August 25, 2017
DEFINITION: benevolent: Shows kindness and is generous in providing aid to others.
Shivering and wet, a young South American girl in a pale yellow dress enters the home of the American missionaries that have taken up temporary residence in her town. Their 9-year-old daughter, on her own accord, offers the cold girl a coat to warm up— and not just any coat. It’s a brand new, red, white hooded, wool coat the daughter begged her parents to buy her for Christmas. Even though it’s precious to her, at the end of the evening, the missionaries’ daughter insists the little girl keep her coat.
Fast forward in time … A recently divorced mother of three is angry with life and angry with God. Out of spite, and a little out of curiosity, she travels to South America to see if the missionary work her departed father spent his life on actually made any difference. She wonders if the churches he planted still exist.
She arrives and finds those buildings very much intact. She meets a man who remembers her and invites her to his home for lunch. At lunch, as the man introduces the guest to his wife, she begins to cry and runs out of the room. She returns quickly, dragging a large round-top trunk behind her. She opens it and pulls out a coat. After many years of use, the once red coat has faded to an almost pink hue.
Ruth Costello’s eyes fill with tears as she recalls the story of her little red coat.
“It was something that changed my life right away. It’s a story of realizing that your nothing becomes something.”
“You never know the joy you’re giving. You never know what could happen from your donation.”
From its humble beginnings out of the trunk of Ruth’s car, Grace House now serves St. Joseph by providing kitchen ware, clothes, shoes, blankets, baby items, toiletries, Bibles, and prayers to 800 less fortunate members of our community every month all for no charge. In addition, Grace House serves 1,100 kids at back-to-school time.
When Ruth moved from California to St. Joseph years ago, she saw a need in this community and felt compelled to do something about it. Her ministry, which has culminated into the building at 27th and Lafayette, hosts several events throughout the year including a canned food drive, a coat and jacket drive, shoe drive, and a winter blanket collection.
“When you love somebody that’s out of your element, that’s when it’s loving like God loves. I think we just need to love more and care more.”
Ruth’s benevolent spirit and charismatic demeanor echo the words of the Book of Matthew.
“Freely he have received. Freely give.” – Matthew 10:8
Starting in the 1910s organizations, communities, and even private individuals began developing the first paved highways to connect metropolitan areas which would collectively become known as the National Auto Trail system.
America’s favorite pastime is alive in St. Joseph…every summer families, friends, and neighbors gather together to enjoy baseball, hot dogs, family fun, fireworks, and more in the heart of St. Joseph to relax and watch the Mustangs play ball at the historic Phil Welch Stadium.
Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978, this architectural feat, designed by esteemed local architects Eckel and Mann, is getting a second life thanks to a $20 million shot in the arm from Mosaic Life Care.
Real change in almost any environment happens from the inside out. And no one knows just how to create the kind of contagious change a community needs like the community members themselves. In St. Joseph, and many communities like it, a revolution is happening around this kind of grassroots-based leadership – and it’s only just begun.
Built in 1873, the Buchanan County Courthouse, with its majestic white pointed dome, stands as an architectural icon during the day and casts a warm stately glow over downtown St. Joseph in the evening light.