Monday, October 30, 2006

A dad's bragging

We talked to our son, Ryan, last night. He's 22 and lives in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. He stayed there when we left Minnesota and came to Indiana 3 years ago. Anyway, as I've mentioned before, Ryan is on the leadership team for a ministry called God's Barn (as well as being the drummer for the worship band). OK, background out of the way, he called us last night all excited, because God's Barn had been written up in a regional paper. Here's some of what they said:

God’s Barn exists as a testimony to the promise of redemption, the hope of Christianity.

Like those the ministry would serve, the building’s beginning came near its end, and opposed all worldly wisdom, which with one glance screamed despair.

Swooning amidst 25 years of overgrowth, its broken windows, wet rotting wood floors, collapsing roof, back-arching walls and damaged support structure offered no promise of restoration or purpose.

But for Jim and Becky Leebens of Lakeville their years-felt desire to establish a ministry for at-risk youth centered on restoring the decrepit and battered barn, part of Becky’s family’s farm for generations.

“Everyone told us to just tear it down and build a pole barn,” said Jim.

But they say God was telling the couple to restore the old building, and they prayed for confirmation and clear direction...

God’s Barn opened without heat, electricity or insulation in January 2005 and was home to their (very cold) first small group.

Those first worshippers autographed the wall in marker, and since then, many more have written Bible verses on the wooden floor.

Greeting visitors entering the premises of God’s Barn is a statute of a lion of Judah; three crosses stand nearby the bright red barn’s front door.

Inside, at one end of the large space, microphones and band equipment stands ready; a much-utilized pizza oven is set up across the room and stacks of plastic chairs line a wall...

There are youth events throughout the year, although there is no formal advertising; teens arrive by word of mouth.

“It’s not like we have big events or big sports names out here,” said Fred. “We have simple bonfires; we talk and share our lives. If we share our life with them, we’ll share the Gospel.”

Too bad the picture from the print version isn't on the web. Jim and Fred refused to allow them to photograph them. Instead, they turned their backs to the camera and, wearing "God's Barn" jackets, pointed with raised arms to the barn that God had raised back up.

So, if you happen to be in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, run down I-35 South and see for yourself what God is doing.

For me this verse is more true each day: "No greater joy can I have than this, to hear that my children follow the truth." 3 John 4 (RSV)


Dr. Joseph Ray Cathey said...


Congrats to both you and Ryan. It is fulfilling to see a son who honors both his earthly father and heavenly Father! You have a right to be proud.

Anonymous said...

Amen JPS. And reminds me of the blessing of youth. It can/should be a good season of life, too. With the challenges.