Dan Hayes, founder of Orchard, would be the first to tell you that without that initial community there to believe in the ideas he was convicted of 25+ years ago, there would be no Orchard. He says, “The people [of Orchard] are big hearted and are always seeking to build bridges outside of their comfort zones. I think the people in Orchard recognize that everyone is an image bearer of God and that’s why we are still here after all these years. Not many ministries have that in their DNA.”
At Orchard we have a generous community of supporters; one that gives selflessly of their time, money and prayers on a regular basis. For all 25 years of our existence, our community has been there to rally around us, willing to support a seemingly new idea of serving outside the four walls of the church. This commitment to our mission is what has kept longtime stakeholders, like Charlie and Elizabeth Brooks, around to champion the work that Orchard continues to do for good.
Elizabeth Brooks has a beautiful story of salvation, one that Orchard has played a significant part in. Regularly attending church, connected with her community and even participating in a weekly Bible study, Elizabeth understood that to be all she really needed to do for her faith. When she came in contact with the people of Orchard, both staff and volunteers, she was blown away by a team doing more than just “doing good thing,” as she says. “I was working with these wonderful people who LOVED the Lord, and I was also being drawn to attend an evening class on evangelism which was taught by Dan. The first day’s homework was to figure out what our purpose in life is. As I began to search for my purpose, the Lord was drawing me into a personal relationship with Him. I am forever grateful to Dan and Orchard for being the conduit to my completely changed life!”
The journey did not stop there for Elizabeth and Charlie, they were seeing real work happen within Orchard. They understood that Orchard was helping inspire others the same way Elizabeth would be. Orchard was inspiring Christ-followers to launch and lead creative initiatives to serve others. Through being on staff for 11 years, leading her own tennis ministry, and being an Orchard Board member, Elizabeth has seen firsthand how God has worked for 25 years through Orchard by changing countless lives.
The story of Elizabeth’s salvation obviously changed the course of her life and how she chose to serve and love others through the Gospel. This transformation did not go unnoticed by her family. Her family was so moved by her transformation that they generously contributed a sizable “Rainy Day” fund that is critical to Orchard’s sustainability. This type of commitment and generous support of our cause is what allows Orchard to continue to live out our mission. It’s because of this type of commitment and encouragement that Orchard can be here for good.
The Brooks’ have been supporters of Orchard for all 25 years of our work. We are grateful for their encouragement and how they believe in the work that we do to equip Christ followers to launch and lead their own initiatives. I think Elizabeth summed it up most clearly when she told us why she is around for good with Orchard. She states, “God is here for good, and I am confident that He will continue to add ministries and change lives through Orchard.”