OK, I am sort of cheating, because normally I just write one article for the eNewsletter, but this is a story I couldn’t resist sharing with you, because it is a more beautiful picture of our new mission statement of Neighbor serving Neighbor in action than I could have ever imagined.
A family got in touch with GraceWorks telling us the things that God had put on their hearts, one of which was to serve their neighbors. They asked us to host a Mobile Food Pantry on their behalf in partnership with their smaller community food pantry. They would pay the $2,500 for the Mobile Food Pantry, if we would recruit and vet the families, purchase the food from Second Harvest and handle the logistics of the event. In other words GraceWorks would be the “conduit,” so to speak, for how they felt God was calling them to spend their treasures. Not just their money, but their time and their prayers. This family then joined the other 100 or so volunteers who came to the Mobile Food Pantry to serve and to pray with those receiving food.
Their obedience to God’s prompting allowed us to distribute 130 full grocery carts of food and thereby feed 405 family members. While these are the numbers are measurable, what is immeasurable is the witness to us of their willingness to let God lead them and the expanse of God’s economy in how He used this obedience to bless so many!
In the words of a member of this family, here are some of his neighbors he had a chance to meet:
“I was privileged to pray for several individuals: One elderly women had a lot of pain in her right hip and other parts of her body. Another was in dire need of finances and was debating selling some of her possessions so she could eat. The one that hit me the hardest was a women who had just received a bad report, the day before, that she had Stage 2 breast cancer. I also met one person who was on her way to a funeral, but needed food first. I checked on her a little later as I knew she needed to be at the funeral home by 10 am. She was fine and took the wait in stride.”
Exemplifying the GraceWorks’ Neighbor serving Neighbor mission statement didn’t end there. At this same Mobile Food Panty, one woman knew of a group of families in the area who could not make it to the Mobile Food Pantry, so she took four carts of food and shared it with 16 needy families. She even called back later to see if any food was left over because she knew of more families who needed food. We learned that other neighbors who attended the event shared food with those who because of a lack of transportation couldn’t come to the Mobile Food Pantry.
Neighbor serving Neighbor didn’t even stop there! Pastors from three other neighborhood churches came to the Mobile Food Pantry to support the pastor who allowed us to host the event at his church. The host pastor, as well as the other community pastors, greeted and prayed with neighbors as they waited to receive food. We were also able to give some food to the host church for its members in this struggling neighborhood to share amongst themselves.
Here is an excerpt from an email the host church sent:
“I want to thank you again for bringing the Mobile Food Pantry to our community and for using our church. Our congregation is still riding on Cloud 9! Everyone couldn’t believe the amount of food you brought and the number of folks who benefited!”
I didn’t think I would see our new mission statement in action so clearly or so quickly. I want to see God do more of this in us and through us. I hope you will share your stories with us of how He is using you to serve your neighbor or how He is using your neighbor to serve you. This is kind of serving is too good not to keep it going or to keep telling about it. How awesome would it be if we can start a contagious movement of serving one another throughout the county and beyond! Maybe that is even one of the original ideas GraceWorks was started with.
Your Servant in Christ,
Valencia A. Breckenridge, CEO
P.S. If you would like to see a Mobile Food Pantry in action, we were recently blessed with a grant from Second Harvest to host one in Fairview this Saturday, Aug. 11, at the Fairview Middle School from 8 am to 10 am. Better yet maybe you, your congregation or your business would like to host one for a needy community God has put in your view.