Abundant Living Vol. VII, Issue 49

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”
– Hebrews 10:24

Rand and Colleen Southard have devoted their lives to disadvantaged children. How? Among other things they run summer camp programs for children with severe learning differences such as dyslexia, autism, Asperger’s syndrome, and ADHD. But for many years they also operated a residential treatment facility for boys with the same learning disorders who had also suffered various kinds of physical and emotional abuse. Most had become wards of the State, some were essentially homeless. What Rand and Colleen provided and continue to provide this particular population of youth – besides basic needs and a positive environment – is goodness and love, the only thing that gives them any hope for a positive future. Their life work has produced some amazing results.

Lanell Armstrong has also devoted her life to disadvantaged children. How? She gave up a quite comfortable ordinary middle class life for an extraordinary one, to live among the poor in a rough gang and drug infested neighborhood of east Dallas. Over the past twenty years she has rescued dozens upon dozens of young boys and teenagers from the gang and drug culture, by befriending them, taking them into her home, tutoring them, loving them and exposing them to God and His goodness. Some still succumb to a lifestyle of gangs and drugs, often times landing in jail or prison. But even then Lanell does not give up on them, and because of that many have returned, some becoming helpers and leaders in her mission. Like Rand and Colleen, what Lanell provides more than anything else is goodness and love, which is the only thing that gives these children any hope for a positive future. Her life work has produced some amazing results.

In witnessing the the good works of Rand and Colleen and Lanell I am at once awed, humbled, and inspired – awed by their goodness, humbled by how little I’ve done in comparison, yet inspired to try to do more. And that’s the point, isn’t it, to “spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” Thanks be to God for people like Rand, Colleen, and Lanell.

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