We are in the middle of an annual event at Fresh Life called Rock This City. It all started when we studied the book of Nehemiah and saw his heart to build up the glorious ruins of Jerusalem. God filled us with a desire to do the same in the state of Montana. During this 10 day period we are in a full-on blitz to unleash Christ’s love right where we live. This is now the fourth summer in a row we have done this and it is one of the most special things on our calendar. We have enjoyed it so much that we have opened it up to other churches and it has been awesome to see different churches working together.
Though the “ask” from each person is small — six hours in the course of 10 days — the end result is massive. It is amazing to think that through community service, collaboration with the Parks and Rec departments and partnerships with non-profits we are able to donate thousands and thousands and thousands of hours of work. In some cases getting projects done that a city didn’t have the time or resources to take on. Everyone who serves gets a shirt and so as you drive around town or cruise around Instagram you are seeing #rockthiscity in action.
This year we have ramped up the focus on families serving together. Children have always been allowed to participate but this year we have made it a point to foster and encourage their involvement like never before. Seeing kids in tiny little Rock This City shirts are definitely adorable, but I love the fact that the kids of Fresh Life are learning to love and serve their community while spending quality time with their parents.
I’ll admit that there is a sadness mixed in with the excitement of all of this. Today marks exactly eight months since Lenya’s departure. Approaching Rock This City for the first time without her has been hard. Doing events together as a family is always a blast and it was very challenging to “suit up” and head to our events without her by our side. The first activity we picked was cleaning up a neighborhood park that had been severely neglected. There were so many weeds coming through the gravel all around the playground equipment that you couldn’t tell there were even rocks under it all. As we were getting ready to go and brought out our gardening equipment from the garage there were her little princess gloves sitting there. Deep breath in.
I couldn’t help but think of last summer. Our final event we did was a “choose your own adventure” meaning that it wasn’t planned but one we came up with as a family. We decided to bake cookies and bring them to City Hall, the Fire-station and to local paramedics. The girls spent a long time in the kitchen baking and then we made our rounds handing out boxes with notes saying thanking them for serving us. Even Clover, then a baby, was wearing a custom-made RTC shirt.
A few of the firefighters were super kind. They gave the girls a tour and showed them where the ambulances and firetrucks were parked. None of us could know then that one of those same vehicles would carry her to the hospital in four months. I love that Lenya got to show Jesus’ love to the same people that would heroically try to save her life. I was told by one of the paramedics later on that two of the EMT’s came to Fresh Life on Christmas eve in her honor and responded to the invitation. God works all things together for good. Nothing is wasted.