells us, laid aside the privileges of deity to take on humanity in order to be crucified for sinners; those who by nature and choice did not feel like they needed a Savior and did not want a Lord. This kind of humility is not only unnatural, it is supernatural. This is how the Philippians are called to relate to those around them. Whatever their title, whatever their position, their privilege is to lay their privileges aside. Whatever their vocational calling their spiritual calling is to consider those around them, or 'beneath' them, as 'above' them. This is why we do what we do at Good Neighbors. This is why we give to Good Neighbors, because we count our low-income neighbors as more significant than ourselves. And in humility is how we strive to do it, following Jesus' example.