Dawsonville man James Davis, along with his wife Kellie and daughters, 19-year-old Katie Davis and 20-year-old Ashley Groves, follows up church services each week with a family Sunday supper and time spent together.
While looking for family activities to do one week, Ashley came up with the idea of painting rocks together. Since then, the simple idea has grown into a ministry the family has used to witness in the community and bring them closer to one another.
According to Groves, she first thought of the idea of painting rocks as a family activity, but it quickly turned into a craft with a purpose.
“I said ‘let’s just paint some rocks’ and then I said ‘what better thing would it be than to write scripture and put it places so that way it can pick people up or help get them through the day’,” Groves said. “So I went out and bought some paint and we all started doing it together, and we usually do it every Sunday and take them out different places and share it on our Facebook group.”
The family paints the rocks with colorful designs and drawings, and then they add scripture verses or references to them.
“We love to just sit down and sometime we’ll create a rock and find a scripture to go with whatever the theme of the rock is,” Groves said. “We’ve done a lot of different things; we’ve come up with these cute little pictures and stuff like that and we all just enjoy doing it together.”
After they finish painting the rocks, the family then puts them in different places in the community, from parks to businesses and everything in between. While they live in Dawsonville, they have distributed the painted rocks to locations all throughout neighboring counties in hopes of providing a little pick-me-up to the people who find the rocks.
“I usually carry a bunch of them in my truck, so like today while I was out and about I just put some out while I was running through town,” James Davis said. “We do pretty much all of northeast Georgia, so like Forsyth, we had some up in Blairsville at Meeks Park and some of the parks up in the mountains like Toccoa Falls and stuff we’ll put some out there, just wherever we’re at.”
The family started a Facebook group, called “Stones of Faith”, where they post photos of the rocks and hints of where they’ve dropped each one off. They put their Facebook page on the back of the rocks so people can visit it, and they’ve even received photos back from a couple of the people who have found the rocks.
“I put some out in Blairsville and I found it on their page that they have, some lady said that through the rain and her migraine she hasn’t been out and she actually found one of ours and she was just saying how it made her day and everything,” Groves said.
The goal, Kellie Davis said, is that the people who find the rocks will be encouraged and will either place the rock somewhere else or take it home with them as a reminder of that encouragement.
“We just think in this time and this world we need some encouragement and help and just to help people out,” Kellie Davis said. “Somebody could be having a really bad day and they just find a simple little rock that says ‘God loves you’ and that could just turn their whole day around and make a difference in their outlook.”
James Davis said that he places the rocks in the community throughout the week, and the family estimates that they’ve done more than 40 at this point. They sometimes even just hand the rocks out to people they see in the community that look like they could use a pick-me-up, and he said that they plan on having a basket of the rocks at their booth at the Amicalola Regional Farmers Market in Dawsonville.
An ultimate goal, he added, would be to spread the idea of the painted rocks as far as possible.
“I’d also like to see people share it all over on Facebook, so maybe people all over the U.S. can start doing it themselves,” James Davis said.
In the end, Groves said that the goal is to reach as many people as they can with the encouraging scripture messages and reminders that they aren’t alone.
“We go to Harmony Baptist here in Dawsonville and we try to help out all we can; we’re trying to get involved with the church as much as we can,” Groves said. “That’s what started the idea was if we can’t reach everybody, maybe we can put these out and they can find them.”
And an added benefit, James Davis added, is that the project has brought their family even closer together than they already were.
“We do it a lot just to bring the family together and have a good time on the weekends,” James Davis said. “That’s one thing we stress a lot is to take time out to spend with your family; you’re always so busy busy busy but you need to take time out to spend it with your family.”
To see more photos of the family’s painted rocks and hints to where in the community you can find one yourself, go to https://www.facebook.com/groups/608395583602391.