By Janna Wiley
EIGHTY-SEVEN. OCHENTA Y SIETE. OCTOGINTA SEPTEM. KANAWALUKUMAMĀHIKU.
That number is meaningful in my Family. That number keeps growing. It represents the number of days my family has been sheltering in place, selectively going outside, and starting the social distancing of what is the “new normal” in our country. But, there is another number that I want to talk about today. How can our church serve our community at this time?
No, it’s not my age, it’s not a birthday, nor a code. This number is the total number, so far, that my local church has delivered care packages of fruits and vegetables to our church families and families from the community. When this pandemic hit our region, we had to be creative, we had to be resourceful, and we wanted to continue serving. But how? How can we serve without a handshake, without a hug, without a personal visit, without sitting in the living room sipping some coffee and reading the Bible together? How?
We had to look in our “Christian Toolbox” and see what we needed to use. Is it charity? Is it love? Yes, yes all of the above, but we also had to take out another tool that God gave us: Creativity. I love how a pandemic helped us sharpen our creativity and think outside of the norm. How can we deliver a message? Let’s Livestream. How can we show we care? Write and send a letter. How can we pray for them? Park outside their house and pray from a distance. How can we serve? How can we continue HIS work? How can we keep the community among our families?
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10 NIV. God had prepared us in advance for this. He knew this was coming, so he prepared creators, people with ideas, people with creative minds, people that love to serve God and His church.
This thought of delivering care packages to families came to us by necessity. Someone brought a prayer request to our prayer group of a mom that tested positive for COVID-19 and she was quarantined in her house with her 3 children. She had no family, no support system, and no way to get food for her children. The school district where the children attend was delivering food at the doorstep every few days.
So, we immediately sent her our first care package. We constantly kept in contact, praying for her family during our daily Livestream devotions. After 18 days, praise our God, she was cleared to be released from quarantine, symptom-free, and praise our God that her children did not get infected!
Every week, the pastor would choose 3 families to send a care package to. Each week, we would pray that it nourished their body and reminded them that God is with them during this time of uncertainty. I must admit that at some point, I felt, in a way, “overworked.” Planning the deliveries, the times, asking for addresses, making sure someone was home. It started to feel like work and not serving. Then I remembered this verse:
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up·” Galatians 6:9 NIV
“If we do not give up.” I had to let that simmer. I had to soak that in. This meant I could lean on hope. I had to serve with hope. Hope that this was coming at the right time; hope that this would warm their homes and hearts; hope that families can pay it forward; hope that doing these good deeds will spread love in this time of fear.
TWENTY-SEVEN IN EIGHTY-SEVEN
We have served 27 families with hope in 87 days. You may think that is a little, or you may think that is a lot, but we highlight that we served. Our church served our community. I pray that this message comes to you and sparks creativity in how you can serve your church family, community, and neighbors.
We ask a special prayer request for our Sister Church Iglesia De Dios Septimo Dia in Pharr, TX as we are slowly in the process of opening our doors to continue to serve our families and communities.