A Place for Us now has a prayer garden located on the side lawn of the APFU home. This beautiful flower garden in the shape of a butterfly serves as a memorial to the life and faithful service of John Wayne Price Sr. Envisioned in the heart of Mrs. Tammie Price as a memorial to her late husband and a tribute to the many hours of labor and love he put into caring for the APFU home and property, the Butterfly Garden fittingly came together through the hands and service of several servant-hearted volunteers.
Reminiscent of the amazing ways that God moved to bring the community together to start this ministry, the story of how this garden came about serves as a reminder that this ministry was all God’s idea, and He is the One Who provides for His plans. Tammie Price tells the story:
Lesa and I attended a workshop in April of 2011. There we had to write out goals that we would like to accomplish within a year at the ministry. Three of the major things that we put on our list were to move the offices downstairs, to finish the book (The Story Matters), and to build a prayer garden in memory of John Wayne. The idea for a prayer garden had come to me at another conference the previous month. We had met a man who developed prayer gardens, and he also had stepping stones that had butterflies on them. (The butterfly was one of the ways that God comforted me after John Wayne passed away. He sent butterflies every day—sometimes fifty to one hundred butterflies in one day.) After meeting this man, I got really excited and hoped that we could design a prayer garden in the shape of a butterfly. So at the workshop in April, I told Lesa, “I would love to get the prayer garden done as well.” She thought, “Yeah right—a book written and a prayer garden built within the next year? Not likely!” Reading the look on her face, I made a statement: “If the Lord lays it on people’s hearts to do it, it could happen.”
Little did I know that He was going to do just that….
In January, we went to Charleston to work on the book. Lillian Moneyhun, who had offered the use of her family vacation house, overheard us talking about the butterfly garden and wanted to hear more about it. I did not tell her exactly what I had in mind to do which was just to make a small flower bed in the shape of a butterfly that would be on the hill where John Wayne passed away. She immediately became excited about the idea and decided to come home and contact her friends within the garden club to see if they would like to help with a butterfly garden for the ministry. She took the ball and ran with it, taking on a huge project far beyond my expectations.
At the same time, one of our staff members, Amy Boyer, asked if her small group from New Covenant could do a work project for us. So I told her we would love to have a group come and help build the prayer garden.
Many others who heard about it joined in to help prepare for the garden: Andy and Valerie, my son and daughter-in-law, prepared the ground with good topsoil; my children, grandchildren, and John Wayne’s brother and sister and their families made personalized stepping stones to place on the walking paths within the butterfly wings; and my niece, Blair, designed the butterfly.
Then on April 14, 2012, several volunteers came together to build the garden:
Ten members of Amy’s group from New Covenant
My pastor Rod Schultz and his son, Blake, and also Ken Neelands from Grace Community
Two of my sons, Johnny and Andy, and their families
John Wayne’s friend, Larry Higginbotham
My sisters and my niece
It was amazing to see the team that God brought together…just the right number of people with the right gifting and strengths to complete the job. We divided into teams, and the project that everyone thought would take a month took one day. We started at 9 a.m. and finished at 3 a.m. In six hours, not only did we complete the butterfly design but we also built a walkway from the driveway to the butterfly.
The Scripture God turned me to that morning to read before the project began was 1 Chronicles 28:20-21: “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged by the size of the task, for the Lord God, my God is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. He will see to it that all the work related to the Temple of the Lord is finished correctly. The various divisions of priests and Levites will serve in the temple of God. Others with skills of every kind will volunteer, and the leaders and the entire nation are at your command.”
And that is what He did. He even sent others who have been involved with other aspects of the garden:
- Matt Hall, a local sculptor, volunteered to create a water sculpture for the garden. He created a butterfly fountain, donating his time, talents, and materials.
- The sculpture was designed by Mary Catherine McCartha who also painted the finished product.
- Coleman Williamson, who designs gardens, volunteered his consultation services for the design and planting of the garden. He also donated many plants.
- Many of the ladies from the garden club Suzie, Mary D., Leslie, Ellenann, Jane, and Dr. Stewart spent a day planting, and many donated plants as well.
- The girls I work with at Tanglez and Larry Higginbotham donated money to purchase prayer benches, plants, sculptures, and other supplies.
We have also had many others to come out and help fulfill this dream. I think this garden must be important to the Lord because He so carefully handpicked just the people He wanted involved in building this garden. It is amazingly beautiful!!! We so appreciate every one of the men, women, and children who played a part in getting it done. We pray many who visit this garden will find comfort and peace and hear from the Lord as they draw near to Him.
The garden being a memorial for John Wayne Price Sr. reminds us of our faithful volunteers and also that it takes “many hands to make light work.” John Wayne served the Lord faithfully, and the Lord is faithful to remember the work that he did on His behalf. The same is true for each of our volunteers. God remembers the work they have done on His behalf. Below is the scripture God gave me for John Wayne’s funeral. I think it also applies to our faithful volunteers and prayer partners who have stood with us and served with us over the years.
Better things will come with salvation, for God is not unfair. He will not forget how hard you have worked for Him, and how you have shown love to Him by caring for others, especially Christians. His desire is that we would keep on loving others as long as our life lasts. In order to make certain that what we hope for will come true. Then we will not become spiritually dull and indifferent; instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and patience (Hebrews 6:9b-12, Re-phrased NLT).