Tuesday was a pretty good day. We spent the morning helping the church serve over 430 families through their partnership with the St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance. Many of those coming in for groceries are homeless, others are simply unemployed or working poor. It is a ministry of love and compassion that allows the church to build relationships with people that will lead to encounters with the Gospel. One older man, a Muslim, came over just to help pass out food and wound up agreeing to start meeting with the pastor to learn more about Christ. He later came and spoke with us at length, expressing gratitude for our presence and hope for our trip to be blessed. He was impressed that anyone so young would come so far to help.
After the food distribution ended, we ate lunch with the other volunteers who came to eat, then began an afternoon of deep cleaning the facilities. We cleaned doorknobs and bathrooms, windows and offices and the sanctuary. It wasn’t glamorous, but it’s a large building that hasn’t had a congregation capable of keeping up with cleaning and maintenance for quite some time.
In our down time we have enjoyed getting to know members of the core team like Randy, a solid brother in Christ with a shaky past filled with long years of incarceration, drug-use and hard living. He’s fought through cancer and addiction and the stigma of being an ex-con to become a leader with solid theology and wide influence in the community. While we were working today at the food bank, his wife, Carla—who runs a thrift store on the property—had a heart attack. Sunday will be their first anniversary. We dropped everything to pray for her and were blessed to hear later in the day that she was sent home from the hospital and will probably make a full recovery. Obviously there’s more to that story, but what a God we serve!
Tired, but still somewhat energetic, our own team found time after dinner to play Cutthroat on a billiards table the church has in one of their Sunday School classes.