By JOHNNY DONALDSON
Give together so we can rise together
Please allow me to begin with a short quote that came to my spirit many years ago. The quote is titled, “He That Is Within Me.” As you read the following words, my earnest prayer is that you will not see me, but He That Is Within Me. For you see, He That Is Within Me is far greater than he that you see in these words. The HE is my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Working together: What a marvelous statement! History has proved we can accomplish unimaginable things when we choose to work together. In my lifetime, I have been blessed to see many examples of miracles happening when we work together: as a Gulf War Veteran, seeing individuals pull together in life-threatening situations that caused each of us to trust our fellow soldier with our life; or as a deacon in a small church in south Mississippi, seeing a handful of members come together to raise funds to purchase new pews. They gave of their own resources to accomplish a greater good that will bless others for years to come.
Mission Mississippi has been a blessing in my life in many ways. I have been able to grow relationships that I probably would not have been able to grow otherwise. One life-changing experience for me occurred at a Mission Mississippi breakfast meeting with fellow business and church leaders at The University Club in downtown Jackson. I was fairly new to the organization, and was keenly interested to see and hear how a room of black and white individuals would embrace the discussion of race relations with each other.
I was surprised to hear a white gentleman, approximately 60 years of age, explain how when the civil rights movement was at its height in Mississippi, he was not aware of it as a child. The room went silent! How can you say you didn’t know? He went on to explain that during those times, his parents shielded him from any of that type of information, whether on TV or in the newspaper. So the topic was never discussed with him in their household. He stood there with tears in his eyes and explained to the room, “I DID NOT KNOW.” As he grew older and explored on his own, he was able to determine that the things that were happening to African-Americans were not right.
As you would imagine, the room was in amazement at this information, but the magic happened after he finished speaking. Because of the openness of the room, and the positive, non-threatening atmosphere created by the leadership and members of Mission Mississippi, the hearts in the room were ready to receive such information. The magic was when the brothers in the room, black and white, embraced this gentleman and said, “It’s OK, we understand!”
You see, each individual — black and white — had to make a conscious decision that we are greater, bigger and better as ONE than we are divided. In the Gospel of Mark 3:25, Jesus states, “And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” So, to answer that age-old question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Yes, I am. We must realize that when my brother is down, so am I. We must choose to work together and give together, so Mission Mississippi can continue to provide opportunities for racially diverse individuals to come together under the umbrella of Christ and learn from each other, so that we might better understand our brother.
So we must give of our time, our talents, and yes, our resources to ensure the long-term viability of such an important cause. Let’s remember to GIVE together so we can RISE together. Be blessed! #GiveTogether
To donate to Mission Mississippi, you may:
• Text “give” to 601-869-0486 and follow the prompts
• Fill out the secure, online giving form at MissionMississippi.org/donate
• Or, mail a check to Mission Mississippi, P.O. Box 22655 Jackson, MS 39225.
Johnny is married to Dr. Stacey Donaldson, and they have two children, Camaryn and Cailyn. The Donaldson family attends Greater New Jerusalem MB Church in Jackson, where Johnny serves as an associate minister.