Benevolence Story: Bob Rose of Erie, PA

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This is a story of how Bonny and I used $60 entrusted to us to to give away as part of the benevolence program this Christmas season. The day before Christmas had arrived and we still had not found someone yet, so during the day we looked for someone as we went about our activities. We even drove around downtown Erie always looking for the poor, needy, down and out person who would benefit the most.

Not seeing anyone whom we felt was the one, we decided to go into the Broad St. Wal-Mart and look. We split up inside the store.

I got into a little talk with a young male employee reading a Christmas card he had received from the store. I asked him if he had gotten a Christmas bonus. He didn’t, and something told me this was the one. I gave him my $30 and wished him Merry Christmas from our Church. He was very happy and shook my hand and wished me Merry Christmas also. The expression of surprise and happiness was priceless. Something told me he would make good use of the money.

When I met up with Bonny she had still not found anyone, but had some buttons she was going to purchase. As we stood in line we noticed a sad looking couple in the line next to us. They had a few items in the bottom of their cart that looked like children’s Christmas presents. The woman rummaged amongst them and pulled a box out and set it aside. With the thought that this couple didn’t have much money to purchase gifts for their family, Bonny walked up and gave them her thirty dollars. After thanking Bonny, we noticed they got out of line and went back into the store. I think they were now able to get something else for their Christmas they previously couldn't afford.

One of the lessons we learned was to look at people the way Jesus must look at people. To look for the needy, down and out, poor, and sick means you look into people’s faces, at the clothes they are wearing, at their age, if they are sick, and so many other things you don’t normally look for, and sometimes turn your head to. I hope we will always remember to look for the need in others faces and lives because although we might not always be able to give money, we might be able to give someone just what they need, when they need it. A smile, a kind word, help, an encouraging word… a prayer, might be exactly what someone needs.