by Jasmine Johnson
Curled up under the floral comforter, I leaned over to switch on the lamp and grab my Bible. As I reflected on the day’s events and the many people I interacted with, I was reminded of this new place I get to call home.
I stumbled across a passage in Colossians I had underlined previously that describes ECHO’s unique community quite well.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” - Colossians 3:12
As I was introduced to my office space, an anchor-patterned mug, colorful file folders, a bowl of Hershey’s chocolates, matching notebooks, twelve blue pens, and a kind note greeted me:
“May the stories you write take you on an exciting adventure of seeing the world and your gifts with a new perspective. Welcome to ECHO!”
The kind and compassionate hearts of each individual here naturally overflow onto those around them.
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” - Colossians 3:13
During my second experience of weekly devotions, CEO David Erickson emphasized that we are all in the middle of our stories. Oftentimes we get so caught up in the beauty of the beginning or the mystery of the end that we lose sight of where God is working every day.
ECHO fosters a teaching and learning environment where grace and forgiveness are both necessary and plentiful. We will all make mistakes along the way, but we are collectively working towards more fulfilling relationships with God and others.
“And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” - Colossians 3:14
As I followed behind the other interns, we wandered around the trails and compared three different types of mangos. One person would peel and slice each kind and drop a small cube into the crowd of outstretched hands.
Although a simple gesture, we bonded over this shared experience and treat.
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” - Colossians 3:15
Any time I have the opportunity to journey from the office to the bookstore, I enjoy the stillness of the farm. Peace settles over my scattered mind as I gaze at the marvel of God's creation. The gravel path lined with various fruit trees prompts a natural response of thanksgiving.
“Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.” - Colossians 3:16
Nothing compares to the sound of vulnerable voices raising their praise to God. Every Monday morning, ECHO’s entire staff gathers to do just that. Each work week begins with a clear reminder of why we are here and who we serve.
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” - Colossians 3:17
Beyond the weekly gatherings of prayer and worship, part of ECHO’s vision and mission is to honor and follow the Lord. Entering into this atmosphere has shown me that faith, hard work, and community were designed to coexist.