Friendship House, Part 2

I rarely write a column that so illustrates the many connections between the two communities that carry my weekly column, namely Bainbridge and Donalsonville.  These two cities share many more bonds than some realize.  
One of the newest connections has to do with the expansion into Donalsonville of the Friendship House of Jesus.  This ministry has been a beacon of hope in Bainbridge for 25 years.  The original seed planted by a few in Decatur County has grown into a new dream now being planted in Seminole County.  
The Mission Statement of Friendship House is to lead underprivileged children and teenagers to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ through offering programs which will lead them to becoming successful, contributing citizens of their communities and God’s Kingdom.
Sometimes the message of hope is hard to communicate.  People want to “kick the tires” before they commit to a new project.  This past Sunday, the Donalsonville/Seminole County community had the chance to kick the tires of the Friendship House of Jesus in the newly renovated R. D. Rambeau Gymnasium.  
As I entered the beautifully restored building, the first person I met was Brenda Rambeau, the daughter of Dr. Rambeau, for whom the gym was named many years ago.  Visiting from Atlanta, Brenda was so proud of this legacy of her father.  I was equally proud as Dr. Rambeau was a gentleman who helped lead this community through difficult times.
Dr. and Mrs. Rambeau embraced my young family almost 40 years ago and were both supportive of all we ever tried to do.  I am proud to have known both of them and even prouder to see his name prominently displayed on the newly renovated gym.
The Rambeau family would have embraced this new project which reaches across racial lines and recognizes the value of faith in raising up those most in need.
I would be remiss if I didn’t recognize the extraordinary efforts of Jane Forsyth, who started this Mission in 1991 as a small Bible Study for children.  Today, through the tireless efforts of so many, it serves up to 200 children on any given day, providing them with love, structure and spiritual guidance.  
This could be the end of a great success story, except Friendship House had a call to expand their own good works.  Donalsonville, through the efforts of many, was selected to be the home of the second Friendship House.  We can only hope this Mission will have the same positive impact on the children of Donalsonville that it has had on the children of Bainbridge.
Many good things are happening in Donalsonville with much of the attention being focused on the efforts in China, India and around the world.   However, the acorn often grows best when it falls closest to the tree.
I salute the many visionaries that have brought life to the Friendship House and who now seek to expand their good works into neighboring communities.  
At the same time, I encourage and challenge the citizens of Donalsonville and Seminole County to embrace the efforts of this life-changing program called Friendship House.  Look on page 2A of this  May 26 edition of the newspaper and select items on their needs list.  It is amazing how good it can make you feel to buy a roll of paper towels to assist in such a worthy cause.
Support them with your money, your talent, and most of all your prayers.  After 25 years, we can lift the Friendship House up as an example that God does indeed hear our prayers.  
o0o
Dan Ponder can be reached at [email protected]

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