Leaving a Legacy
Many things are passed down from generation to generation. Our families have the greatest impact on our development. We inherit mannerisms, view points on life, favorite sports teams, and many other traits and preferences from our parents.
Sometimes, the things that are learned, mimicked, or passed down are not always positive. My family lineage is full of divorce, abuse, mental health issues, and poverty. According to statistics and family patterns, my future and my family’s future should be full of these things as well. BUT…..GOD. Jesus stepped in and saved my soul at the age of 15 and now, my family tree has been changed FOREVER.
But what about a family that is grounded in God’s word? What about a history of service to the Lord that is modeled from generation to generation? That’s the story I want to share with you.
The Hurley Family is one of those families where God has been the foundation for many generations. It started with her grandparents. Kerri remembers picking cherries from her yard and making pies and jams to deliver to shut-ins. This was a mindset and an action that was instilled in her from a young age by her parents and their parents.
Kerri grew up and had three beautiful children of her own. She served on the Lead Team for the youth choir for 25 years and led the children’s choir for 30 years at her church. Not only did the choirs sing IN the church but they took their voices and talents OUT into the community. Kerri would take the choirs to nursing homes, retirement communities, and even prisons in order to share the love of God. She fondly recalls how those kids learned to talk to others effortlessly. “I remember a trip to San Antonio, TX where I watched these children stand under a bridge with a group of homeless people and just share and talk to them about Jesus.” No matter if they were older, had different color skin, or smelled, she watched these kids, choir after choir, learn to love others through their trips to these places that many people fail to go to.
In 1995, her church, Snyder Memorial Baptist Church of Fayetteville, NC, began doing something called Operation Inasmuch. Operation Inasmuch began to grow and grow and 26 years later, Snyder Memorial continues to show compassion to the least of these throughout the community through this ministry. Click here to view pictures from their 2021 Inasmuch Day.
Kerri’s children were young at the time but Kerri never missed a beat with making compassion ministry a priority. All three of her children grew up serving through Operation Inasmuch. Meredith, one of the Hurley children, would testify as a young adult that “it wasn’t an option in the Hurley house.” When there was a need, they were going to try and meet it.
Today, as Kerri talks about her family, she is overflowing with praise to the Lord (and a little pride for her children) as she continues to watch her children and their children serve. In a recent Inasmuch Day, Kerri watched her daughter Amanda with her two young children visit shut-in people in their community.
“My daughter was determined to participate with her children even though she had a baby 10 days later. I think the key, though, is that it was important to her from childhood to now carry on the tradition with her own children… even during a pandemic safely outside, and even when it was physically uncomfortable for her to participate. She wanted her own children to be a part of this ministry. That is what I see with families all around us. Families working together and youth saying “what else can I help you do?”
During a recent conversation, she heard her son talking about ways that he served during his college years in Chapel Hill. He mentioned 3-4 organizations that he served with that she never even knew about. Kerri said, “I was so pleased to hear him tell this story. I know it was how he was raised, but he did those things on his own. And, he did it because it’s part of his DNA.”
Operation Inasmuch has been part of so many other family’s stories. So many people at Snyder Memorial Baptist Church have gone on to work/serve in some sort of ministry, go into full time missions, or even become pastors. Generations of children have grown up with compassion ministry and now serving others is part of their DNA. And there are hundreds of other churches with this very same story!
If we are going to leave something for the next generation, why not let it be Jesus. We are told in Matthew 25 that when we feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, take in the stranger, clothe the naked, care for the sick, and visit the prisoners, we are doing these things for Jesus. Let’s leave a hunger and a desire to serve others and show compassion for our youth. Let’s help transform their DNA so that they authentically love others and see them the way Jesus sees them. Let’s be like the Hurleys!