“ Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”
(Psalm 126:2 NIV)
One of the joys of volunteering regularly at Mission Central is learning where items go and how they are used. One of our largest resource contributors is Giant Food Stores. They clear their shelves of holiday goods from a particular season in preparation for the next season and they generously give us their left over items. We are grateful for each item and happily take time to sort, box, stack on pallets, shrink wrap and store them in readiness for distribution the next year. Churches and individuals use these seasonal items in a variety of ways to benefit individuals in their churches and communities.
My family has also been touched by these generous donations. Last year, when my brother Max traveled from western Pennsylvania to pick up Easter items, there were no stuffed animals left. This year I was given permission to hold two boxes of the toys for him.
When he came to pick them up he brought supplies for UMCOR school kits as well as other items for donation. All he took home were the stuffed animals. The next week I received this text: “How about some joy? Before I made plans with the stuffed animals, I got a call. She said they were making Easter baskets for sixty hospice patients. Do you wanna know how many plush toys were in those boxes?” I responded, “Exactly what you needed” and his affirmation was, “Every time!”
When the Christmas merchandise is put on the shelves in the Mission Central store, I look for cards for my Mother. They must have scripture inside them since she won’t send anything that is not a reflection of her faith.
Mom has dementia and lives in a lovely assisted living facility. She has a tremor that prevents her from writing legibly. Since my father’s recent death, I am the one who helps by addressing the cards for my mother. This year, just when I thought we were finished, she looked at me with distress and said, “I don’t have cards for my pastors”. They’ve been especially tender and helpful this year and she wanted cards to acknowledge her thanks.
She finally found a card she liked and decided she would send it to the church office for all three of her pastors together. As I wrote their names on the card, she instructed “put The Three Wise Men on the second line”. When the card was addressed and the stamp affixed, she read it and burst out laughing. Her laughter was so infectious we both laughed until tears formed. “I’ll bet no one else did this” she said through her tears.
Her witty wisdom transformed my fatigue and opened a window to reveal the mom I knew. When I got the cards, I had no way of knowing what a rich gift they would be for me. Thank you Mission Central, for making the Giant resources available for all of us to be used to minister in many different ways.
PRAYER: Caring God, we offer You praise and thanksgiving that we can be part of a chain of giving and receiving in wonderful ways that are a blessing to others–and sometimes ourselves. Thank you for each donation to Mission Central and each donor. We pray that every resource will be a tangible reminder of Your amazing Love. AMEN
(Rev. Ruth Ward, Coordinator of Mission Education)
May 18, 2016 Giving and Receiving (downloadable .pdf)