Linnie and Debbie Dickson have room in their hearts for a lot of children. They call their ministry The Shepherd's Staff.
Debbie explains, "We try to prevent children from coming into foster care. We work with families and we work with the children when they do come into care to show them what a family is all about."
And for this sometimes large family, they need a large home. When their work brought them to Montgomery, they found an ideal house. "There was some question as to whether we would be able to buy the house. The gentleman said he would sell it and then he changed his mind," says Linnie.
But the Dickson's say they knew this house suited their ministry so they began praying. "I pulled in the driveway down here and said Lord, if this is your plan, make it work." A few weeks later the house was their's but the struggle was not over.
One description of the house would be "delapidated." "It was beyond what a lot of people thought was fixable," recalls Linnie. "It was bad, but from the time I saw (the house), I just saw what it could be."
The Dickson's began working on the house all the while praying someone else would help. Most people gave the house little hope. But soon prayers once again became reality. The Air Force took on the house as a "Make a Difference" day project. Cynthia Dewey of Maxwell says, "We have a volunteer advisory council that meets on base every month and we decided we wanted to get involved in the community." That's when someone mentioned the Dickson's. "The Shepherd's Staff really touched our hearts because the project was so overwhelming. They needed so much help, " continues Dewey.
The Air Force undertook this for twenty straight Saturdays and came out here with 120 people. We just thought we'd get it done. But Mary, if God had not intervened we would still be working on it.
The Dickson's now concentrate on their ministry. Now that the Shepherd's Staff House is no longer a concern. They say where they are today is because of prayer.
"It was a big task but we serve a big God and as we petitioned him, he knew what we needed."