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Posts Tagged ‘Open Table Nashville’

Story by Bart Dalton and Allie Osborne. Photos and video by Sean Cook and Bart Dalton.

A Tiny Bit of HeavenIn June 2016, a group of FBC’s youths, college students, and adult leaders embarked on a mission to change the lives of the homeless community in Nashville, TN. We were invited by Open Table Nashville to use our limited, but ambitious, carpentry skills and our hunger to help build three “tiny homes.” Once completed, these homes would become part of a larger housing neighborhood for homeless people.

Each home has a tiny bathroom, tiny kitchen, sitting area, bedroom loft, and tiny front porch. The houses are equipped with electricity and running water. However, these are not the most important aspects of the houses. Rather, they provide a way for homeless men and women to instantly become, well – non-homeless. These tiny houses are designed for people to reside in for one year and then move on to low-income housing. Open Table Nashville is dedicated to rehabilitating the homeless community. The most effective way to do this is to give them homes, with the expectation that they will re-enter society as stable participants.A Tiny Bit of Heaven

A Tiny Bit of HeavenIn the 2015-16 winter, 80 homeless people died in Nashville. They were not ill; they were not killed or harmed by others. They simply did not have access to shelter when the temperatures dropped and were forced to sleep outside. These 80 people did not wake up.

Heartbreaking statistics fueled our plans but a one-week timetable was just not enough to complete all three tiny homes. Our work turned out to be the foundation, literally and figuratively, for other groups to continue this ministry.

A Tiny Bit of HeavenAs with every mission trip, there was an aspect greater than the physical results. We did so much more than show up, help out for a week, and leave feeling good about our work. We were given the opportunity to work alongside the homeless, eat meals with them, and visit their shelters. Seeing so many in need and having the ability to do so little to help was a humbling and powerful experience. It was no longer the homeless community that needed our help. It was David and Helen and Steve, our friends, who were suffering. We saw their lives as more than a statistic and more than a stigma. This trip was special because it left us feeling broken for the people we met, and confident that God had used our group, and would continue to use other groups like us, to minister to, worship with, and love the homeless of Nashville.

A Tiny Bit of HeavenBack in RVA, we continue our ministry to the homeless. Steve Blanchard connected us, physically and spiritually, with our local homeless community. Using our new skills and thirst for this ministry, the FBC youths are leading ministry meetings with the homeless on Wednesday nights at the West Marshall Building in Scott’s Addition. We are building relationships with them through discussions, Bible study, worship, and games. With God’s direction, our youths’ ambitions, and FBC’s support, lives are being changed, and a tiny bit of Heaven has come to Nashville and Richmond.

View a video feature from the Nashville mission by Sean Cook.


Bart Dalton

Bart Dalton is the Minister to Students at First Baptist Church. He is married to Marianne, and they have two sons, Joey and Robbie. Bart believes that we learn and grow best when we work together and when we play together. He enjoys creating ways for students and parents to work side-by-side, and to play absolutely epic and mind-blowing games.

Allie Osborne

Allie Osborne, a student at Christopher Newport University, studies Communication with a concentration in Rhetorical Criticism. She grew up at FBC, where she was active in Youth 2 Sunday school, Choir and Girls’ Ensemble. In 2016 Allie served as a summer intern with the Youth Ministry; she looks forward to a future in ministry.

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