We were taught from a very young age to do well in school, get good grades so we could get into the best college, or to try hard at a particular interest or activity to get into the best college, so we could graduate from college, get a high paying job, buy a home, then buy a larger home with room for the growing family and all our stuff, then buy more / better stuff, make more money, get more stuff… You get the picture.
Our family was living this lifestyle. Always working to upgrade our things; car, furniture, landscaping, etc. We found that we were spending 60 hours a week in an office, 30 hours a week maintaining (cleaning the pool and house, mowing, weeding, trimming, fixing up, re-arranging, decorating, and entertaining). Is this the life that God intended for us? There are only 168 hours in a week. Were we really supposed to be spending over half our week working to maintain this lifestyle? The “quality time” we spent with our kids was usually while we worked in the yard or did other chores together. And whatever we had left, that tiny bit of energy at the end of the week, we would give to God on Sunday morning.
In November of 2009 we sold everything and moved into an RV, our ministry command post. This lifestyle change enabled us to move and serve at His will. We served under bridges, in soup kitchens, worked with human trafficking and prostitution ministries. We searched out and served towards the pain in our communities.
As we listened to God’s voice with our families call to service the name He gave us for the ministry was “Wear Gloves”. We put on our gloves when the work is hard and as the Apostle put it in Matt. 9:37 “the harvest is plentiful and the workers are few”.
As we served and immersed into those distressed cultures around the country we learned that service was often not helpful and often disrespectful, we learned how service made those being served feel. We first hand dealt with tough questions; should I give a homeless person money? When is it appropriate to help a family with housing needs? Do I look down on anyone because of their position in society? Do I value myself because I was made in the image of God or because of my job, family, church, home, etc.? When I give distressed family money for food, what are the unintended consequences of that action? And more importantly do I care? Is our service about actually loving someone or about me feeling good about what I have done?
In 2014 we established the ministry home base in Ocala, FL. In our travels we learned that distressed folks do not feel comfortable worshiping in our corporate churches. We also learned that although more than 50% of our countries homeless work fulltime or part-time they remain in severe poverty. We attacked these needs with the following initiatives;
Church in the Garden – a worship service outside under a large oak tree where the service is primarily ran by distressed folks.
The Dignity Center – a place where those in need can earn what they need, breaking the cycle of dependency. If a person needs a bike, tent, work boots, or whatever, they can come into the center and work for that need.
As the Lord is shaping and focusing our ministry, our daily prayer is that we continue to offer Him our first and best of all that we have.
Peace in Him,
Ken and Wendy Kebrdle