“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; does not it spring forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a pathway in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:18-19 from the Holy Bible.
This is the key verse that members of Fort Scott Church of the Nazarene (FSCN) chose to begin a new ministry.
The ministry is called Pathways and it is a partnership with other churches and individuals within Bourbon County to reach those who want out of self-destructive life choices.
It started when FSCN members Mike Watson and Jimmie Jones were conversing about the Celebrate Recovery, a group that meets at the church.
“We get these folks in jail, some are ready for something else,” David Goodyear, coordinator of Pathways said. “We’ve tried to help them but they get out unannounced and go back to where they came from. We felt like we were letting them go through the gaps.”
That’s when Pathways was birthed.
“We started last fall…with a vision statement,” Goodyear said. “The church board endorsed it. I became the coordinator.”
The Pathways ministry collaborates with Next Steps, a Local Connections to Success Program that is facilitated weekly by community volunteers, that meets on Monday evenings at the First United Methodist Church.
One of the strategies of Pathways is a work program called AgPath. AgPath is an agricultural project where participants will plant, grow, harvest and market vegetables. It is being developed to help hone teamwork skills and provide some earnings for participants.
They had the vision, they needed the means.
Then God stepped in.
“I went to Jody (Hoener) to ask her to help us write a grant for the program,” Goodyear said. “She said there was a grant out there waiting for an idea. She had us apply. (Then) I went to the committee meeting of the Healthy Bourbon County Action Team.”
The Pathways AgPath group received $20,000 to help the program get started.
“We got a new All Terrain Vehicle, planter, tiller, spreader, fertilizer, seed, irrigation equipment and still got a few more (items)to get,” Goodyear said.
“The profit will be shared with others,” Goodyear said. “The Beacon and Feeding Families In His Name.”
Goodyear has started the planting of the acreage, located just off Hwy. 54 near the KOA Campground, with the help of a part-time employee, Malachi Schmidt, Deerfield, Mo.
Corn has been planted on the donated acreage on Hwy. 54. Next will be tomatoes, peppers, green beans and squash, he said.
Two to four people from the Next Steps program will help in the process along with volunteers from the community comprised of William James and Francy Schafer, Kevin and Kerry Wunderly, and Gretchen and David Goodyear.
“We want to work into their lives, to develop kinship,” Goodyear said. “The whole point is to build community.”