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Meet Bea Gaddy: an inspiration to me

Who is Bea Gaddy? Why should I care?

Bea Gaddy, who rose from a life of poverty to become Baltimore's leading advocate for the homeless and poor lost her battle with cancer on October 3, 2001 at age 68.

Gaddy, who was elected to the City Council in 1999, also operated a family center that has served more than 1 million homeless women and children, according to her Web site. She learned about domestic violence and poverty firsthand during her childhood in North Carolina. She said her father often threw her and her brother out of the house, and that her mother lived in constant fear of being beaten. After working as a housekeeper in Brooklyn, N.Y., for $50 a week, she [moved] to Baltimore in 1964 as a single mother with few hopes or dreams.

But a man she met while working as a school crossing guard encouraged her to go to college, and in the early '70s, she joined the East Baltimore Children's Fund. Her home became a distribution point for food and clothing for the poor. She used the experience to found a homeless shelter, which eventually became the Bea Gaddy Family Centers Inc.

Gaddy held her first Thanksgiving dinner in 1981, feeding 39 people. The event grew each year and peaked in 1993, when Gaddy and about 2,000 volunteers served 20,000 people. [From Here]

One woman with a cause impacted millions of people. I was one of those people. I never met Bea Gaddy but she was one of the people God used to shape my belief that any one person can make a world of difference. Bea Gaddy had a passion lit from her childhood. She confronted a cause that resonated with her core.

Imagine if every Christian focused on one segment of the world that needed Jesus and we spent the rest of our lives bringing Jesus to that aspect of society. Instead of building churches about us we'd build churches to serve our communities and bring Jesus to them. Instead of holding conferences about us and solely attending conferences dealing with the workings of church we'd have Christian leaders involved in conferences addressing socities ills. Instead of ringing church bells and asking people to come to us, we'd "go" into the world and make a difference as unto the Lord. Thankfully it appears that God is doing a work in our generation and the future may be filled with such examples.

Now more than ever I have clarity about my mission in life. Now more than ever I see how our church can revolutionize a city, state, country and world. In 2008 I'm re-organizing my life to best prepare myself and those around me to take up a cause and bring Jesus to that square. I'm certain that some will not understand but if they did it would have been done already. Stay tuned.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Tuesday, December 18, 2007


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