Shinefest is a ministry of AZ-One an organization started by a group of businessmen and pastors to bring practical, real help to their neighbors. They paint houses, trim trees, replace gutters, fix screens on doors and windows, hand out quilts, pull weeds, add mulch and landscaping bushes, give oil change gift cards as well as Subway gift cards.
In years past I have loved helping to scrape a house, use my hands to pull weeds and it was an hour to love my neighbor. This year, however, Shinefest was in our neighborhood. I filled out our application, but because of our pride and our fear of not being able to pay for the materials, we did not turn it in. We had two separate friends contact us to let us know this even would be in our neighborhood, and they thought we should throw our property into the hat as well. Still, we did not do it. Then on the day of the kickoff picnic, a dear friend texted me and asked me if she could sign us up. I immediately said, yes, please. I texted back and let her know the projects we needed to be tackled at our house. We walked over to the kick off being held at Memorial Park. Dale Grotson had his Promiseland Train running; kids were bouncing in the bounce house, volunteers prepared the feast and neighbors stood talking among themselves.
We were introduced to Ryan Applegate, a Shinefest volunteer, who said he would introduce us to the project manager to us as soon as he had come back from walking the neighborhood. Soon, Ryan found us and isn’t God funny; the project manager happened to be a good friend of ours, Jim Troe. He sat down beside me and went over the list of things we needed help to fix. He told us to come back the next day, and we could sign the necessary paperwork.
As had been discussed we walked back over to Memorial Park the next day. We signed paperwork, then walked back to our house to talk with a volunteer what needed to be done. He saw not only the projects we had asked for but also asked if they could tackle a few other projects he noticed also required repair.
Soon our yard and breezeway had more volunteers putting their hands and feet to work. Three door knobs were replaced on our screen door, our garage door springs replaced. No longer was our garage door crooked and on the brink of falling off. Men trimmed our trees and hauled the debris away. We were also given a gift card for an oil change at Dave Syverson and Subway gift card. I was in thankful tears for most of the week. These projects weighed on our shoulders and to us seemed impossible to tackle.
God took our impossible and had the tasks completed in four days. We were humbled to be on the receiving end of this generosity. We want to be the ones serving, not being served. We want to tackle life on our own, be independent, but God is showing us more and more, we were never designed to do life on our own. We were created to have a right relationship with Jesus Christ. We were meant to work and play together. We need each other.
Our kids saw the body of Christ loving on our neighbors and us. They experienced Jesus showing up through others. Now, they will be able to give what they can because they know first hand what it feels like to be blessed. As our kids watched the workers the verse, “Train up a child in the way, he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it” came to mind frequently. Together, we are better, stronger, and able to love on a hurting world.
Thank you to everyone who continues to make Shinefest a success. Hearts are being changed; it makes our community look beautiful and makes the impossible happen. I cannot wait until next year when you can be sure; we too will be working beside our neighbors to make their life better.