January 30, Live Oak, Lockhart, TX
Everybody knows, in Texas, they do it 'BIG'!
That, in a nutshell, is what you will experience if you were to live in Live Oaks community. This is what I would call a big 'Super-Bowl' type of community. Oh, they may not play football here, but the 'spirit' of a Super Bowl is definitely here. This is a community that takes great pride in where they live and in helping each other. Ultimately isn't that what the 'Super Bowl' spirit is about anyway? Isn't it about taking pride in your team, going all-in, and being willing to do whatever it takes to win? At Live Oaks, this IS what it's about, and not only in the community but the broader community as well.
During Impact Cares time at Live Oaks, we had 68 volunteers come out to help, yes, count them, 68! That included 13 Impact employees, the local Calvary Chapel brought 15, some of which came out for a number of days. Young Life brought 23 volunteers, including one of their leaders who had to apologize for being a bit late on Saturday – she had ridden her bike 48 miles to get there! That's dedication on display! Rounding out this list of volunteers were 17 who came from the community itself. Community pride was on display everywhere you looked!
When it comes to being a 'Super Bowl' community, attitude is everything. One lady and her son, who live in a home that needed some 'TLC' (tender loving care J), started cleaning their yard and hauling stuff to the dumpster. When these folks found out they were getting a new deck on Saturday, they spent Friday tearing out the old one, making way for the new one. On Saturday, they helped not only build their own deck but helped with other projects for their neighbors as well. It isn't too hard to see that attitude is everything, no matter what the circumstances we find ourselves in. You could live in a mansion, but if you are a 'glass half empty' or 'glass is always empty' rather than looking for what is good and right and opportunities to invest in others, your life will be miserable. But it doesn't have to be. Live Oaks proves that building community, lending a helping hand, and looking forward to what lies ahead rather than where you may find yourself today is what counts.
"THIS is what life is all about!" said one high school girl with tears in her eyes. So not only is Live Oaks a 'Super Bowl' type of community, but it is also a 'seeing-beyond-the-end-of-your-nose' type of community! This place was bursting at the seams with those who looked beyond themselves to see a need and fill it. Here's a great example. After lunch, some of the Young Lifers were asked to play a few games with the kids from the community. After about 20 minutes, the kids, yes, the kids came and asked, 'Can we stop playing and get back to work?" That's what I call having a heart to go and do rather than sit and take!
Another couple, we'll call them the community' grandparents,' always had a crowd of kids hanging around their place. All it took was a huge picnic table and a heart to see beyond themselves, and this couple's house and backyard was the hangout place. Impact Cares built them a new picnic table so the kids could continue to enjoy their favorite place. Along with this were the local Calvary Chapel volunteers who truly embodied seeing beyond themselves. A number came out during the week and helped on several projects. Pastor Pete, the local boxing coach, Pastor Will, and others all came and began building relationships with the kids. They were also a huge help at Camp Impact with the kids coming, listening, and a number giving their lives to Christ! Another of their number, Thomas, recently started 'Meet the Need,' a ministry designed to help meet residents' very practical needs in terms of fixing things or helping them out.
This, 'see beyond yourself' was also exemplified by the local police. Two officers came to accept a plaque given by Impact Cares to encourage and bless them for all they do. While these two officers were there, they 'deputized' several of the kids, again encouraging the kids to look beyond and help others as they can.
Let me close with a few quotes. After playing soccer with simple pop-up goals, one of the kids said, 'This is the BEST park EVER!" When our kids have this attitude, the future is bright for a community. Maria, the Community Manager, noted, "The "Impact" you and the teams made for TXLO Oak will forever live in our hearts. I noticed that the people we helped are now reaching out to see how they can 'pay it forward!' What a great community Live Oaks is, and once again, Impact Cares, you invested into a community that will reap dividends for years to come!
Russ Ooms on behalf of Impact Cares