I must be vulnerable and say that I have had anxiety, not crippling fear, but worry for our family as we head into the last two months of our fundraising for support for our second term, years three and four as urban missionaries to the city of Lebanon, Pa.
Thoughts enter my mind, like how do we raise the needed funds? We are currently unable to attend churches to share the work that God has been doing. What happens when we cannot gather in large groups, what are the next steps of fundraising when our last effort, the pulled pork dinner, is canceled until further notice? What happens when all ministry is suspended, keeping me out of the places where I find my work’s purpose?
It is moments like that, when God speaks to me through others. I recently received a text message that said: “A word for you: I’m feeling that God positioned you where you are for a time such as this. (No brainer, right?) So, there, He is touching people and situations to act as His agents here on earth and will supply all of yours and Deb’s financial needs and will bring peace to any situation in your household that needs to be resolved — Philippians 4:6–8.” The next day I received a call from a friend who offered to set aside funds, matching contributions, dollar-for-dollar up to $28,000! It is in these moments that I know God is in control and that He has called us to this ministry and that through such people, we will be able to move ahead.
On April 6, I received a phone call from Tom, an elder at Gingrichs Mennonite Church. Together we planned a free food giveaway, an opportunity that came through a food bank called Blessings of Hope in Lancaster County. I made a few phone calls and Freedom in Christ Fellowship and Gingrichs partnered together to give out 382 boxes of food. All of this happened the same week! Both of us realized that this was not going to be a once-and-done effort. There are just too many people now unemployed who can use a free 40-pound box of food. So together with Lebanon Christian Fellowship, with approximately 30 volunteers, we gave out 428 boxes on Saturday, April 25.
Deborah reached out to Lebanon County Area Agency on Aging and is now volunteering for Meals on Wheels. So as urban missionaries, God is giving us places to operate within our communities to demonstrate His love.