A story of answered prayers: Hugh Kaul Trail and Sunrise Rotary Plaza! Have you seen the Won’t He Do It? meme or hashtag #wonthedoit? Well, this story is another testimony of answered prayers. As Tracy writes about in his letter this month, we rely on the Source of our resources. So we see stories of answered prayers so often that sometimes we forget to tell them.

When Tracy came to CSM twelve years ago, he prayed consistently about the backside of the property at the ministry center. The back was an abandoned railroad track filled with weeds. Many volunteers attempted to mow and pull out old, embedded railroad tracks each year. Even last summer (Summer 2021), we could barely cut the grass back there for all the metal, rocks, and uneven ground. Tracy believed the back area could be a fun, usable place for ministry and teams working at the mission.

Several times, CSM tried to buy a portion of the land from the railroad company with no success. We tried everything, and we just kept getting a no. So, we thought, “Well, it is not our time.” Throughout, Tracy continued to pray for the back area to be cleaned up and used.

Then we started to see God move. We heard rumors that the Freshwater Land Trust planned a trail connection on 1st and 2nd Ave (one street from us). We prayed that God would move that trail behind our building! Soon, we learned that the City of Birmingham had taken the same strip of land we had tried to buy from the Railroad company. It was only deeded to them for railroad use! We couldn’t believe it!

Quickly, the City turned it over to the Fresh Water Land Trust for the trail extension. Then they began raising money for the trail! We started seeing what we couldn’t see when we prayed previously. God had a bigger plan for that area than just a place for our groups to be! He wanted to bring the people of Birmingham to us! How cool is God right now?

Once we knew the trail would run behind our property, Tracy started connecting our business neighbors to Freshwater Land Trust. Then, we started cleaning up our side of the trail even more! We thought the trail was the story’s end and were excited and thankful. But God had even more surprises for us.

This year, we learned that the Sunrise Rotary Club wanted to build a plaza and put a statue in our backyard! Between both groups, more than $1.5 million has been invested in the land behind our building. God had a bigger plan than ours, and now we can sit back and be in awe of God’s provision.

This summer, we hosted many youth groups from all over the country. Several times Tracy watched these groups play ultimate frisbee, spike ball, and Uno card games on the deck. Groups enjoyed being in CSM’s backyard. We get to interact with the runners, bikers, and other people enjoying the trail, which is so fun. Often, we do not see answered prayers so specifically or enjoy the answered prayer so tangibly, so this gift from the Lord is just so kind.