Hope is Here

November 26, 2014

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Restoration Academy

By Laura DiFatta

Sometimes hope is a whisper, an idea breathed into the mind of man by the Spirit of God.  It is sometimes easy to ignore.  It may seem like a pipe-dream, a near-impossible response to a Goliath-sized, deeply rooted problem.  This kind of hope compels action in response to deep and aching need.

With knowledge comes responsibility.  We are made in the image of God and those who trust God are imbued with the very Spirit of God for whom nothing is impossible.  A hope-whisper borne into a heart where God lives is empowered to act.

Twenty-six years ago a pastor in the inner-city of Birmingham, AL was heart-weary over burying the young men in his community due to gang and drug violence.  He was weary of seeing young men sacrifice their futures by choosing crime as their response to the hopeless cycle of poverty and fatherlessness that was the reality into which they were born.  He grew heart-weary of the patterns that continued to be lived out in generation after generation that spoke a hopeless lie:  “This is all there is.  You are alone to make your way in this hard world.”   He knew better, because He knew God.

Schools had failed them, families had failed them, society in large part had failed these children.  So twenty-six years ago, this pastor named Anthony Gordon put action to the hope-idea he had been given.  He started a school which eventually ended up in Fairfield.  This school was built on the Foundation of Hope:  Jesus Christ.   The school’s name is Restoration Academy.  Pastor Gordon refused to believe that “he couldn’t make a difference.”  He knew that “nothing is impossible with God.”   He chose to join a work that God had birthed.

Through many years, my husband and I have witnessed the passionate and sacrificial commitment of many men and women to the hope-work that is Restoration Academy.  We have rejoiced over the beauty that is different races working toward the common goal of empowering children through the gospel-love of Jesus Christ and through education.   We have joined many believers in Christ in praying for resources so that this school could keep it’s doors open.  We have joined many believers in crying out to God for children in astoundingly deep physical, emotional and spiritual need.  We have rejoiced over the successes of children who arrived from their failing public schools so far behind educationally that it seemed only a miracle would ever see them even catch up to their peers—and they excelled!   We have rejoiced in the sacrifice of teachers and administration who give beyond what seems possible in order to save a life and pass on hope!  We have been in awe over the many volunteers who connect with the mission of God to meet the many needs represented by many students.   We have rejoiced in the successes of students who are believing for the first time that they have hope and are working hard to believe and achieve!

We have marveled at the precious and personal ways that God has provided for those in need at Restoration Academy who have cried out to God for the help that only He could give.  And we have seen RA become a beacon of light in the community of Fairfield!

For the past eight years, 100% of graduates from Restoration Academy have been accepted into college.  Each week, over 140 volunteers work in RA, and “generational cycles of poverty, violence, addiction and fatherlessness in Fairfield and the greater Birmingham area” are being broken.

Why am I telling you this?  We see a lot of negativity and hopelessness in our world and through the media.  But that is not the whole story.  Just as Hope was born into the world through Jesus within a sin-sick, painful and harsh time in history, so Hope still lives—God with us—in our time.  Good things are happening.

You can be a part of hope-bearing.  Everyone who trusts in the Savior Jesus has inherent hope.  That kind of hope propels outward into the lives of others.  And it is hope-producing!

God may be breathing a hope-idea into you or He may be guiding you to join in a hope-bearing idea that is already in action.  If you’d like to join the hope-bearing that is going on at Restoration Academy, you are welcome!  And you can know this:  as you give hope, your hope will grow!

To learn more:

“We who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged.  We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”
Hebrews 6:18-19

“And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.”
Romans 5:5


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