In the End, the Quiet Doers Win

This is an inspiring story about two friends of mine who are starting an exciting new venture that helps young ladies overcome huge obstacles in their lives.

This is a story about some heroes of mine. Oddly enough, one of them has worked for me for five years. And in the course of that time, my life has been forever changed by their example. They are quiet doers. In a culture of angry, fist-raising, protesting people on both sides of the aisle, these people stand out of the crowd like an oasis. The Apostle Paul wrote that these folks “shine like stars in the sky.” What a perfect word picture.

Terri and Randy’s Story

This is a story about Terri and Randy Ponce de Leon. Terri has worked in client services for NCF for over a decade. She has worked for me for the last five. In the five years that I have known Terri, she has volunteered tirelessly for a handful of nonprofits – all centered around helping young women recover from substance abuse. She serves these ladies and does life with them – often chaotically, year after year. She also teaches a court-mandated anger management class. Like stars on the side of an ace pilot’s plane, Terri and Randy have created a very long list of ladies who are going places in life thanks to them.

When most of us are mindlessly watching TV or browsing the internet after a long day, Terri and Randy are just getting started.

Let me be clear, Terri has had a full-time job and she has done this in her spare time. When most of us are mindlessly watching TV or browsing the internet after a long day, Terri and Randy are just getting started. Last year they upped their game even more, which is hard to believe. She and Randy bought a house with seven bedrooms, specifically to host young ladies who are getting back on their feet from tough challenges and/or some bad choices. Given my role at NCF, I know a lot of folks who work in shelters, substance programs, and clinics – and they all go home every day. Terri and Randy don’t. Their ministry IS their home.

…I know a lot of folks who work in shelters, substance programs, and clinics – and they all go home every day. Terri and Randy don’t. Their ministry IS their home.

I am reminded of the example of Christ. He didn’t walk through a cosmic turnstile each day to visit earth, returning to the comfort of suburban heaven after a hard day’s work with mankind. He came to live with us, knee-deep in our mess and brokenness. 

Terri and Randy’s ministry has flourished and it became clear to Terri and to me this year that she had a calling to do this full time on a much bigger scale. As much as she wanted to stay at NCF (and I loved having her at NCF), God had bigger plans.

The Next Chapter

Through prayer and divine circumstance, our mutual Bob Fry, myself, and many of Terri’s amazing friends gathered around to help them launch Arise and Shine Transitional Living. It was sort of like an old-fashioned barn raising.

We are excited about them having a ministry model that is sustainable without the constant need for donation revenue to sustain basic operations long term. We also think their ministry is duplicatable and scalable, so the impact of them getting started will soon reach hockey stick growth and impact.

Terri and Randy are a rare breed. They are quiet doers. They are taking risks on people for whom no one else will take a risk. They have had some disappointments and tragic moments, but they have triumphed in the long game. In the end, the quiet doers win. And the fruit of their service is an ever-increasing list of people whose lives have been forever changed. I think David Brooks describes this best when he writes,

Sometimes you don’t even notice these people because while they seem kind and cheerful, they are also reserved. They possess the self-effacing virtues of people who are inclined to be useful but don’t need to prove anything to the world: humility, restraint, reticence, temperance, respect, and soft self-discipline. They radiate a sort of moral joy. They answer softly when challenged harshly. They are silent when unfairly abused. They are dignified when others try to humiliate them, restrained when others try to provoke them. But they get things done. They perform acts of sacrificial service with the same modest everyday spirit they would display if they were just getting the groceries. They are not thinking about what impressive work they are doing.

What About You?

We all go through seasons where life maxes us out and it’s all we can do just to cope. It’s tough to throw ourselves into helping others the way Terri and Randy have in every season. That said, I am now in a season where I have some extra capacity and I am moved by the example of these two amazing people to look outside myself and to serve others in more deliberate ways. In this way of thinking, we opt out of more self-actualization and opt into fixing the brokenness that is all around us. What about you?

Side Note: How to Support Randy and Terri

By the way, if you are as moved as I am by Terri and Randy’s story, you can give directly to their organization, “Arise and Shine Transitional Living,” using the link below through the National Christian Foundation.

You can also visit their website by clicking on this link.