Bird Vs. Worm
Birds have great vision. Perched up high, they can see for miles around. This is useful to scan the terrain and determine direction.
Worms can't see very far. Nestled in the dirt, they can barely see beyond the closest blade of grass.
However, worms have amazing insight into the health of the roots, the fertility of the soil and many other indicators of life.
Often we value the bird's eye view over the worm's eye view. They are both important. Perhaps the worm's perspective is harder to see, because you need to be right there.
That is a metaphor for what we are doing by showing up to remote places where the need is great. One of those places is Century, Florida. Century is in the panhandle section of western Florida, right on the Alabama border. Life is rough for the sixteen hundred residents: jobs are scarce, homes are small and falling apart, and they just closed the schools. There are 5 beautiful parks with baseball diamonds and football fields with bleachers, lights and dugouts.
I (Jeff) spoke at length with Larry, the head of the parks department. He told me many things. The kids don't come out to play sports like they used to; they are too distracted by video games. There isn't any money to fix up the sports houses or to hire staff; they get free labor from inmates at the nearby prison. I asked him for a story of a person who was a shining example of helping those in need, someone who could be an inspiration for people on the other side of the country. He thought for a long while. Even though he grew up in town and lived there all five decades of his life, he couldn't come up with a single example. He talked with pride about two boys who became famous in professional baseball and football. I asked if they remembered where they came from. He told me that he tried reaching out to them several times, but received no response.
From the money people gave us, I gave $100 to Larry and told him he could use it for anything he thought was important but not on the budget.
He was really and deeply touched. The money was unexpected, but just listening to him was the most important part of our visit.