During my stay at Koinonia Partners I kept wanting to connect with Amanda Moore, communications director at Koinonia. For various reasons, including the fact that with community director Bren Dubay away for the past three weeks she had more than her usual share of responsibilities.
So when I found out that Amanda was going to be taking me to Columbus, Georgia, where I was going to catch the Greyhound Bus, I perceived that it was answer to at least half of my prayer. First, I wanted to get to know her. Second, I wanted to have a heart connection. I am grateful that both prayers were answered.
After a few minutes of small talk while we were starting our one hour or so drive, I went straight to the question I hoped would yield some good stories. “What inspired you to live at Koinonia.” I was not disappointed. In fact, what Amanda shared far exceeded my expectations.
When I heard Amanda enthusiastically share her life story, I was delighted. As we drove along, time few by as I heard a dramatic and amazing story of her life beginning being raised in poverty and a very challenging family situation. I choose not to share many details because I am not sure how much she would want me to tell. I can just say that the way she chose to let God make something good out of extremely tragic circumstances was a beautiful testimony to both her faith and God’s faithfulness.
Hearing about how she arrived at Koinonia at a time when her skill set was sorely needed was also uplifting. I had heard bits and pieces about how Bren Dubay also came at a crises time in Koinonia’s history and helped transition the community back to its original intent of being an intentional Christian community. I understand more clearly thanks to Amanda’s detailed explanation how Koinonia had evolved into a non-profit business that had started to lose its clear Christ-centered focus and was financially in a very vulnerable situation.
Being able to sit in the presence of someone who had not only survived but thrived in spite of having so much trauma in her past was a privilege for me. I have read stories about people who are considered heroes who have made huge contributions to further the kingdom of God here on earth. Most of the time their testimonies tell of harrowing pasts which for many would have resulted in addiction and failed lives. So to hear Amanda’s story straight “from the horses” mouth helped me feel as if I was sitting on holy ground while in the car, and more deeply connecting with a heroine of my Christian faith.
Like Clarance Jardan, one of the founders of Koinonia Farm and little-known compared to folks like Martin Luther King, Jr. as a person who greatly contributed to racial reconciliation, Amanda is not well-known. I know she loves going and speaking about Koinonia Partners all over the country, and I expect that she is an inspiring speaker appreciated by those she comes into contact with. But I really hope that some day she will write her amazing, inspiring, hope-filled story of her life before Koinonia and as a very active presence at this seventy-five year old community. She definitely does not portray herself as saving Koinonia from almost going under, but rather gives credit to others. But I have a feeling that her gifts have been mightily used by God in conjunction with the others who have dedicated their lives to helping Koinonia Partners be all that God wants this beautiful community to be.
When Amanda finished her story which I thoroughly enjoyed, she asked me about my life. I dove in just as she did starting with my life story and how it shaped me including the community I am currently in with my two former husbands and our two children. I felt especially connected to Amanda as she gave me signs of listening as deeply as a person could while still being attentive to her driving.
When we drove into the bus station, Amanda enthusiastically gave me some ideas about how to attract people to our community through the Willing Workers on Organic Farms network. I had not thought about this network for a while, and I realized that her suggestion could really bear some research and then a proposal to my community. Amanda also affirmed and validated the unique value of our community where three adults even though not being able to keep their marriages together, were willing to set aside our differences for the higher good of our children who are now 17 and 24–old enough to be full members of our community.
As we hugged goodbye, I felt grateful that my prayer was answered. A connection with Amanda was begun which can result in trust building that I hope will bear fruit. I sense we are kindred spirits with similar giftings and different personality types.
And as I write this, I realize that the fact that Amanda is thoroughly grounded and rooted in a well-established, respected intentional Christian community already gives me reason to trust her. More than ever before as Amanda shared, I saw the beauty and treasure of how their is a growing number of intentional Christian communities who help each other, know each other, and are there for each other. Just as individuals in each community can do the same as a kind of safety net in an increasingly unsafe world, communities are growing closer in cooperation.
Recently I did an organizing job for someone who often had channels like mainstream media CNN playing on her television within my hearing. I also have the unfortunate problems of having as my home page on my computer headlines from the mainstream media. The advantage, though, is to see how much I need to be praying for our country and our world.
If the good news of what was happening in communities that I have visited including Koinonia, The Simple Way, Reba Place Fellowship, Plow Creek and Jesus People USA was blasted over the airwaves instead of political scandals and horrible things like the Boston Marathon bombing and subsequent search for the perpetrators, I think we could have a transformed world because people could have more hope.
Don’t worry–I know these places are not perfect. Yet places like Koinonia are oasis in the desert of self-centeredness and greed where following Jesus commands to love people and love God are bearing fruits both in the land in the spirits of those who live there. Thank God for Koinonia, all the people I met there, and people like Amanda who do so much to lead as servant leaders.