How would Dorris Dowden make a difference for Christ in a ministry at East Leesville Baptist Church when she devoted most of her time to care for seriously-ill family members?
How would Dorris Dowden make a difference for Christ
in a ministry at East Leesville Baptist Church when she devoted most of
her time to care for seriously-ill family members?
That was the question Dowden faced after
participating in the 40 Days of Purpose study last March at the western
At the time, her husband had Alzheimers disease, one sister was handicapped and her other sister had cancer.
That is when fellow church member Dianne Stratton
shared with Dowden her vision to organize the Compassion In Action
After much prayer, God provided someone to assist
Dowden with her duties of caring for her family members so she could
dedicate Mondays to work with the fledgling ministry.
Soon, she was working three days a week with
Compassion in Action, which seeks to impact a person’s life in the
Leesville community with acts of kindness.
“Those visits are so fulfilling when the people tell
us how it brightens their day just because we took a little bouquet of
flowers, sat, visited and prayed for them,” explains Dowden, who calls
Compassion in Action the most rewarding ministry she has been involved
with in her 50 years as a member of the church.
“We just want others to know that we love them,”
Dowden continues. “It’s such a small thing for us to do, and it means
so much to them.”
Showing God’s love to the Leesville community – that
is the mission of Compassion in Action, which is funded by two annual
bakes sales held at the church.
Compassion in Action includes not only visiting the
elderly and hospitalized but is made of a vast array of ministries. In
all, 90 persons work in the 10 ministries that compose Compassion in
They include delivering teddy bears to hospitalized
children, cooking for those who experience a death within the family,
transporting cancer patients to Alexandria for treatment and caring for
the lawns of elderly persons.
Compassion in Action members also write hundreds of
encouraging cards weekly to laypersons and ministry leaders within the
church. A barber who is a Compassion in Action member even cuts the
hair of nursing home residents for free.
Last Christmas, Compassion in Action members went
carolling at area nursing homes and apartments of the elderly.
Often, Compassion in Action members see the fruits of their labor.
For example, Stratton recalls a time when Compassion in Action members
collected money for the family of a soldier, who was in a coma. The
soldier recovered from the coma and has undergone rehabilitation in
Compassion in Action provided money and phone
calling cards for the soldier’s wife. The wife still writes cards
periodically, updating Stratton and others on her husband’s progress.
“I hope and pray one day I’ll get to meet them,”
Stratton says. “It’s just been a blessing that we’ve been able to do
something for them.”
Virtually every age group is involved with Compassion in Action, from young children to senior adults.
“We tried to involve as many people as possible
because everyone needs to feel they have a purpose,” Stratton explains.
Lessie Fowler maintains that Compassion in Action
has given members of East Leesville Baptist Church a passion for
ministry, even those who previously were unable to participate in a
ministry due to physical limitations.
“There’s something for everyone,” she explains.
“This gives anyone who wants to minister to others that opportunity.”
Anne Causey is not a member of East Leesville Baptist Church or
Compassion in Action but coordinates transportation for cancer patients
who need to travel to Alexandria for treatment. She says those patients
impacted by Compassion in Action greatly appreciate what it does for
“This ministry is so valuable and touches so many
people,” Causey says. “It’s a lot of people working together that care
about their fellow man. We don’t get that as much today as we should.”
And it is not just those to whom Compassion in Action ministers who are blessed, Stratton says.
“By my helping them, it helps me,” Dowden agrees.
Don Bruce has been a member at East Leesville
Baptist Church for nearly 30 years. He says the ministry allows him to
use his spiritual gift of compassion.
“This has been a real touching and moving experience
for me,” Bruce explains. “I am put in contact with those in need. This
is a great ministry, and as Christians, we’re all called to minister to