Great Christmas Time in the “Pinch Gut”

Augusta’s First Family of the recent past gave my “shop guys” a happy surprise.  From time to time in years past Malisa and Deke have asked me to arrange for a surprise Christmas for a particular family that needed some extra help at Christmas.  This year I thought of something a little different.  

Eight years ago Fireside did a historic renovation of a corner grocery store at 2nd and Ellis Street (known back in the 30’s and 40’s as the “pinch gut” area of Augusta).  We gutted the two story brick building and made two loft apartments upstairs and converted the first floor into our job skills workshop.  Over the years we have accumulated a lot of heart pine through demolition at Heritage Academy, the Widows’ Home (now Christ Community Health Clinic), and also with Turn Back the Block in the Harrisburg community.  We restored the “throw away” old pine lumber into beautiful items such as tables, benches, cutting boards, etc.

This process of reclaiming this heart pine is similar to a lot of our lives – very rough and even ugly.  But when we plane and sand away at the heart pine, the real beauty begins to emerge. Only God can get through to the heart, and we all go through rough times until we “come to our senses”.

There are four homeless guys living at our shop.  One has been with us for four years and is a master craftsman.  Those guys are our “shop family”.  When Deke and Malisa showed up on Friday before Christmas with gifts for them in all the right sizes, they were overcome with joy.  Below is a picture of this Christmas occasion.

Fireside Christmas from Deke & Malisa

We covet your prayers for these guys and our mission in the city – restoration of people and places for the glory of God (Isaiah 61:1-4). If you'd like to donate to Fireside Ministries, click here.

May God bless you now and throughout the coming New Year.