Monday, November 30, 2009

Loaves of bread & ..... hotdogs???? Yep! Eph. 3:20!

Ever since I heard about the ministry Church on the Street I was intrigued even though all I knew about it was that it was a ministry of our church, First Baptist Woodstock, that a family friend named Don Landy headed it up and that they took hotdogs and the Gospel to downtown Atlanta in a church van. I thought, 'that's a mission trip and that's really cool our church is doing that.'

As time passed I heard that the Church on the Street ministry that went downtown was taking donated winter coats with them when the weather changed. They already were receiving my prayers and our financial support.


Until a few weeks ago when I bought up Church on the Street (again) my hubby reminded me that the ministry expanded to the Canton area. Hmmmm. I think that's when God's tapping on my shoulder became a gentle shoulder hug that said, "Polly, just check it out. Just once. You know you're drawn to it."

So last week when I couldn't resist any longer and I called our church office and got Randy Richardson's number, the leader of the Canton ministry. I told him, "I'm a church member and I'm curious about the ministry." What he explained to me sounded exactly like our church's ministry in downtown Atlanta.
I once again took just one step of faith to see if God would part the sea. Can you say, "On Dry Ground???" :)
This morning I showed up in our church kitchen and met a handful of the Canton ministry's faithful servants and they quickly got me involved in the hot dog assembly line. My job was to squeeze a narrow stripe of ketchup on the hot dog bun. (Someone else did it with mustard.) Randy, standing in line next to me gently said to me -- since he was wrapping the dogs in foil -- "You might want to put the ketchup in the center of the bun so it won't squeeze out when it's tightly wrapped in the foil. But since you're new at this, it's really OK. We want you to come back and I know you can learn quickly." Then we both laughed.


Still standing in the kitchen, Randy said, "We need to go see the Prayer Warriors, come on everybody." I thought, "Wow, Lord, what is this?" We walked across the hallway to the Prayer Room and found saw six silver-haired saints --men and women -- sitting in a tight circle, deep in prayer. When we walked in they hugged us and then we all stood in a circle holding hands. These precious Prayer Warriors were richly seasoned with God's grace and power. They prayed for us, for the ministry, for salvation for those we would serve, and on and on. I got tears in my eyes. Then we got more hugs and love and walked back across the hallway to the kitchen to finish food prep. I'm not sure my feet felt the ground because the presence of God was so strong.

When the huge coolers of tea were filled and almost 200 dogs were wrapped and stored in a cooler, the church van was loaded and the group got in the van. Since I had a previous appointment before I knew God was going to send me to this ministry, I had to follow the church van in my car so I could leave in time to meet my previous commitment.

Did I mention the temperature was high 50s and it was raining? Well, it was. I was closely following the church van and the Church on the Street trailer and as we were getting within 500 yards of the parking lot where we'd be serving, the men standing outside and lining the storefronts began waving and smiling as the church van passed by. Then I got very teary. It was like they knew Jesus had come to see them again since Randy and his team do this every Monday at lunch time. I started thinking about the 'loaves of bread and the fish passage' in Scripture.

The light, cold rain didn't stop the Spanish-speaking lunch guests who continued to be drawn to our location and who very slowly wandered near. They were greeted with our smiles and cups of iced tea and invited to come closer for some food. A woman from another church backed up her van and Randy helped her open up the back to reveal boxes of breads and cakes from Publix. Yep, this really is like Jesus, I continued to sense His strong presence. Whew.
Part of my title of this blog post is "Ephesians 3:20" which says, "God is able to do far more abundantly more than we can ask or think of asking Him" and I saw that magnified today when a woman named Vicki wandered over to our little gathering. She carried an umbrella. She told me she walked over from another ministry and that her family sent her to us hoping to just get a turkey sandwich!? In fact, Vicki said that they asked her to bring back a hoagie sandwich!

We talked a while and she shared her hardships and I prayed for her. Then Randy came over and we invited her to church on Sunday. Then I gave her the bag of hoagie/french bread and Randy walked away and quickly returned with a 20ish-pound uncooked turkey and he said, "Do you think this will help your family?" He didn't know she told me her family requested her to bring back a turkey sandwich!!!! I didn't ask him if that huge defrosted bird was just another donation from somewhere...but God knew what was needed.


I began laughing....laughing out loud (This is the Ephesians 3:20 part) because I saw God in this and saw that Vicki said they just wanted a turkey sandwich and instead she was given a huge turkey and LOAVES of bread!!!! She shed tears of joy and was overwhelmed. Then when she realized WHAT I was laughing about she began to laugh, too. I said to her, "Jesus will always give us bigger and better than we ask!"
Vicki shared her heart with a couple of the other ladies on the team and they prayed for her, too, walked her back to her family and loved her in Jesus. Vicki came back again and she said, "Don't forget about me!" We told her we'd be praying and she was invited to come back next Monday at 11:30 for lunch.

The gospel was shared in the church van and it became a sanctuary to several men while they were eating hot dogs. I was told that two men gave their lives to Christ! Hallelujah!

Yes, it rained on us today......but you know what??? Jesus reigned today, too!
If you become 'curious' as I did, and want to know more about Church on the Street please contact: http://www.fbcw.org/ or http://churchonthestreetwoodstock.org/
I'd love to hear from you, too!
With a very thankful heart,
and love & blessings,
Polly