This is the first of a series of stories about the connection between BridgeBuilders and our friends in and around Floydada, Texas. Keep an eye on the blog for later installments. Part 1
Dallas, Texas, population 1.3 million. Floydada, Texas, population 3,000. Two very different places have found a connection in 2015, resulting in a beautiful friendship that is bringing hope and restoration to the south Dallas neighborhood of Bonton.
It started in January when Daron Babcock, Director of Urban Missions for H.I.S. BridgeBuilders, visited the First Baptist Church of Amarillo, one of the major cities close to Floydada.
“They asked me to come speak, and I agreed,” said Daron, “but it was the night of the College Football National Championship Game. We joked that there would probably only be a handful of women there, and they would be angry, because their husbands would rather watch football than to hear some guy speak.”
Fortunately, that wasn’t the case, as Daron had opportunity to make several connections that evening at the First Baptist Church. After telling the group what was happening in Bonton, Barney came up to Daron and said, “I can’t believe it, I want to see it with my own eyes.”
“My wife grew up with Daron, and she told me, ‘you have to come hear this guy,’” said Barney. “When Daron came and gave his testimony, I sat on the front row and just cried at what was going on. I thought, here is something we can help with, right up our alley, a need and an opportunity to further God’s Kingdom.”
Daron invited Barney to come visit Bonton any time. The next week Barney brought six friends from all over west Texas to meet the guys at the farm. The work of Daron and the members of the discipleship group was inspirational to the west Texas visitors, who spent the entire day in Bonton.
“What drew me to Bonton Farms, first,” says Barney, “was the desire to help people. I called my buddies and told them, ‘you guys aren’t going to believe what’s going on there.’”
“A connection was made that was very real, they were drawn to what they saw,” recalls Daron. “Because of the where they live, so heavily involved in farming, there was not just a spiritual connection of what God’s doing here, but also to the actual physical part of what’s being done there at the farm.”
Seeing a farm in its infancy, the west Texas guys told Daron they would be back, and with some help. At the time Bonton Farms was without tools or suitable soil. The testing showed that the farm has more sand than soil, which contains no nutrients and can’t hold water. Seemingly a dead end.
Fast forward a couple short weeks, Barney and company returned to the farm…with a pair of semi tractor trailers. One trailer contained tools and equipment the farm glaringly lacked, the other carried 44,000 pounds of compost.
“We had the means and knowledge, me with transportation, and other farmers and ranchers have the know-how and equipment to help,” said Barney.
Together the men worked worked the land, adding the compost to make the ground suitable for growth. The first Bonton Farms garden was born, allowing Daron and the Bonton men to plant their first spring crop.
Through Bonton Farms, H.I.S. BridgeBuilders is helping create gospel curiosity, even within the church. It is only the gospel of Jesus that would call a group of small town farmers to mobilize their networks to serve a community that couldn’t be more different from them.
“It’s really a cool deal going on down there,” added Barney. “That we get to help people help themselves. It’s about furthering the Kingdom of our God! It’s the feeling of helping someone, you don’t want payment back, you’re just doing it for the right reasons.”
And this isn’t the end of the story…