Another busy week, filled with lots of activity that will bear both short- and long-term benefit for the gospel cause in Waco.
|Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce|
The conversation was focused and lively. When the discussion turned to the issue of generational poverty, I suggested that we "work backwards" and consider root causes rather than just the obvious symptoms. We then talked about the importance of helping young people (perhaps as early as elementary school age) catch the vision of the importance of everything from school success and simple money management to manners, comportment, grooming, and other factors that affect the ability to get and keep a job. I asked if any organizations in town provide a mentoring program for young people. One man at the table said his organization tried to provide mentoring "but ran out of money." I asked what money had to do with it. He said: "Well, we had to pay the mentors." Call me naive, but I was stunned. From my Latter-day Saint perspective, it never occurred to me that anyone who's really serious about lifting people up would need to be "paid." I then learned that virtually every "poverty" program in town relies heavily on paid staff, with only a few volunteers.
I have an idea about establishing a mentoring program that could (1) make a significant long-term difference in Waco's struggle with poverty, and (2) encourage the city's many faith communities to collaborate in ways they've not done before. As the idea is fleshed out, we'll report on this blog.
In any event, I was grateful to be invited to participate with the Prosper Waco organization. In addition to getting acquainted with the mayor, I also met the president of the Chamber of Commerce and the leaders of multiple businesses and non-profits. We expect the connections we're making to be a major factor in our efforts to help the community.
|Waco Zone Conference, 10 April 2015|
|The Waco Stake Center|
We were blessed to host Rodney and Kimberlee Ames as
our overnight guests during stake conference. (Rodney is
our mission president.) They are dear friends from our
hometown of Liberty, Missouri. We love being with them.
As a treat to our grandchildren (and ourselves), we've invited Kermit to accompany us on our mission. You'll be seeing more of him in the future. This past week, Kermit met many new friends in the army of missionaries. He was a big hit, and has been adopted as official mascot in this part of the Texas Fort Worth Mission.
Kermit with some of his new friends at the Waco South Zone Council meeting.
|Kermit waxes strong in confidence.|