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building a community to reach a community

ECHOing God’s Message


ECHO 2012 was one of the best and most tiring weeks of my life. I chose to participate in ECHO simply because I love to help people and I wanted to connect with others at GFC. Walking into the East Tennessee Christian Home and Academy (ETCHA) on the first night, I was nervous about meeting other GFCers and unsure of what I was about to encounter. Throughout the week at ETCHA, I met many GFCers and had opportunities to talk with some of the girls living in the home. The girls baked us cookies and were quick to see if we needed anything, very excited to have the walls of their home away from home painted. Initially I had signed up for just a few days at ETCHA, but I found myself walking up the brick steps of the house every day that week, determined to finish the projects we’d started.

Our project had been to paint one hallway, but extra paint and extra help resulted in the painting of the kitchen, a bedroom, and hallway twice as long as the first one. Volunteers from throughout the week pulled together to make sure that we finished every wall we’d started painting. Late Friday night, it was just me, a roller, and the rest of an incredibly long hallway that needed painting. I spent hours alone in the basement of the home, praying and singing along with 88.3, and only God-willing did I finish painting that hallway. I left with a very strong feeling that God had placed me alongside those volunteers at ETCHA for a reason that week, and knowing that He intended for me to keep serving others in any way I could.

I could barely move on Saturday morning, after a full week of painting, but I got out of bed and headed for Fire Station #9, near Winged-Deer Park. I had picked up food from the Church and stopped for an excessive amount of popsicles for the firefighters—because it was summer and fire is hot—only to find only two firefighters on duty at the station. They didn’t realize we were coming, and were happy to have company for a couple of hours. They promised to save popsicles for the rest of the squad. The opportunity to serve those who serve me was incredible.

Nothing could stop me from serving during ECHO this year. I was able to work around my work schedule and sign up with Backyard Bible Camp, Rise Up!, and Towne Acres Elementary. It’s going to be a long week!

For those who haven’t experienced ECHO, I’d highly encourage it. Not only did I meet many people throughout GFC, but I got to see first-hand the impact that can be made throughout a community, all while sharing God’s word and love with others. Even if you can only commit for a few hours at one location, do it! It’s God’s way of working through you to share His message.

Michelle Bradburn

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