When I used to read of people helping out at homeless shelters or working at food pantries I used to think, “I would like to do that,” but I never did…I felt sad seeing some of the people who were so needy but I just never followed through.
When my husband Ned and I began to attend Flowing Wells Assembly of God I found out there was a food pantry once a week in the fellowship hall and people would come and line up for hours outside waiting for food that was donated to the church. Ned wanted to get involved and began helping every week. I went down a few times but I would get so worn out I stopped going. Not everyone is called to a ministry like this. But as the weeks rolled into months and then years Ned and other people came to help and oftentimes those were the same folks who had been there to receive help…Our pastor Steve Collins worked with the ministry and they were able to bring chairs inside where people can sit and be comfortable..there are now clothes given out, diapers and dog food. It has grown in love.
Ned and I both began to fall in love with the guests who came, even though I did not come often…we began to trust each other, like each other, spend time with one another…what I loved most is that most of these men and women didn’t put up walls or try to be anything other than who they were..people who met Jesus and He changed their lives…I like to think of the food pantry as “The Giving Tree.”
We have volunteers from Flowing Wells and also TCI, Tucson Church International, a church that meets in our church. We have mixed and loved and laughed, prayed for each other, cried with one another and become friends…at our church we also have two Spanish churches and a Church of refugees from Burundi with their own pastor. I guess it comes down to the 2 greatest commandments Jesus spoke of: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and mind and soul and your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22: 37-40.
You can be a giving tree in your church, your home, your world…this month my husband Ned went into the hospital to have a procedure done…I was a little nervous waiting for him. There was a woman in the waiting room talking loudly on her cell phone..I really wanted to ask her to be quiet but then I thought she was worried and I ended up reaching out to her and we later prayed together. It was wonderful praying with someone I didn’t even know..this dear soul was hoping her husband did not have cancer..and then it hit me…we were the giving Tree right at that moment, in that hospital, in that waiting room, giving to each other…I ask you to be a giving tree this month to someone, anyone the Lord puts on your heart and I can guarantee you that YOU WILL FEEL THE JOY OF THE LORD…and be part of God’s tree of life…..love and prayers, kathy