Appalachian Dawn will never be a blockbuster hit or bring home an Oscar.
However, what this documentary can and will do is serve as an inspiration to communities losing themselves to addictions.
I first heard of this documentary a few months ago when Annie Margaret Caldwell mentioned it to me. She was singing the praises of not only the documentary but the people of Clay County, Ky.
Annie Margaret said the people of that county, more specifically Manchester, had gotten fed up with addiction and poverty that had plagued it for decades.
Appalachian Dawn tells the story of how Manchester prayed its way into change.
I made a mental note to watch it- eventually.
A few weeks ago, Ann Hatmaker, a dear friend and surrogate grandparent to my children, was talking about a documentary she had seen. It showed how God was at work in the town of Manchester, Ky. She said everyone in Campbell County needed to watch this. Remembering I had heard that exact phrase a few weeks earlier, I asked if she was referring to Appalachian Dawn.
At this point, I said, “okay- somebody wants me to see this thing.”
After all two of the most God fearing, spirit filled ladies I knew were telling me to watch this. I figured I better so I borrowed Ann’s copy.
As I watched the 122 minutes of Appalachian Dawn I was struck by the similarities of that community and ours. Both are filled with good, honest, hard working people. Their people are proud and want a decent life for all they love.
But the communities also shared a cycle of poverty, drug abuse and spiritual apathy. Manchester broke that cycle- Campbell County has yet to.
How did they do this?
First of all the community members made a collective decision to do something. Notice it was the community- not several splinter groups or factions.
They then tore down the denominational walls that isolate so many churches. The good people of Manchester realized and acknowledged that we all serve the same God. The God that listens to our prayers and that can work to heal a community that has been shattered.
He will help a community turn itself around- if it asks.
Annie Margaret and Ann both said what happened there could happen here. They are right.
Campbell County can end the problems that have plagued it for decades.
But first we must come together. We have to understand we all want the same thing- a better place for us and for the generations to come.
In Manchester, they began the change with weekly prayer meetings. That’s right the Baptist, the Methodists, the Pencostals, the Presbyterians all came together in one place held hands and ask God for change.
Campbell County could do that.
I was born and raised here. And I have made a decision to remain and raise my family here. I have witnessed the good in the people of the place I call home.
I have also witnessed the miracles God has worked in so many lives, including my own.
That is why I know if this community would collectively hit its knees and say “enough” change would occur.
Generally speaking I am not the cheerleader type. Most days I am not even an optimists.
However, Sunday after I watched Appalachian Dawn I realized this county can do exactly what Manchester did.
I was just left with one lingering question- what are we waiting on?