Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Middle of NOWHERE

Ever been to Allendale County? My guess is that unless you are from there, or you happen to get really lost on your way to visit the South Carolina coast, the answer is no. Until today, I too would have answered no.

This summer, we will be taking around 130 students and leaders to serve in Allendale over a 10 day period. As a church, we are committed to helping this community that is struggling in many different ways. As I listened to various people share their opinions, passions and desires, it became glaringly obvious that there is work to be done and we can play a role.

A few things that stuck out to me during my quick visit today:

- Allendale County is the poorest county in South Carolina where the average household income is around $18,000 annually.
- 75% of teens are sexually active by the time they are freshman in high school
- Allendale has the highest teen pregnancy rate and infant mortality rate in the state
- The closest mall is at least 1:15 minutes away
- Starbucks may as well be a foreign country
- Clara' s Restaurant serves up some amazing chicken-n-waffles, collard greens, candied yams and cornbread
- 90% of the school teachers do not live in Allendale County
- There are some amazing people like Angela, Joe, Wilbur and Carole who really love God, and their county

From a distance, Allendale county may as well be a a city on another continent from a different time period. But when you take a closer look, Allendale is just like Greenville. A city filled with broken people who are in desperate need of Jesus. I am excited to see how God chooses to use us to be a part of the reconciliation process in Allendale County in the coming weeks, months and years.

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