After months of prayer, hard work, and partnering with community members, it finally arrived.
Hundreds of families and children gathered at Zion Lutheran Church in Hillsboro, MO on August 1st, 2015 for their first annual Grace Day. Participants had the opportunity to procure school supplies, adult & children’s clothing, shoes, haircuts, family photos, dental checkups, sports physicals, household items, tools, and Bibles.
But this was just the beginning.
“The church is fired up,” says Tim Krysl, congregation president. “People are lining up to lead new ideas for ministry in the congregation.”
Zion Hillsboro’s Grace Day brought every hand on deck. From personal shoppers to parking attendants, everyone had a role – and everyone left with a story.
Grace Day served local neighbors from Hillsboro and as far away as Hawk Point, MO. “People came from all over,” said Krysl. “There were Illinois license plates in the parking lot.”
He added, “The need was wider and greater than I think many of us realized.”
Working alongside community partners, Zion put the word out as far as they could – local radio advertised the event, schools and social service agencies shared the fliers with families. The high school football team volunteered to help manage parking, and local dentists, nurse practitioners, photographers, and hair stylists donated their time and talent to serve their neighbors in need. Jim Butler Chevrolet sent auto mechanics to do basic maintenance, and donations from Buchheits, Payless, Kohl’s, Schnucks, the Lions’ Club, and the local Gideon Bible chapter rounded out the day.
Even with all the help, church members were there to greet and serve their neighbors.
“People were praying with one another, church members played with children and fed babies while their parents got food and school supplies. Some of the personal shoppers made relationships with the people they helped and have continued that relationship on their own. One shopper helped a family join us for church the following Sunday” said Krysl.
The church is now looking for ways to walk alongside the community more regularly. “We’ve realized how much we can help. Before, we were just a church who you’d notice if you drove by on Sunday. Now we know what we can do.”
As for what comes next? The congregation is continuing to pray and work alongside partners in the community to discern their next steps.
Says Krysl, “[Grace Day] Woke us up. We can’t be the same anymore.”