In 2013 our family’s world
almost changed significantly. Dave had
what seemed to be a very mild heart attack that led to the discovery of severe
coronary artery blockages and quadruple heart bypass surgery. Of the four blockages, one of which was
termed a “widow maker”, the one that collapsed and cause his attack only
resulted in very minor damage to his heart.
God had spared him, and our family, and it was only natural to begin
wondering “for what?” Fast forward 18
months, Carlton Deal is in town and we are standing around the grill on a
relatively mild January evening chatting about his and Shannon’s ministry in
Brussels and Serve the City (STC) in particular. Dave was amazed at how God had grown STC from
a single volunteer event in Brussels to a movement that now stretched to 100
cities around the world. He also felt
led at that point to offer to help Carlton think through what it would take to
transform STC into a sustainable organization that could continue to expand
around the world.
6 months and several emails
later Carlton asked if we would consider providing administrative support for
STC International. This was a role that
capitalized on both of our skills and gifts in organization and operations
management. The need for an operations
group at the international level was later identified as a key part of STC
International’s 2020 vision for the movement.
As Dave was already beginning to consider retiring from NASA in 2017 the
timing certainly seemed right.
Although we were both close
friends and supporters of the Deals for over 25 years we knew we needed a
better understanding of both STC and how it fit in with a philosophy of
reaching people for Jesus. To that end
we decided to take the opportunity to be part of two trips to Brussels in
support of the Deals. In the first,
Cindy went with the Women’s Ministry Team to meet the Women of the Well. This group of women in the Deal’s church
plant in Brussels, The Well, were able to expose that team to many of the
ministries and organizations that SCT works with on a weekly basis and how
serving with them has opened the doors for conversations about Christ. The second trip, on which we both
participated, was in direct support to STC’s Big Volunteer Week. This trip provided us with the opportunity to
see how STC works on the ground level and to have further face-to-face
discussion with Carlton and Shannon on their vision and how we could help to
make it a reality. PCC only supports this event every other year and coupled
with the one-off trip the women we took it as just another example to us of the
providence of God’s timing.
Because of our belief that
serving our community cannot only change lives in the here and now but also
lead both those being served and those serving to Christ, we have taken on the
challenges presented to us by Carlton of initiating Serve the City in Newport
News (for which Cindy serves as the city leader) while also engaging directly
at the international level (Dave leads the Global Operations Team as STC’s
Chief Operating Officer). We rejoice in
being part of the “many people doing small things together” to make a big
City is an international movement mobilizing volunteers to serve in simple ways
- through home repair, yard work, gardening, meals, friendship, and more. We’re
the connection between the good intentions of people who could serve and
meaningful opportunities to get involved.
that’s how it starts; we cross the line from where we are to where the needs
are. But that’s only the beginning. The dream of Serve the City is everyone
serving. As soon as possible, we invite those we have served to serve with us,
because what we really want is to cross the line together. For more
information please go to our web site (STC) or send an email to info@STCnewportnews.com.