Love is a Verb
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Every other Sunday morning, a white truck parks at the southern entrance to Grace Park. A long line of hungry breakfasters gathers for some home cooking: coffee, biscuits and gravy, bananas. The guests are local people, who live in the park, nearby, or at Haven of Rest. They help themselves to coffee--it’s early. The night fog is just lifting as I arrive; in the winter, the truck will set up before dawn.
Lisa Rowland had the idea for Love is a Verb, as the ministry is called, a few years ago, and it grew from there. “It was just our family,” she said, “and then people kept coming. We don’t have any official backing; it’s just the people who show up. They started coming--” she points to a volunteer and her children “--and then people started donating, and it just snowballed."
A short hour and a half later, it’s time to clean up. Lisa and her family and volunteers start tidying up their space, and a guest asks for an extra garbage bag to pick up trash in the park. Everyone packs up to go about their Sunday business.
“It’s called Grace Park,” Lisa says. “That’s what it should be, and what it can be.”
Love is a Verb accepts tax-deductible donations through Hartville Mennonite Church with Love is a Verb in the memo line.
The truck itself was donated by First Mennonite Church in Hartville, which Lisa and her family attend. “It’s actually an old alpaca trailer. We scrubbed and we scrubbed and we scrubbed and finally we painted it to get the smell out.” They installed shelving to store supplies for their guests--toiletries, water bottles, clothes, the miscellaneous donations they receive--and a space for coats. “In the winter that’ll be full,” Lisa says, pointing to her supply of coats, “and in an hour and half, it’ll be empty. We just give away anything that we get.”
People, both guests and volunteers, have written their names and hopes on the door of the truck, which reads “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”“God is good!” -- Anthony
“Rock on 4Evr in Jesus”
“Thank you for all you do for us.” -- Dale
“Yes I can!” -- Denise