It was such a blessing to be part of Operation Inasmuch again. Thanks to all who participated by being present in person or contributing to our various collections. We don’t have a count of how many people contributed toiletries or underwear for Urban Ministries, but, counting those who were present, 8 members who committed to the Prayer Team, and those who donated baked goods, we had 93 people involved in our projects. This includes 11 people from two other churches who joined us to work on Hope House, 8 of our children, and 9 of our youth. It was very exciting to see multiple generations working side-by-side in missions efforts.
Here is a report on our projects:
- We prepared 54 large toiletry kits and 70 small toiletry kits to be distributed through Urban Ministries of Durham. We will also be providing them with a variety of underwear, socks, diapers, and extra toiletries.
- We completed 36 soup kits for Urban Ministries that include all necessary ingredients and instructions for families.
- We created 24 gift bags that will be distributed to children undergoing cancer treatments through UNC Hospital. The bags include activity books, markers, small toys and things to do, hand sanitizer, and children’s Bibles.
- A group of 14 sang and led worship at two retirement communities and also distributed gift bags to those who attended.
- Nineteen people participated in demo work at Hope House.
- Five people painted a hallway at Families Moving Forward – the merged ministry formed from Interfaith Hospitality Network and Genesis House.
- Four of our men did repairs on the home of a veteran.
- We delivered casseroles to the Caring House and baked goods to the fire-fighters at the Fire Station on Swarthmore Road.
- Members prepared handwritten notes of appreciation to be given to the faculty and staff at Githens Middle School.
It was a good day with a high level of energy from those who participated. May God bless these efforts and continue to use us to be salt and light in our community and beyond.
Acts 2 describes a dramatic and transformative moment in the unfolding of God’s work in the world. After His death and resurrection, Luke tells us in Acts 1 that Jesus had ascended to heaven, but only after instructing the confused disciples to remain in Jerusalem until they received the Holy Spirit. At Pentecost the Spirit filled the disciples, the diverse crowd all heard the words of the disciples in their own respective languages, and Peter began to preach a message that resulted in about 3000 people professing faith in Jesus Christ. Many have remembered this event as the beginning of the church, and Pentecost is celebrated in some traditions as the birthday of the church.
Given the diversity of people and languages represented at Pentecost, it seems wonderfully appropriate that our Homecoming service falls this year on Pentecost and that we can join together in worship with our brothers and sisters from Valle de Esperanza. I have been blessed by the previous opportunities we have had to worship with these partners in ministry, and it will be a treat to be able to worship on Pentecost with different languages present. Their Worship Band will be leading us in worship with a couple of songs, and we will include both languages in the service. Pastor Julio DeLeon and I will both be sharing meditations as well. Then, after the service, we hope everyone will join us for our Homecoming covered-dish lunch. Bring some food to share, and plan to enjoy the meal and the fellow-ship.
On a different topic, we had a wonderful meeting on May 3 with other churches and partners interested in working with us on Hope House. We had 45 people from 10 other churches as well as representatives from the NC WMU, the Yates Association, CBF of NC, World Relief Durham, and United Solar Initiative, Inc. (the group that wants to provide solar panels for the house as a source of energy). The interest and excitement in the room was evident, and we have subsequently created a spreadsheet with a list of people from other churches interested in the renovation work, the funding of Hope House, and the Hospitality Team and actual ministry with the refugees. In addition, we received that evening more than $5000 from represented churches and individuals as well as confirmation that we have been approved for a grant for $1500 from CBF of NC. The foundation has now been repaired, and though much work remains to be done, God is active and is providing in exciting ways.
I hope to see you on Sunday as we worship and celebrate together.