CHARLEROI (PA) – The picture and comment above is comical at best, but, the truth of the matter is, the need of food in our world is great. Not just around the world, but right here in our communities. God has shown us ways in which to reach our communities for Jesus and meeting the need of food is one that has caught the attention of the Community Baptist church, Charleroi.
Just last year at this time the church leadership began to look at what needs in our community are ones that we could begin get outside the building and into the community to provide. As we entered a season of prayer we were encouraged to pray Philippians 4:19. Paul here reminds us that God supplies according to His riches.
Over the years I have heard said many times “we would love to do this ministry, but there is no money in the budget for it”, and all the while I wonder how, could a church that started in the basement of a home forget how God provided. After all Paul states rather clearly “God will provide”. We are not that different from many churches in that we love our community, but we failed to see that the budget was not the issue. We were the issue as we simply looked for everything to just fall into our laps with no investment on our part. Just as God provides we need to trust enough to step out in faith.
So the church moved forward into how we could get involved in a food ministry. We read books and heard stories of churches and people. This was all very overwhelming and once again the ministry took a less than important role in our church. As people in our community would call for help, we had to refer them to other agencies to supply. And then God touched our group with insight that we need to something and we need to do it now.
We started out just simply trying to fill each need as they came in, which was difficult with so many of our Hospitality team employed and not available all the time. The team sat down and began to plan a means of preparing “Care Packages” with dry goods and can goods that had a long shelf life. And then also thought maybe we could get some frozen foods to provide more than the average food pantry would do. So now we had a plan but we still needed to fund this thing. Through much prayer and trusting the Lord, He led us to contact the BRN office in Harrisburg to see if there were any funds available for such a thing. Their response was yes. So we began the process of applying for funds and yet we were still fielding calls for help. The funding began and we started filling our boxes prepping for any call that would come in. It was official we had fully jumped in to a ministry by faith.
February the church office receives a call from a truck driver. He stated that he had a mix-up in his food delivery and his boss instructed him to find someone or some organization that could take the order off his truck. The drive stated that the local food bank could not take the order, so he thought may be a church could use the food. We asked what type of food was being offered, the drive said that it was frozen Tyson chicken, about thirteen boxes. We said sure and met him at the church. As the driver attempted to back his very large tractor trailer into our parking lot we were so excited that God had shown us that His will supply. The driver began to move boxes of frozen chicken to the back of the trailer as we carried them to the front door of the church. We suddenly realized that we had twenty boxes stacked and the driver was still bringing more out. We asked to clarify “ how many boxes did you say?” the driver responded “thirteen”, we shared that we had twenty already out. He stood at the back of the truck and said “I better call my boss”. After a few minutes he smiled and said “there are forty boxes of chicken and they are all yours, and my boss will be calling you today to thank you.”
We received a phone call from the shipping department of Tyson Foods telling us that because we helped them out today, they would like to put our church/food ministry on their list of agencies to donate to. Can we just pause to thank the Lord for how he works thing out.
With all that we still needed to find homes for all the boxes of chicken. We made phone calls to many of our local churches and shared what God had so richly blessed us with. Of course the comical picture above now makes more sense now. We should never underestimate what God can do. And never underestimate who He will use to do it.
We as a church have learned a wonderful lesson about looking for the needs and trusting that God has everything planned and provided. We can now say the Philippians 4:19 has come alive right off the pages and into the work that we have before us.