Lending A Helping Hand
Helping Those To Help Themselves
Friday April 16, 2010 was a day that changed the lives of eight families in a local apartment community in Bellbrook, Ohio. An out-of-control grease fire led to the families having to salvage what they could and look for new housing. Thankfully the complex had enough open units to house all those effected by the fire.
Though many household goods were able to be saved, many of the residents had to replace several of their belongings. The American Red Cross came to the aid of a few as well as area churches and the counties social services.
First Baptist Church of Bellbrook offered some help along with BridgeWay Community Church and their outreach ministry, Food 4 Thought, both also from Bellbrook.
This writer and my wife were to be in The Bahamas this particular week on a missionary journey to build a Christian School. Funding fell through and we had to stay home, but God had a plan. Monday the 19th we received an email how the people had only Tuesday to move out of their apartments and into the new units. Arriving early, we helped until late in the afternoon getting 4 families moved. We were grateful to have the use of my pickup truck and the pastor from The First Baptist Church. We took several loads apiece to help these kids out.
As the day wore on, we managed to get out of them just what they needed. Pride was keeping them from saying just what they needed. They did not want each of the 2 churches and Food 4 Thought buying them replacement needs. Finally, we broke through, and Pastor Steve left to buy lunch for everyone. While he was gone my wife and I were able to reach out to all these young people letting them know this is what our outreach ministry does. We help people, as we like to say, "helping those to help themselves".
It was a sad day seeing the look in their faces as they were having to move. Now and then, one would find something lost that could not be replaced and tears would flow. One single mother with 2 little boys, lost all her groceries and blankets. We were able to help her meet her needs and she is so very grateful. And all the young ones there were very grateful that 2 churches and the outreach ministry were there to help them. This is our duty, we are to "GO", go and help, go and teach, go and preach. This is what the Lord Jesus Christ commissioned to us as Christians. Social Services sparingly showed up over the days from Saturday through Tuesday but why should they? Why should the government be in all our affairs?
A few fire picsClick thumbnail to view full-size
How will you help
It is the opinion of this writer that if we as churches did as we are to do then social services would be a thing of the past. We as churches are to get out and take care of the communities we are apart of. I know many will say we really cannot afford to take care of everyone in every happening this world gives to us. We were able to have clothes donated to us to help the children in the fire. We were given blankets for the lady with the 2 little boys. Through donations were also bought milk, bread, peanut butter, jelly, mac and cheese,and bologna. All this through smart shopping we spent less than $32.00. Others pulled groceries from their own cabinets at home and made donations, to that we say, "Thank you". See it isn't how much or how little, it is that it was done. I wish we had the pictures when we took the clothes and food to all the residents, they were so happy. Some just laughed and couldn't believe it, some cried and questioned why we would help out people we don't even know. Simple answer, Christ loved us first. He loved us so much He gave His own life so we might live. He led by the example of taking care of people as He journeyed through Galilee teaching of the Word of God.
With this weekends weather in the South how will your church help? Will they go and physically help? Will they send relief? The lost houses to tornadoes and floods will haunt these people for quite a time to come. How will you help? Take charge and make a plan. Call email, somehow contact as many from your church as possible to help. Find a local church in the areas devastated this weekend and make a plan to send relief supplies or monetary donations.
We all need to take care of each other, love thy neighbor as thyself. Find a way to help. Let's not just read about victims to floods, tornadoes, fires, etc but let's see it as a tragedy and move with compassion. Let us move to help. Not everyone is able to go or to send money, but everyone is capable of reaching down to their knees and lifting these concerns to the Lord Jesus Christ. Be mindful and caring, you never know just who may need it.
Since the writing of this article nearly four years ago I have seen even more devastation to people, up close and personal.
May 2013 several ef4 tornadoes hit the Norman and Shawnee, Oklahoma region. I drove 860 miles from Ohio to Oklahoma to help with Samaritan's Purse. What I saw grieved my spirit. Shortly though we were about to get the biggest blessing ever known to us. We helped clean debris and try to give the victims hope. We wanted to encourage them that hope is not lost. We wanted to be a blessing to the people of Shawnee, Oklahoma. As it turned out they encouraged and blessed us.
You never know where God will lead you, you just need to go. God had a purpose for all of us there. His display of power and glory is something I will never forget. Help volunteer when you can, it will change your life.