Take a moment and watch this powerful story from Harilyn. Grab some tissues!
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.
There is a lady who faithfully volunteers many hours each week at the City Mission Food Bank. She has very few financial resources of her own. I put $10 into a collection for her taken by her fellow volunteers. When they gave it to her she said her son out of town was helping her pay her rent each month and she made him a thank you gift for Christmas. However, she did not have the money to mail it to him until she received this gift.
When I first went to receive the envelope instantly 2 people popped into my head (who happen to be dear friends and members of the church as well) without a mere thought of who this money would go to. Instead of just giving the gift away at first I wanted to pray and make sure it was God's will. A week went by of praying and going to many different places and still did not hear/feel God's pull. Thinking I would be giving the money back without helping someone was a sad thought until Sunday service I was talking with a friend about my dilemma he asked me well who do you think God wants to have that blessing giving to them and instantly again without thinking the original 2 people I thought of in the beginning and that's when I knew without a shadow of a doubt that they were meant to have that money, which on Sunday after I got home i went and delivered the money and shared my story to them on how it all came about. It was so ama zing to be able to share how God was able to work through me on that Sunday (12-22-2013). As for them being members of our Church and knowing about the services and such the two cards that we all received I placed them in places at work and prayed that God to help guide many people to see them and come to our services.
I really had no idea what to do with the money and I had never done anything like this before. I actually thought I was gonna be giving it back to the church on Sunday. But I prayed to God that I would receive a clear sign of who I suppose to give it to and I did. I have a department manager at my job whom just started about a month ago. I don't know her well but I know from being around her that she is very caring and appreciative of every little thing I do or my coworkers do. She is a very hard worker at work and continues that with her 5 kids and husband at home. I thought I would give her the money to take her and her family out to a nice dinner but I soon found out that it takes $45 dollars just to take her family to MCDONALDS! So I thought, "ok, I will just give it to her for her husband and her to go out to dinner to her favorite restaurant, Olive Garden". But when I thought about it, I remembered I had $50 that a family member sent me as a Christmas present. It costs $75 to take her and her husband and her five kids to dinner at Olive Garden. So I took my Christmas money and the $30 and bought her 3 gift cards to Olive Garden to take her whole family out to dinner. She flipped. She was speechless. She didn't wanna accept it at first. But I just told her to "pay it forward". :)
Ten days before Christmas 2012, the Benevolence Ministry of McLane Church in Erie County, Pennsylvania gave each member of our church $40 with the directive to go make a difference in somebody's life. Here are some of the hundreds of stories.