When you think about all that is involved in a gardening project, it has to be a labor of love. The process, though very rewarding in the end, requires continuous thought, work and patience - quite similar to God's relationship with us. In fact, it's one of the prime examples of how He cultivates us so that we too can one day bear fruit and plant seeds. Wendy Rinkenberger and Leslee Masoero, both self-taught gardeners, know this to be quite true.
Leslee explained to me that a gardener must know what to plant, how to plant it and where. They also need to know the accurate depth needed for a plant to grow properly and how much sunlight is enough, or too much, for the plant. The soil has to be cared for (or purchased), and the removal of weeds must take place. All of this and we haven't even purchased the plants yet! This process can be extensive as well as expensive depending on the amount of land at hand, which explains why recent budget cuts at the church could not allow for the flowerbeds to be diligently maintained.
"It saddened me to walk by the weeds and the failing plants every time I came to church," said Wendy. "God definitely moved in my heart to do something about it."
Leslee felt the same way. "God had His hand in this because we both approached Tom [Machowski] about the same time and it happened so fast."
Over the summer, and on separate occasions, the two women approached Tom about their interest in helping the church with gardening, and the ball was rolling by fall. A general concern for the plants and a genuine love for gardening brought these three together to organize a plan to bring a little life back to Sovereign Grace.
In mid-September, Leslee consulted her gardener about what was needed at the church location. Through this relationship, most of the plants were offered at a discount at the garden center. Wendy also had plants that could be used for the project.
"I noticed many of the plants were beyond rescuing, and I had several extra plants in my garden that I didn't need and wanted to donate to the church."
Since the start of the project, Sandy and Phil Black have jumped onboard, along with Wendy's husband, Howard. And others are welcome!
"I love the idea of church members taking on the task of tending to the gardening around the church," says Wendy. "I'm hoping we can get more people involved so that even when the budget improves, we can still be the ones to take care of the plants."
There will be plenty to do once spring arrives, including planting two trees, and many hands are needed. A committee is being created to gather volunteers to help maintain the flowerbeds. If you have a passion for helping or gardening, please reach out to Wendy or Leslee.