As someone who grew up as a military brat and served as a missionary as an adult, I don’t have a lot of experience laying down deep roots. In fact, you might say there was a time I would have balked at the thought of staying in a community for long.

Recently, however, I witnessed the amazing power of roots being laid by our little church in Macon, Missouri, as relationships with the community deepen to the glory of God.

I don’t know the full story of how the idea came to life, but on June 28 the Macon Church hosted their second annual Because Your Life Matters Expo, highlighting organizations that serve communities throughout Macon County.

We rented space at the Macon fairgrounds and invited vendors and groups to come for free and share what they do—a visual yellow pages, of sorts. Despite the intense heat, people from the community came throughout the day to receive free services, participate in fun activities and learn more about the organizations being represented at the more than 60 booths.

Healthcare vendors offered free health screenings (blood tests, as well as vision, hearing and dental), chair massages and doctor visits. Shoes from the Heart offered free shoes to any child under 18 in Macon County, and the Macon Church provided complimentary portrait sessions.

Other booths offered prayer, information on natural remedies, pet care options during vacations, beauty products, hospice, CPR training, tips for dealing with natural disasters, retirement care, solar power options, children’s reading programs, information on green funerals and water cremation, 4H, adult educational resources, recycling, quilting, Medicare and insurance counseling, Elks club, Missouri Conservation, pet rescue and more.

Activities for children included games, a bounce house, rare animals to see and hold, and an up-close look at a fire truck and gear from the fire department. A helicopter landing had been planned, but due to a local fire emergency we settled for a fly by.

As I visited with guests and vendors throughout the day, I was blessed to witness the impact a church can have on its community. I marveled at the relationships being built and deepened.

Along with literature from the prayer booth, USB drives from the photo sessions contained contact information for the church, information about the church’s radio station, a Bible study series, and digital copies of The Desire of Ages, Steps to Christ, and The Ministry of Healing. In the coming weeks we’ll also be following up with those who signed up for door prizes to invite them to attend other events hosted by the church.

We’re thankful for the hard work of each church member who volunteered their time and energies, the guidance of event organizer Janice Wilson and the personal ministries team, the many vendors who participated, and to all the community members who came out to make the expo a huge success. We praise God for the connections made, but even more for how the expo may continue to touch lives in the months ahead and on into eternity.