By Blake Tommey
She fights crime in the city she loves. Crooks and drug dealers tremble at the sound of her voice and flee for their lives when she arrives on the scene. With colossal strength and an even larger heart, she’ll settle for nothing short of justice. She has rescued people on the verge of death. Local law enforcement owes her a debt of gratitude. She is strong and compassionate, fearless and independent. She represents the very best of womanhood, but she isn’t a member of the Justice League or the Avengers.
Her name is Cindy Anderson and she’s a member of Grace and Main Fellowship, an intentional community devoted to hospitality and relationships among Danville, Virginia’s most vulnerable and a CBF Engagement Partner. Anderson now serves as a leader and networker with Grace and Main, organizing community meals and helping homeless residents alongside Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel Jessica Hearne and her husband Josh. She earned her Wonder Woman-worthy reputation, however, after attending her first dinner and contemplative prayer service, Jessica Hearne said, when she returned to her apartment complex and began chasing drug dealers off the property.
“I had to have safety in my life. I felt a change was necessary, and I wanted to step up and do that,” Anderson explained.
“There was a lot of drug dealing going on in the building, and I was in fear for my safety because people were in the hallway all night and I live by myself. The landlord said I had permission to run them off the property. So, I confronted the drug dealers face-to-face. I told them, ‘Y’all are going to have to leave the property. If you do not leave the property, everything on you will be confiscated and you will be arrested and go to jail because I’m going to call the police.’”
Anderson wasn’t lying.
She began working with local police to stem drug crime in her neighborhood and successfully organized her neighbors in demanding their tenant rights from the landlord, including safety from overt crime, sealed windows and working heat, not to mention ceiling fans that didn’t threaten to fall on you in your sleep. Anderson even administered overdose protocol to a woman in her complex and called the ambulance that saved her life.
With no living family, Anderson says her new family at Grace and Main helped her have faith in the midst of darkness and propelled her forward to continue helping her community. With support from the CBF Offering for Global Missions, which makes possible the long-term presence of Jessica Hearne, Anderson helps Grace and Main organize a hospitality network for people experiencing homelessness, gathers groceries for weekly community dinners and lends her expertise in accessing social services for disability, bill-paying assistance and other resources for those emerging from homelessness in Danville. Even as she battles chronic immobility because of an injury, Anderson says she owes her life to Jesus and to the beloved community that opened her to the true nature of God—never-ending love.
“We just have love, never-ending love for everyone because Christ loves us so much,” Anderson said.
“We go to the limit, you might say, to ensure that someone is taken care of. The strengths of Danville are its people, its community. It’s a beautiful city, but a lot of people don’t have food at home. A lot of people don’t have family. They might not even have a place to stay. We don’t want to see anyone on the street. We don’t want to see anyone hungry. We do everything possible to assist people. Lord willing, we will continue to be doing the same thing we’re doing now. I pray and hope that’s the Lord’s will because I know it’s our will.”
You can change the world through the love of Jesus Christ by supporting the Offering for Global Missions. The Offering is the primary source of support ensuring the long-term presence of CBF field personnel like Jessica Hearne. Give today at www.cbf.net/give.
Watch a video story below about Cindy and learn more about the ways CBF field personnel are cultivating Beloved Community at www.cbf.net/belovedcommunity.