Dara Cates, a senior at Rockwood High School and #32 on the ladies basketball team, has been selected by Christ In Youth (CIY) to be part of the “Kingdom Worker Crash.” Christ in Youth amplifies the call on students’ lives to become Kingdom workers through trips, events, and resources. It was on one of these trips that Dara was challenged by one of the resources that are provided. Dara was one of twenty from over 49,000 students that attended CIY events in 2013.
You may be asking, “What is a Kingdom Challenge Card?” The Kingdom Challenge is a card sealed in an envelope that is passed out after completing a week at the CIY MOVE event. The students are not required to open the cards but must commit to completing the challenge held within the sealed card before they open the card. Some of the cards hold challenges as difficult as feeding 500 families for Thanksgiving or providing 500 coats for children that need them. Other challenges include committing to studying one Bible personality every week, learning a foreign language and going on a mission trip to a country that speaks that language, or even drinking nothing but tap water for one year while studying the world’s water shortage.
The challenge Dara received in 2012 was to adopt an elderly couple to visit and serve by doing yard work, dishes or other tasks that they needed help with for one year. Initially, Dara had a difficult time finding a situation that she could commit to. She was very discouraged and overwhelmed with the thought that she may not be able to honor the commitment. After praying about the situation and seeking wisdom from Christian brothers and sisters at the Glen Alice Christian Church she found a window to pursue the commitment.
While visiting her grandmother, Betty East, in the nursing home she befriended Kathleen Richards. Kathleen and Betty had been friends and acquaintances for many years. They had both been members at The Glen Alice Christian Church when they were younger. When Betty was able to return to her home Kathleen had to stay in the nursing home. Dara committed to continue her visits to the nursing home. The result, Jesus taught Dara the value of serving in His name.
Dara continued visiting with Kathleen, sometimes spending up to four hours at a time with her. Dara also began to provide The Lord’s Supper for Kathleen after church on Sunday afternoon or other times during the week and praying with her during visits. The bond that formed wasn’t only kind, it was spiritual. The relationship changed both Dara and Kathleen as they witnessed The Holy Spirit transform them and teach them through the relationship. Christ is REALLY alive inside and works through His people who accept Him as Lord, Savior and King.
On July 8th 2013, the afternoon that the GACC youth group were loading up to go back to CIY MOVE, Dara and the rest of the GACC youth group supported Dara as she bid her friend Kathleen an honorable “farewell, for now” at her burial.
Through serving in the name of Christ, Dara, Kathleen, the GACC youth group and countless others have experienced the mystery and power that exists when Christ becomes the focus of life and purpose of service. Glen Alice Christian Church is just one example of what happens to the Body of Christ as they follow the Head of the church, Jesus Christ.
Dara and Kathleen are simply supporting actors in the story of Jesus Christ as He continues leading His Body, the church, to establish the Kingdom of God in the world. Don’t mistake this as a simple humanitarian act of kindness. Jesus has used this simple act of obedience to display how deeply we are connected through the power of His blood and the presence of His Spirit as he revealed Himself through their obedience to serve in Jesus name. Kathleen and Dara’s actions were empowered by the Living Christ to teach them more about Himself through their obedience to one another.
Dara is being recognized as a Kingdom Worker. She never dreamed that this amount of attention would be placed upon her, she simply desired to follow Jesus into the places that He still leads us today. Through that obedience Jesus displayed His power.