Compassion Inspires

In the early morning hours once a month, as a truckload of Feed the Valley food pallets is unloaded, a neighborhood begins to emerge to help pack and distribute 150 food boxes. They greet Cody and Lilly Wing, the neighborhood’s missionaries through Take the City’s Project Lifehouse– strategically placed homes that reach the neighborhood community for Christ.

A few years earlier, Steve & Kristen Bedsole discovered during COVID that food drives would be beneficial for the neighborhood. A local church, the Verge, with Pastor Chuck Odum, was inspired to come alongside and help. That’s when the Wings came on the scene.

As time passed, the Wings realized that the neighbors desired a true community– they were already holding block parties, for instance– but weren’t clear on the next thing to do to make it a reality, until the monthly food drives inspired them. “We found the heart of the neighborhood, which was not just come, get, go,” Cody said. “When they saw we were committed, they began to not only pick up a box, but began to help to distribute them and set up/tear down. They started serving each other.” 

“Every month as we get together,” Lilly shared, “we pick one word we want to speak over our neighborhood and pray into that. They’re always ready to pray over what they want to see decrease and what needs to increase.” The sense of community addresses intangibles like loneliness and hopelessness and tangibly lifts the spirits of everyone involved. 

People are also drawn to the Wings’ Lifehouse and frequently visit. One adolescent boy came onto the porch, just because “it feels comfortable and makes me feel safe.” Since then, he has started to hang out with Cody, helping him with projects.“Forging relationships are the key in trying to build community,” Cody reflected.

Even those still trapped in addiction come around and help every month, explaining, “Y’all are good people and are doing good things.” “Ultimately,” said Lilly, with Cody nodding in agreement, “we show them the One True good thing.” 

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My first encounter with Take the City was going to Wilson Apartments in Columbus GA. We were met by a man from that neighborhood who prayed with us before we began the outreach. We set up an area for the kids to play and others went door to door witnessing and praying for people. It truly was a humbling experience. Another time I got to pray at an abortion clinic which was another humbling experience. The worship services the night before are always dynamic and spirit led. However I will conclude with the best part for me was being an eight week participant of Take the City boot camp. All of the leaders were simply AWESOME and I learned so much during those eight weeks. I thank God for all these wonderful opportunities!

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