I Reach Local Because I Live Here.
“This is my valley,” Rick Ediger says, pointing across the central Colorado landscape, his rough hands hinting of car oil around his fingernails. “This is the place God has given me [for ministry]. Aren’t I lucky?” he adds as tears pool in the corners of his eyes.
Earlier that day, Rick had been leaning under the hood of Judy’s blue-green minivan in his new ministry shop – a corrugated metal structure that scores of volunteers erected in his backyard to facilitate his automotive repair ministry.
It was Judy’s car that started it all more than a year and half ago. Rick and his wife, Connie, are InFaith field staff members. They knew Judy, a single mom, from weekly visits to a local restaurant where she worked. One wintery day they heard her say that her car wouldn’t start in the parking lot. “God took my appetite away until I told her I could fix her car,” Rick says. That day, he began to see the challenge of single moms in Poncha Springs, trying to keep their cars running so they can continue to take their kids to school and get to their jobs. Automotive labor runs $80 to $150 per hour in their part of Colorado. “I can save them that. I can do this! I can fix stuff!” Rick exclaims.
“InFaith was so supportive,” Rick says. “They said, ‘You need to use your skills on the field.’” With this encouragement, Rick and Connie began to share their vision of an automotive repair ministry where he would charge only for parts and offer his services for free – and eventually train young people to be able to change the oil in their moms’ cars. Churches and individuals jumped on board, donating materials and time to build a shop in the Edigers’ backyard. “The scope of this ministry is huge!” exclaims Rick. “I’ve lost track of how many people have been a part of this. God has brought all of these people together to bring about this one vision.”
On this summer day Judy pulls her minivan around the back of the Edigers’ house and into the ministry shop to have Rick look it over and make sure everything’s working. “Our job is to find the people who are falling through the cracks, who won’t step inside a church,” Rick says. “So we go to them,” reaching out through children’s ministry and firewood distribution, and now through the ministry shop.
“Why do I reach local?” Rick asks. “Because I am local; I live here. I live with these people. I work with them. I interact with them. I see them every day.”
(Rick and Connie Ediger have been serving in central Colorado as InFaith field staff members since 2011. They have immersed themselves in the local community by volunteering in their children’s classes in the public school, offering multiple Vacation Bible Schools and Bible clubs throughout the area, and ministering to staff at a local restaurant where they frequently eat. A short video about the Edigers is available on our website. Check it out at http://infaith.org/ponchasprings.)