“We all live off his generous bounty, gift after gift after gift. We got the basics from Moses, and then this exuberant giving and receiving. This endless knowing and understanding—all this came through Jesus, the Messiah.”
(John 1:16-17 MSG)
I had the privilege of sharing the story of Mission Central during each of the three worship services at Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Mechanicsburg. After each service I went into the narthex to greet people as they left.
During the greeting time a man, whom I later learned was an oncologist, told me he had discovered a check in his pocket when he was coming into the church. He said he was disappointed that he had failed to deposit it. “But,” he said, “I know now why I didn’t deposit it. God intended that I give it as a donation to Mission Central.”
A few months later the doctor approached me said he wanted to tell me about one of his patients. “She is 19 years old, is in stage 4 ovarian cancer and living at the YWCA in Harrisburg.” He went on to say that she really didn’t have any family. Her mother was a prostitute and the girl had come through the foster care system. She was raised by a family who locked her in the house and treated her badly because of her circumstances. She had gone to cyber-school and didn’t have friends. All of her earthly goods were stored in a trash bag. He wondered if there was anything Mission Central could do for her.
Although, I didn’t know the young woman’s name, I felt led to pray for her and I decided to call her “Gracie”. As I prayed for Gracie and thought about ways Mission Central might help, I thought of the gently used shoes and clothing stored there, as well as the suitcases that are collected at Mission Central and often used to transport supplies for groups going on mission trips.
I went to the warehouse and was able to fill two suitcases with clothes, shoes and personal supplies for Gracie. In addition, the church prayed over a blanket for her. All this was given to the doctor to give to Gracie.
Later, the doctor told me that Gracie could not believe so many people could love her or care about her needs. She enjoyed dressing up in her new clothes and she carried the blanket with her everywhere.
A few months later the doctor told me Gracie had lost her battle with cancer. Gracie went to be with God. But, she left the earth having experienced the grace of God through Mission Central and the humble gifts of a blanket, used suitcases, clothing and shoes. These gifts filled her heart with hope and joy because they were tangible proof that she was loved.
PRAYER: Loving God, we feel privileged to play a small part in sharing Your unending Love with others. We thank you for the life of “Gracie”, and for all who played a part in helping her experience Your love and grace in her final days of life. AMEN
(Marsha Fisher, former President of Mission Central Board)
May 11, 2016 Grace for Gracie (downloadable .pdf)