Echoing Christ’s Love to Our Community in a Tangible Way

When I received an email in 2018 asking if I would be interested in being an ECHO site leader, my initial reaction was, “no”. With this being a busy season at work, I didn’t think I had the time.  But instead of immediately replying “no”, I decided to pray about it.   After prayer I decided I would do it.  I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do or what, if anything, I was supposed to get from this experience, but I trusted that God knew what He was doing.

My next step was to touch base with the ECHO site that I was assigned to.  The contact person said that their school Liberty Bell Middle School, was up for a redo, courtesy of the school board, and that there would not be anything for us to do that year but they wanted to stay on the list for next year.  At this point I am really thinking, “What am I doing?”  But after talking with the church’s awesome Outreach staff and getting a lead from the school’s contact person, another site was secured in just a few days.  Figuring out what the site was hoping to have completed was easy enough, just a couple of emails with the principal and everything was good to go. I am sure that it helped that the principal had heard of ECHO before and was thrilled to finally have her school on the list of projects.

Fast forward to ECHO Saturday: I was really nervous because I didn’t know what to expect.  While I have participated in ECHO in the past, it was as a volunteer where my only responsibility was to show up and follow instructions.  Now, I was the site leader and everyone would be looking to me for direction. The school was depending on this day to make the front of the school look refreshed and inviting for all who come through the doors.  When I got to the site I saw all the great volunteers that had taken time out of their busy lives to pitch in for the project. The school staff (janitor) was also happy to be there, even though, he had to come in on his day off.   He told me how appreciative they were that we were willing to come and help with the landscaping project. Some of the volunteers chose this project because their children had attended the school and it was a big part of their lives, others were young people who had attended the school. It was awesome to watch everyone work together and to hear stories and laughter.  It was a reminder to me that there is no project that is considered to be too small to make a difference and that God puts the right people where they need to be at the right time. Although it was a really hot and humid Saturday morning, there was an energetic group of volunteers who were there to work and work hard.  We were dirty and sweaty but there was an all-around feeling of pride and accomplishment evidenced by the big smiles on faces.   Our project was a success and the school’s front landscaping looked great but more importantly, we were able to echo Christ’s love to our community in a tangible way.

After having such a wonderful and fun experience last year as site leader and working with a great group of volunteers, I was happy to accept a site leader role again this year, knowing that God is with me and He will provide all the people and resources needed to make the ECHO 2019 project a big success.  I am honored that God and Grace Fellowship Church has allowed me to be part of reaching our community.

Kim Howell


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