I had the great privilege of speaking in several churches during the fall and winter months. The opportunity to be present on days where the women of the Church were recognizing their various Missions was an added blessing. Their sense of mission is strong and their commitment to make a difference is inspirational.
I grew up in the Methodist Church. My mother and father spent much of their time involved with the work of the church. They became even stronger supporters of Red Bird Mission after they heard a speaker one Sunday. As a young person struggling to discern my path after graduating from college, my parents shared the work of Red Bird and suggested that I might consider becoming a volunteer for a year. The rest, as they say, is history.
Red Bird is held dear in the hearts of many that have received its ministries, have come and visited these mountains, or have aided the work in other ways throughout the decades. The Mission has remained a constant stalwart of support in the Red Bird community since its beginning in 1921. While the world has changed, many of the challenges that were first recognized in 1921 by J.J. DeWall, along with Miss Bowman and Miss Walsh from the Women’s Aid, remain the truths today. Through documents, stories and writings, it is clear that the purpose, in the early days, was to provide education and health care to people of this region who struggled to find both. The vision of that purpose remains in the forefront of all that is done. The economically challenged, geographic area served by the people of Red Bird Mission remains among the most challenging places to live.
Times are lean at Red Bird Mission and Red Bird Clinic. We stand on faith and work hard to deliver what the Lord has led us to do in action and deed. When I worry, I am reminded of faith. In John 6: 1-14, Jesus sat on a mountain and looked at the very large crowd that had been following him. He asked Phillip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” His disciples seemed baffled and worried – there was only a boy with five loaves and two fish. But Jesus knew where the sustenance would come from. He took the loaves and fish, gave thanks to God, and proceeded to distribute more than enough food to the crowd of 5,000 that were present. All those present ate their fill, and then the disciples gathered up what was left over.
Jesus showed us God’s love and power. He taught us to stand on faith, to believe, to give thanks, and rejoice in the gifts that are given. But we are called, in return, to live our faith. James 2: 14-18 says: 14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.
We are called to be “do-ers” here at Red Bird, to show our faith by our deeds. We stand on faith that the five loaves and two fishes will turn into an abundance to serve others. Miracles and blessings are present in our daily lives. To those that continue to support the work we do, please accept our heartfelt gratitude. For those that have supported us in the past, please know that God’s work in not done. For those who are only learning about Red Bird, please visit, read about us, call and talk with us. Stand with us as we show our faith by our deeds.