Special from the Adams Rescue Mission

By Lex McMillan

For 27 years she has served the Adams Rescue Mission with dedication and joy.  One cannot be in Connie Keller’s presence long without feeling the warmth of God’s love in her big smile and twinkling eyes.  She was reluctant to let me interview her for this little column.  “It’s not about me,” she said.  “It’s about the lives we see God changing through our work.  We are just His instruments.”  After some friendly arm-twisting, she consented to the interview since she is soon retiring from full-time service. Happily, she is continuing on a part-time basis to help with a smooth transition in family ministry.

She grew up near Silver Run, Md., the youngest of three children and the only girl in a loving family.  She speaks with deep affection of her parents who passed on to her their strong work ethic.  More importantly, they taught her to be kind, generous, and compassionate, especially to those in need.  It was not until 1987, however, when she dedicated her life to the Lord that she came to realize what a strong foundation her parents had given her.

Her work at ARM began with a notice in her church bulletin seeking volunteers.  One thing led to another and before long, Bruce Deitrick had the wisdom to offer her a full-time job.  Bruce says, “This world is a better place because of Connie.  And I am a better man because I know her.”

Initially, she helped with general office work and became the Mission’s self-taught bookkeeper.  She discovered her passion, however, when she became involved in family ministry, mostly with single women and children.  “I found my niche,” she says with feeling.  “It was never a job.  I have loved every day of it.”  Ultimately, she became the Director of Family Ministry at Agape House on Chambersburg Street. Over the years 311 families have been served, and 32 babies have been born during their mothers’ residency.

She most values the privilege of witnessing Christ healing the broken-hearted, setting captives free.  The clients often speak of there being nothing like Agape House.  There is no judgment here, no blaming for past mistakes.  “We all make mistakes,” Connie says with her warm smile.  “We offer hope and encouragement.  That’s sometimes all that’s needed.  It’s unconditional love–that’s what “agape” means. Seeing the impact on those in need, that’s joy!”

The most challenging aspect of the work is realizing that she can’t fix everything.  This has helped her grow in faith, to accept her dependence on God.  To sum it up, she quotes her favorite Bible verse:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

The Adams Rescue Mission exists to proclaim the passion of Jesus toward the hungry, homeless, abused, and addicted; to accelerate recovery and restoration to the least, last, lonely, and lost. 

 Lex McMillan is an ARM board member.

To support the Mission: http://www.adamsrescuemission.org/donate-now.