and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me…Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. Matt 25:35, 40 (NIV)
In 2018 the Lord put in my heart a burden to serve our community, especially the underserved and homeless.
In 2017 I had started making mats for the homeless out of plastic grocery bags. I was able to come in contact withPastor Lonnie Honeycutt who meets with the homeless in our community to provide for their needs. I gave him 5 mats I had crocheted and made 30 beanies distributed early in 2018. That really excited me because I didn't just want to make the mats/beanies but also to help meet other needs of the homeless as most choose not to use the services of the many agencies in our area. Just like the homeless there are many others in our area that have many needs.
What is my vision for this ministry?
I want us to be intentional. What I mean by that is, I don't want us just to take all donations in and get full of items which we may not be able give to the homeless or those in need. I want us to find out the need and then go about filling it. I want us to work together with the needs and to serve. A ministry where we minister to the community, hands on.
Arnold (Sparky) Watts said ”the only thing that matters is the beautiful color of love.” ( http://www.chickensoup.com/book-story/48033/the-beautiful-color-of-love} It reminded me of the upheaval of our times. We live in a world today where the color of our skin, the job we have or the party we belong to has become all too important. These words remind me of God's love for all of us..."Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Colossians 3:11
One of our church members, her kids, and I had the privilege of fulfilling a special need for donations that we had gathered to the Director of Wilmer Hall Children’s Home who was on hand to receive our donations. He was very thankful. We also got to meet one of the boys that was graduating from high school and would be on his way to boot camp.
Clothing was donated by NBC15 in December of 2018— shirts, some light jackets and hats as well as beanies made with donated yarn were distributed to the homeless in early February.
Since early 2019 Blessing bags and purses have beenplaced in the back of our church for members to take and give to those they see around the city throughout the year.
For 4 months we also provided coats and blankets to the immigrants that were being bused through Mobile by ICE to the detention centers; as they come with no appropriate clothing for the weather or the coldness in the buses anddetention centers.
30 sets of sheets and down comforters were given to Family Promise for the families they serve.
I was led to a couple that I saw giving out meals to people in the back of our main library downtown in September. The Dailey's, once themselves homeless, were led to serve a meal to the homeless twice a month. I spoke with them and we agreed to partner resources with them. Iknew it was an opportunity to be His hands n feet atChristmas. We gathered 50 purses, 50 bags and 20 small bags for children and filled them with self-care items as well as assisted monetarily with the Christmas meal the Dailey’s cooked. That day we served 85 homeless individuals and gave out 100 meals with the Dailey's. It was a blessing to all!
Due to restrictions, our activities were less but we were still able to serve in small ways by giving gift cards for food and gas, clothing and linens for families starting over, coats and blankets for a mother and son (with a disability), a car seat and clothing for a mother in need.
In November the Ministry and Hispanidad Unida were able to fill and 35 boxes of clothing, food and medical items that were sent to Honduras after they were hit by hurricanes Eta and Iota which caused severe destruction throughout the country.
Christmas gifts for a lady with 3 boys who had just moved to a new place.
And a grandmother with 7 grandchildren in need of blankets and gifts.
A great end to a year with many challenges!!
In December contact was made with two young ladies named Tori Caldwell (local watercolor artist) and Amber Swain (environmental activist). They wanted to help provide for the needs of the homeless in Mobile. We agreed that they would share the supplies they had gathered and more would be acquired for us to jointly make purses and bags.
After many days and many volunteer hours we were finished making the bags and purses on January 22. We made 151 bags and 106 purses.
Contact was maintained with the Dailey’s who started Servitude Community Coalition, Inc., who graciously agreed again to let us accompany them as they gave food to those who were hungry.
During the time we were making bags and purses Ms. Verma Blair and Mrs. Lillian Chandler came faithfully every week to help straighten and organize the Ministry room. There's order in a room that's been chaotic for 3 years. They also helped making bags and bagging items. Also Paul Mattison and Phil Blair put together more clothing racks in the room. We are now able to hang up all the clothing!
All this giving could not have been possible without all the partners and individuals who gave of their time and funds: Tori Caldwell and friends, Amber Nicole Swain, Open Doors Thrift Stores (provided clothing, purses and 250 bibles), Goodwill Industries (provided purses), Servitude Community Coalition, Inc., Dirk and Amanda Young, Lori and Rick Grubb, Sher Graham, Ida Lockette, Whitney and her husband, DeRhonda Wages, Inez Cardenas, and many others who donated and volunteered.
Pastor Adriane Buettel and the children of our Church, together with the help of their parents, put together 56 bags for homeless children. The children color coded each.
Together with Servitude Community Coalition, Inc., who provided meals to all we met and Pastor Diane Baldwin and her husband who brought an eye chart and provided reading glasses to all who needed them. We were able to do downtown as well as to 3 of the motels where individuals who are being put up by other organizations and individuals were living.
We went to Wings of Life Recovery Program, a Christian based program for drug and alcohol recovery. We had an opportunity to meet with the ladies in the program and two individuals shared their stories and recovery. The ladies were happy with their purses, and happy to take a picture with us. Pastor was asked to come again for an evening service. They have also asked us to meet so we can further discuss how we can be of service to them. More to come.
We were also able to share the time with One Meal Mobile as St. Luis Baptist Missionary Church and gave out the rest of the bags and purses. Many did ask for blankets, as February is the coldest month of our winter
It always gives me such a pleasure to see the smiles and hear the thank yous from the people we give the blessing bags and purses. God showed up mightily this month as we shared God’s love and mercy with those who have found themselves homeless. We are his hands and feet!!
At this time we are working on filling 200 blessing bags, 100 purses, and 50 children’s backpacks for those living in the streets. We are also distributing food to families and individuals in need throughout our community.