Community outreach for the fatherless takes many forms. Through partnerships with Tulakes Elementary, Jesus House, CAREVI, Cooke County Probation, and Hope Connection, we are busy. Read forward to learn about Katie’s Story. It is powerful and confirms the impact of community engagement. GIVE HERE
1 Thessalonians 5:11 (GNT) And so encourage one another and help one another, just as you are now doing.
Over the week, God has uniquely appeared on many doorsteps.
Steven and Jackson reached out in the neighborhoods Monday evening. There were a few memorable moments. One couple tearfully asked for prayer for their marriage in their driveway and received a strong touch of God. Another gentleman expectantly received prayer for his family out by his garage. His grandchildren are not coping well with the suicide of their father three years ago. He was excited to introduce Steven and Jackson to his 14 year old grandson. Others looked to God for answers in their doorways.
In the businesses, professionals and owners asked for strength in family, recovery from depression, and anointing of God for customers. One looked for their father, a former minister, to return to a congregation family. Wounds of life run deep. God was busy.
Saturday, while planning for an additional neighborhood in the Matamoros outreach, Raul encountered a friend in the restaurant. As I was paying for the breakfast in our favorite greasy spoon, Raul’s friend explained in quiet Spanish his ailments. Turning from the cashier, we prayed for him in the foyer. It was visibly evident that God was touching him. Unknown to me, we were being studied.
As we reached our car, a voice called to us. “Excuse me, my name is Katie.” She went on to explain she had watched as Raul’s friend received prayer. She and her husband do not attend a church. Through a series of events, they had benefited from a little extra income and wanted to tithe from it. Would we accept it for our church? She reached into her purse and counted out five $20 bills.
Let’s call it “Katie’s Gift”. God has a special way to encourage us when we reach hard moments. For me the gift was an immediate return of blessing. I really did not have the extra dollars to pay for my friend’s breakfast or the time that morning. Together, Raul and I lean on each other. Breakfast is a family moment for us. We talked of struggles and disappointments and joys, while we prepared to give out of our need for others. By unexpected source, our upcoming trip expenses were almost covered and all the supplies were on order for the kids. This gift was an unexpected and welcome encouragement.
Over the week, I had witnessed God touch believer and unbeliever in driveways, offices, restaurants, furniture stores, gas stations, chiropractor offices, antique stores, garages, doorways, curbside in the street, parking lots, over the phone, and at the parsonage. And one of them, watching from the side like the grateful leper chased us down to say, “Thank you, God.”
Luke 17:5 and the apostles said, “Lord, increase our faith.”….. GIVE HERE
11 Now it happened as He went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. 12 Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. 13 And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
14 So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed.
15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, 16 and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan.
17 So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? 18 Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” 19 And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.”
How interesting that in this story, it is one who is not a church goer that gives the thank you? The Samaritan is not a Jew. But none of the church goers returned to say thank you. Only the Samaritan returned. He did not wait to see the priest, but ran back as soon as he knew God touched him. Like Katie in the parking lot, respond to God with gratefulness for His grace. We have so much that it can become common and expected as if we were entitled. It is easy to take advantage of His touch and blessings and take for granted our health, leaders, facilities, teaching and all He makes available to us and others. It is easy to get focused on our desires and withhold our gratitude. When was the last time you were so excited about God blessing someone else that you ran through a parking lot to thank Him with a good and sacrificial gift?
Katie’s Gift challenges me and encourages me. There is faith in the land. Lord, increase my faith. GIVE HERE