A personal Christmas greeting fills the front yard at the home of Dan and Wendy Smith. Dan may be best known as the founder of Eleos Ministries, which operates Eleos Coffee at 3401 Independence Ave.
Dan and Wendy, pictured with 3 of their 4 children, moved to Northeast and purchased their 1885 home in the Pendleton Heights neighborhood about 10 years ago, after looking for an area where their ministry could make a difference to those in need.
At first, they thought they would operate the coffee business from their home, but when a suitable building became available it was an opportunity to actually be in the community on the Avenue where the homeless population frequented. A few years ago, they were able to expand the coffee shop and roasting operation into a vacant space next door.
“We knew a few people that lived in the area and decided to join the effort in the revival [of the neighborhood] and engage with and help the homeless problem. We love the diversity of the people here and the diversity of the architecture,” Dan said.
Their inspiration for the card-style message was a block in an Olathe, Kan., neighborhood, where every house sets up a greeting card in the front yard. They had a local artist do the lettering, featuring scripture from the Book of Matthew 1:21, and the card is lit at night so their greeting is visible day or night.
“Our message is meant to share the incredibly good news of the coming of Jesus. We just want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas,” Dan said.