By Tina Montgomery
I want to tell you about a group of men who blessed my family today. A group of men who believe that serving as the hands and feet of Jesus takes place outside the walls of the church sanctuary and not merely by offering prayers. Allow me to provide some background about this encounter:
A couple of weeks ago, the railing on the wheelchair ramp at my parent’s house gave way and caused my mother to fall. This is a wheelchair ramp that has been used for nearly 10 years since my father became disabled after brain surgery. My parents are in their 80s. My mother could have been injured very badly. Since they are on a fixed income it was going to take awhile to get this repaired; meanwhile, it was a potential hazard whenever my parents had to use the ramp.
I remembered reading on Facebook about a man named Chris Plants who organized a group of men who love Jesus and practice His ministry by serving those in need within their community. I’m talking about the group known as Men of Courage. Apparently, Men of Courage is a nation wide movement to encourage and equip men… fathers, husbands, brothers, sons…to become spiritual leaders in their communities. They come together to honor God and try to make the world a better place.
One of the ways Men of Courage carry out their ministry is to build wheelchair ramps for veterans and other people in need. I contacted Chris about 10 days ago about helping my parents because I’m a firm believer that if you don’t ask someone for something, you never know what the answer could have been. Chris answered my message within minutes and asked me to send photos of the damage so he could see what he could do.
Within a couple of days, one of the members, Lane Hedrick, who is an engineer, came out to assess what would be needed to repair this broken railing on the ramp. This Thursday morning, he showed up with five men, including Chris, to not only fix the broken rail but repair the railings on each side and the bottom half of the ramp.
When you meet Chris, you immediately know that he not only “talks the talk but walks the walk” in his Christian faith and service. His enthusiasm in his faith is infectious and you can tell it comes from a pure heart. I talked with him as the other men worked so I could thank him properly for coming out. He assured me that no money was expected; he and the other men were doing what God led them to do. I had heard other similar promises years ago when my father was undergoing brain surgery to save his life. Until today, no one ever delivered on those promises of help and spiritual support like I witnessed today.
Chris told me how he came to organize this local chapter of Men of Courage. It’s a long story that’s best told another time but in short, he did it because he heard God tell him to do so when he was at a low point in life. He says the membership has grown because he doesn’t pressure anyone to join. The Men of Courage events usually have speakers, music, and a meal. What he says when he talks to other men about Men of Courage is “ Come have a chicken fried steak with me. That’s all.”
The wheelchair ramp they repaired for my parents today is their fifth project since May of this year. Chris says they have 3 more scheduled to build at the moment. When I thanked each of the men, everyone expressed the same feeling, “It was a blessing to come out to help you.”
Today, my family was blessed by men who love God and their community and desire to help others. I was blessed by meeting Chris Plants today, a man who not only talks the talk but walks the walk. With all the bad things that have happened recently in our little town, it’s nice to know there is still good out there. So, God bless you Chris Plants for inviting others to share your faith and commitment to serve others as well as a chicken fried steak. Keep doing good…and “Give ‘em Jesus.”
(Tina Montgomery is a digital journalist for The Webster Parish Journal.)
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