I know, but what do you actually do?

I have a very clear memory of the day my journey with Desire Street Ministries began – for real.  I had met Danny and the staff a few times as we were beginning the process of developing a strategic plan and after hearing someone describe the importance of encouragement and the mission of the ministry, I asked, “I know, but what do you actually do?”  I mean, do you build houses, do you collect clothing, do you endow scholarships…I was so stuck in my small, operationally focused world of getting things done, that I had completely missed the message of encouragement.

It took me about two years to truly appreciate the meaning and the value of encouragement.  The turning point for me struck like a bolt of lightning.  During a long flight from Atlanta to San Francisco one night, I decided to immerse myself in an examination of conscience.  I was reading a book that explored God’s grace and our sinfulness.  By the time we touched down in San Francisco, I was paralyzed with fear.  I was horrified by my sinfulness.  I was in tears.  I was broken.

While I had not known Danny for more than six months, I decided to send a text message to him; I don’t even remember what I said.  It was 9pm in California and midnight in Atlanta – what was I thinking?  Clearly, he picked up on my panic because my phone rang in less than five minutes.  We talked; he encouraged me.  THAT’S IT!  He gave me the encouragement that I needed at just the right time.

Over the next few years, Danny and I would dive deeper into the topic of salvation and grace.  I had the opportunity to visit Desire Street partners in New Orleans and Montgomery.  I found myself drawing ever closer to Danny and the staff.

When people ask me about Desire Street Ministries today, the first word out of my mouth to describe what they actually do is…encouragement.

Jonathan Colehower
DSM Board Chair

1 thought on “I know, but what do you actually do?”

  1. Thanks Jonathan, but I only did what any Christian would do. However, our partners tell us that this “ministry of encouragement” has been not only helpful, but critical, to keeping them on the field.

    I really appreciate all you and our other Board members do to provide such great direction, oversight and accountability for this ministry.

    God bless,

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