I sat in my seat with tears running down my cheeks. Really didn't feel like I could move. Listening to this man talk about the huge need of the kids in a region of our country only a few miles from where I sat. That day has left a mark on my life that will not go away.
The man is Bill Barker of Appalachian Regional Ministries. He talked about shoe boxes filled with school supplies for kids in West Virginia and beyond who had little to nothing. I had no idea where that message and the inspiration would lead. Little did I know that I would get to plant a new church in The Community Fellowship and share what I heard that day.
Now it is 3 years later. This Saturday will be our 3rd event. Each year had doubled and added more and more good stuff to share with our community. Folks, it wasn't in my mind back then or even since how big and how good God would be through this ministry. What we have seen God do, the lives that God had touched, the people who will never be the same make this and ministry so worth the price.
Our expectation is that more than 1,000 people will come through our doors this weekend. Pray for impact. Pray that lives will be changed.
Romans 11:6 (nlt) --- And since it is through God's kindness, then it is not by their good works. For in that case, God's grace would not be what it really is—free and undeserved.
They will first hear the story of Manny Ohonme from Nigeria who was given shoes as a kid by a missionary that told Manny he could be any thing he wanted to be. That experience led Manny to come to America for school, professional basketball and finally to start Samaritan's Feet. They are one of our partners. We will wash kid's feet and speak into their dreams and talk to them about Jesus as they get brand new shoes.
Our kids move from the story to have their feet washed. That is where they will get brand new socks and new shoes. From there they will get to pick out some clothes for school. Many will even get their hair cut. Before each of these 500 kids walk out the door they will receive a brand new backpack and school supplies.
I had no idea that hearing a story over 5 years ago would lead us to be part of something this big. And by the way, next year will be even bigger (wait to hear what this dream is). What I do know is that we must look forward, push forward and do all we can while we expect God to move and touch lives. That is what God does best. It is not about the shoes. It is not even about the people who serve. It is all about God. The one who alone saves. It is God who gives and fulfills dreams.
At that point I stop, and I must tell you that I am looking forward. I am walking through our building and praying for kids. Praying that God would fill and fulfill their dreams with His best. What are you expecting God to do? I'm looking forward expecting during this back2school outreach to see God do things we can't explain because each of these kids is treasured by and loved by God.
More stories to come!
Colossians 1:6 (nlt) --- This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives, just as it changed your lives from the day you first heard and understood the truth about God's wonderful grace.
Acts 20:24 (nlt) --- But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.
Titus 3:14 (nlt) --- Our people must also learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs, so that they will not be unfruitful.