Al Spinks knew nine months ago he was called to make a difference, he just didn't know who that difference would be for.
"Al's generosity can be described as radical, beautiful, and heartfelt, and has an astounding impact on our ability to reach more asylum seekers," DASH founder Ashley Freeman said, grateful for the generous financial gift.
Hearing a lenten message from Pope Francis, Spinks was moved when the leader of the Catholic faith urged his church to give up indifference toward others instead of the usual alcohol, candy or other indulgences typical in today's society.
Spinks said he was also moved by the words of Christian John Chrysotom who said, “No act of virtue can be great if it is not followed by advantage for others. So no matter how much you spend fasting, no matter how much you sleep on a hard floor and eat ashes and sigh continually, if you do no good to others, you do nothing great.”
Spinks decided to fast from indifference, setting aside his income during lent to put toward a good cause. With the Syrian and North African refugee crisis in the news daily, he felt certain this was the cause he was called to.
"In any way I could, I hoped to help carry their burdens, their fear and their uncertainty of their situation. While I was not certain where exactly I was supposed to give, I knew the Spirit would lead me to it," Spinks said, admitting he did this Lenten practice somewhat loosely. "I had been searching for just the right organization in which to donate, yet as Easter passed, I had not found one. I began to feel as if I had failed at my good intentions."
While visiting with his daughter, Elle Boone, and her husband, Micheal Boone, who have volunteered for DASH, Spinks and his wife, Tamara, were told about how DASH volunteers were working to help asylum seeker MJ, whose family is still in Zimbabwe awaiting his asylum approval. Moved, Spinks said they knew immediately DASH was the ministry the Lord had in mind for their gift.
"Immigrants, refugees and especially asylum seekers have such a difficult journey, I know Christ identifies with them when, in Matthew 25:40, He instructs, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me,'" Spinks said.
"Al first began supporting asylum seeker, MJ personally to temporarily relieve the immense financial strain he was under, and then, after learning more about the organization at the dessert reception, decided to make a monumental donation to DASH of $24,000 over the course of a year."
"The impact of this is incredible. Since we help an asylum seeker for a year with $2,000, that means his donation provides food, housing and friendship for 12 asylum seekers for a year! He has literally changed the lives of an entire community of asylum seekers. Plus, this money helps propel DASH to the next level, enabling us to grow as an organization, in sustainability and in reach so that we can continue to welcome more asylum seekers."
The Spinks' attended the Dessert Reception in October, where they heard MJ's story and testimonies from Ashley and others involved in DASH. Seeing the welcoming love of Jesus and DASH's two-handed approach of love and meeting practical needs, they were convinced DASH's mission would now be their mission as well.
Check out the newest version of our logo! We hope that the addition of the mandala communicates a multi-cultural, international feel at a glance. It was designed by Johnny Phipps, a DASH Compassion Advocate and graphic designer. A big thanks to him from all of us!
Goal met: DASH is officially becoming a non-profit!
With so much to be thankful for, DASH founder Ashley Freeman says the ministry, which helps to care for the needs of asylum seekers in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, has reached an important goal.
"We have been working toward becoming a 501(c)(3) non-profit charity, which is an expensive process. Well, I'm proud to announce that with the generosity and support of our donors at the recent Dessert Reception and ask event, DASH will begin doing business as a non-profit starting January 1, 2017," Ashley said.
This new status continues to be good for DASH donors.
"Donations to DASH have always been tax deductible, because we function as a ministry of The City Church, which is a tax-deductible non-profit. Starting next year tax receipts will come from DASH instead of City Church," Ashley said.
The new tax status also opens doors for the DASH ministry.
"The biggest reason that we felt it was time to file as a non-profit was our desire to expand to help more asylum seekers, but The City Church is at it's max capacity," Ashley said of the small church with a big heart. "We desire to link other churches and communities together in DASH, and eventually plant other branches in other churches. Becoming an independent non-profit, could be a better platform for those partnerships."
So look for changes in the way we do some things, but not in the caring, respect and practical love DASH shows the asylum seeker community we serve.