By Jo Ann Carpenter
If I were a Biblical scholar I would quote many scriptures why we should take care of the poor. We have all heard them at one time or another at Church or Sunday School. At Refuge of Hope, we talk about providing for the needs of those living in dire circumstances. I personally like helping people and making them smile. Scripturally, organizationally, or personally, it is the right thing to do.
By providing for the immediate physical needs of people we open doors to meet their spiritual and emotional needs as well! We provide clothing, food, shelter and other vital needs for men, women, and children with the intention of helping them in other ways.
Rachel and her five kids came to Refuge of Hope in search of hot meals. They found them. When the children had clothing needs they received clothing. After Rachel expressed some household needs to us we asked others to help fulfill those needs and they did. Two years later Rachel’s two youngest boys accepted Jesus as their Savior after the Meal Ministry! There are two sheep added to the flock of our Shepherd.
Do you know the most disturbing thing I do hear from adults in the shelter and meal ministry? My family and friends won’t forgive me so how can God? Or I have done some really bad things, been to jail and now have no one left in my life. Even, why try? I will only mess up again.
All of those comments weigh heavy on my heart. As we try to help, I have found words are just words unless followed up with action! The action of housing and feeding people are just a first step. The words I read once on a church marquee apply here, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
Jesus loved us so much he suffered and died on the cross for us. All of us! To me, the key is to provide for those needs of food and shelter and love people into desiring to change. Love them even if they don’t change. Love them now because they may remember it in the future and it could impact their lives. Maybe we will help rescue a lost sheep and they will return to the flock.
What is your reason for donating, volunteering and praying for the men, women, and children we serve at Refuge of Hope? Why do I? Well, it is my job, of course, but more than that, I believe God called me to this job to serve others. He gifted me with skills I would need to serve others. And I am grateful for that opportunity!
I am humbled at how God can use me, the resources He has provided to sustain me, stretch me, and give back in so many different ways. My passion is the folks we serve at Refuge of Hope, the ones I have known for years, just getting to know, and the ones I’ll meet in the future.
Why do we help those in need? It is the right thing to do. The bigger picture is this, it helps them, but it also helps us and most importantly it is pleasing to our Shepherd watching over His flock.