Blog from Kristy Engel….

Later this year, the Parkway family will have an opportunity to help mold the minds of four young adults from Brisbane, Australia. I will be leading these four individuals on a trip around the world, called “Hands Around the World”, with the purpose of introducing them to healthy ministry outreach that follows the When Helping Hurts model. We will travel to seven countries over two months and start here in Atlanta. The group will consist of a nurse, a medical student, a nutrition student and a community development worker who is involved in youth ministry. There will be three women and one young man and they will be here for about a week, starting on November 23rd. And yes, we will host them for their first Thanksgiving!

You might ask, “Why are they coming to Atlanta?” It’s a great question!

We are starting the trip here in the Atlanta area for several reasons. First, I believe our church does urban ministry well, through our participation with Rainbow Village, Norcross Cooperative Ministry, Duluth Middle School support and many of the offerings that we take to support so many other things. As we have changed who, and how, we support because of our understanding of healthy ministry, I believe that we can show these young people what a smaller church is able to do in meeting the needs around them. They will all be coming from a very large church with big budgets and several campuses. I think it is often easy to assume that smaller churches don’t have the same impact so I’m hopeful that we can show them that this simply isn’t true. I also believe that we don’t only give money but actually develop relationships with our community and I would like them to see that side of things.

The second reason is to introduce them to the history of civil rights issues that have faced, and continue to face, the South. As a transplant here, I have an entirely different perspective on what life has been like in this area of the USA, but I do know that it continues to affect a person’s access to health care, social services, the legal system, etc. We will visit the Civil Rights Museum and then hopefully have a panel of persons that will be able to address some of the current (and past) issues facing the South. I am making this a part of our trip because in every country that we visit, civil rights will affect access to care. This is a safe place for them to ask questions and to begin to see things that we would otherwise overlook.

I need your help for this trip to be meaningful! I also need volunteers to host the four individuals. I would like to have three homes made available for the team and I will also host one person. You would be responsible for food and housing while they stay with you and if you’re in town for Thanksgiving, then they could join you at that meal. This will be an amazing opportunity to learn about each of them, their goals for the future as well as why this trip is so important. They are all wonderful young adults and would bless any home they visit. Please consider opening your home to one of them and let me or Dr. King know if you are interested. We will also be arranging transportation as we visit sites, so maybe this is how you could help. I’ll call on others to help work with our ministry partners in arranging visits. I want to thank you, in advance, for helping to mold the minds and hearts of these who will visit. I believe it will be a great beginning to a life-changing world tour.