There is a time and season for every purpose under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1
This past month has seen our nation and our neighbors face overwhelming calamity and crisis. I think that every church has responded with materials and funds to help with the relief effort. Shirley and I have contributed as well.
This last Sunday, we were singing about Leaning on the Everlasting Arms. The verse “Safe and secure from all alarms” has replayed itself in my thoughts over and over – knowing and believing that God is reminding us to trust in Him and to care for one another. Even though they tell us every year that this is hurricane season, none of us could have expected to see so many millions of lives impacted with the three hurricanes thus far.
Isn’t it good to know who to call when crisis hits? When my mother had a medical crisis in the middle of the night, she knew to call on EMS. (She graciously waited until daylight to inform all her children.) When people are sick and uninsured, the churches and the working poor know they can call on the ABCCM Medical Ministry at 155 Livingston St. We will see about 100 more patients than normal this month because of the allergies and other crud that seems to be going around about a month earlier than usual. Those seeking to bridge the gap for their medicines can get them at no charge at ABCCM's pharmacy. We thank God that the churches saw a season when their neighbors with no insurance might need the help and the right treatment plan to stay on the job – and provided for the clinic.
When a couple of young moms showed up from Florida during Hurricane Irma, we were thankful that the churches had created Steadfast House and the Veterans' Restoration Quarters to care for the homeless. Steadfast House has added a permanent family room for emergencies, not only for a hurricane, but throughout the upcoming winter months. Being able to take in a mom and her child until we can find a more permanent place for them is part of why we are here. We have just celebrated with a mom and three children moving in to their new apartment. The four month old twins immediately seemed right at home. She said she had been a little afraid of leaving our community until one of the volunteers said that her church would continue to be a part of her life. Several veterans have also moved successfully into their new homes. Each of these persons is reaping the fruit of their labor by acquiring new skills, good jobs and being able to save enough money to have a home of their own.
Our Crisis Ministries saw 60 new families in just one week at the end of September. It seems that some of our local businesses have been cutting back hours earlier than anticipated. Some of our frail elderly have already been looking for heating assistance in preparation for winter during those early chilly nights. Many of our elderly only need help with half, or less, of the oil bill because they have been saving to fill their tanks. Others need help with preventing evictions or keeping the lights on. We are thankful that across the county, the churches had the foresight to have warehouses of food and clothes, along with household items and furniture to help those in a crisis who need a little help from their friends. The Crisis Ministries helped five different families driven from their homes by the hurricanes. We helped with gas for transportation as well as additional clothes and hygiene items. It’s the little things that folks forget, or don’t have the time to grab, that they miss the most. Thank you to our volunteers and churches for providing not only the little things, but the big things that bridge the gap.
Every fall season, we are amazed at the wide array of colors. When God spoke to Isaiah, He said that He would give beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning. We thank God for every volunteer missionary from every church and corner of our community who say to people who are struggling that God loves them and cares for them. We thank God that in seasons of affliction, He shows up in the miracle of caring, through His children in their acts of kindness. Please take time to read through this newsletter and listen to God’s still small voice nudging you to come and to care for your neighbors in need through one of these ministries.
Reverend Scott Rogers