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Grounds Department Uses Landscaping as Ministry in West Dallas
June 21, 2012 | by Sally Minyard
Dallas, TX – The campus of Dallas Baptist University would not be as beautiful and well-kept without the constant hard work and dedication of the Grounds Department. Whether in the rain, ice, or scorching heat, they are the ones who help maintain all 293 acres of campus.
As a part of the University’s national Tree Campus USA designation, the Grounds Department is asked to complete service projects that help educate the community on the importance of and care for trees.
DBU grounds crew members plant a tree for a family in West Dallas.
For their project, DBU partnered this June with ACT Dallas, an inner-city ministry that seeks to physically and legally improve one of the most crime-ridden and economically disadvantaged West Dallas neighborhoods. Part of that goal is cleaning up properties and making them look more appealing.
“We partnered with DBU because it was a great fit,” stated Maria Pacheco, from ACT. “As we address crime properties, many neighbors have expressed that those properties are an eye sore. The beautification of the community encourages our neighbors to keep working towards transformation in their neighborhood.”
To help with this, the students and staff of Grounds planted flowers and shrubs, laid sod, and cleaned up the yards of two families recommended by ACT. They also gave the residents instruction on how to best fertilize and care for the trees and plants, hoping they will stay healthy for years to come.
Planting flowers was one of the services that DBU grounds crew members performed.
“This was a special experience for those who participated,” said Robert Erickson, DBU director of landscaping and special projects. “The families were overjoyed to have some beauty in their yard and for someone to care a little about them.”
“The students learned it is good to help those in need and to help them beautify their property because it adds pride and prestige to the neighborhood,” he continued.
For the DBU students involved, it was an opportunity to learn that no matter an individual’s gifting, the Lord can use it to impact people’s lives.
“I feel like we as a department use our skills every day to serve the DBU community, but this project was very special to me, to be able to do this for families in the local community,” explained DBU student Justin Hardin. “Those who need our help are all around us, and it made me feel good to know that God could use me and my work to give them aid.”
Before leaving the neighborhood, the group from DBU prayed for the two families, asking the Lord to protect them so their children could be raised in safety and peace. Although the primary language for both families is Spanish, two of the men from DBU, Johnny Hernandez and Vincent Pena, were able to pray in Spanish and ensure no meaning was lost.
“The families were so happy and wanted to show off their new yards,” expressed Pacheco. “They expressed to me how grateful they were for the DBU students’ hard work and most importantly for praying with them.”
“I feel like we were a vivid and direct representation of Christ to a distinct set of people,” stated Hardin. “This service project impacted me because it really brought this truth close to home and helped remind me that no matter where I am, I represent Christ to whoever is around me.”