We awoke to yet another beautiful day here in Marco Island.  In planning for today we were pleased to know that due to a required early morning run to Home Depot by our construction supervisors we would have a slightly later start to the day. While we make it a practice each day not to talk to one another until we officially gather for breakfast, the rule does no apply to, Lissa, our resident yoga instructor as, prior to breakfast each morning many of us take advantage of the opportunity to awaken our muscles with a guided stretch. On the lawn of the church right along the water with no other sounds except the birds, we listen to her cues, relax, stretch our still sleepy bodies and prepare for our day.

The second small project on our schedule this week is a home right here on Marco Island.  Most of us, when we hear “Marco Island” have a preconceived notion of the demographics of the people and houses around us. This made it hard for us to imagine what a home would look like, here on the island, that would be in such a condition as to need assistance in repairs.  From the street there was little you could see with so much expansive vegetation at the top of a steep curved driveway.   We were met in the driveway by Rebecca, the homeowner, who welcomed us warmly.   Entering the home it was clear that this house had not received the first rate kind of upkeep you would assume all houses here did. We knew our task today was to hang cabinets and paint the kitchen walls.  Apparently when Hurricane Irma hit, the roof collapsed pouring water through the kitchen ceilings.  The old cabinets were not able to sustain the deluge and, as Rebecca put it, they just crumbled.  She and the other members of her household have been without a fully functioning kitchen for two years.

While there was some chicken-versus-egg-like discussion about which should come first, hanging the cabinets or painting the walls (hanging the cabinets won!), Rebecca shared with JP the paint chip with the mint green color she would like for her kitchen.  Unfortunately, there was a communication issue prior to arriving today and JP had already gotten white paint.  While she expressed some disappointment, she maintained an attitude of, “Oh, well.  It’s OK.”  In a lovely expression of generosity, two of our team chose to finance two more gallons of paint so Rebecca could have the mint green kitchen she had hoped for.

This house is the only house Rebecca has ever known.  One of the first homes ever built on Marco Island in 1973, it belonged to her grandparents who were the ones who raised her.  She was pleased to tell us of how her grandparents found Marco Island and chose this lot on a hill.  I started thinking how easily we look at a community and make assumptions about who the people are in those houses.  Rebecca smiled as she told us that her grandparents had named this place Dove Hill – because it is a symbol of peace and the Holy Spirit – and I know that same Spirit is working within us today.  I’m sure her grandparents would be pleased that she shared that story with us.

The day progressed slowly – cabinet installation taking quite longer than anticipated – so the paint team returned to the church for lunch, after which they remained there awaiting a call from the cabinetry team as to when the painting could begin.  That call was not to be made today as there were some bumps along the way, but the team will return tomorrow to finish the task.

Being a small kitchen, it had been clear from the beginning that there would not be enough work, or near enough room, for all of us.  Initially we had thought that perhaps half the team would have to take the day off, but some of our team use the pastor’s house for their showers and yesterday, hearing of our dilemma of willing hands and little work, the pastor himself offered some work for the remainder of the group.  It seems that the gutters at the church needed cleaning – so that is the task which the rest of our group tackled today.  Teaming up in groups, with some holding ladders, some holding bags, and some doing the dirty work, the gutters were cleaned within the first hour.  (That effectively meant that they did, indeed, get the rest of the day off.)

While the rest of us are heading out to our tasks every day, I would be remiss if I did not mention the one who is responsible for keeping us all fed.  Leslie stays behind each day (and up late some nights) doing the planning, shopping, cooking and cleaning up for all of our meals.  Yes she has had helpers, but she is the one who made it all come together and we are not only well fed, but we are very grateful for this gift she has shared with us this week.

Being within just a few miles of the beach, and having more than the initially anticipated free time, many of us took time to dip our toes in the sand and, unaware of the current red tide situation, cool off in the Gulf.  It appears that our work schedules may tighten up for the remainder of our time here so we are glad to have taken advantage of the beauty that surrounds us.  And we will be equally glad to buckle down together tomorrow for a whole new adventure.

News from Shining The Light Ministries

News from Shining The Light Ministries

We know that in all things GOD works for the good of those who love HIM. This is our hope in whom we trust in every adversity in our lives and we surrender our trust to GOD, and according to his will we can overcome any obstacle. We have triumphed in each harvest cycle while obtaining good crop production in each community and as a result we give the glory to GOD.

Work, effort and dedication in communities continue to be organized to ensure better performance in the production of the gardens. The producers in each community do not stop the working. These people have developed leadership, undertaking the cultivation with seeds that have been left over from the previous cycles and this shows they are becoming independent and they have acquired great knowledge from the support provided by the ABLLDC ministry. On the other hand, people who have successfully completed their cycles have finished soil preparation ready to begin the new harvest cycle that has greatly benefited communities. In the communities they are grateful for the support provided by the agronomist Martin Machado and Gerald Medal who share their experience in the communities to achieve the purpose of harvesting. The people from today’s communities share testimony of the great blessing in their lives to be part of the ABLDC ministry for the support of the agronomist, and the staff’s encouragement in each community.

To keep reading, click here.

News from the Society of St. Andrew, Gleaning Network

Stats so far this year:

15.1 Million Pounds Collected and Distributed

45.4 Million Servings of Fresh Produce Provided

15,640 Passionate Volunteers Engaged

4,313 Events to End Hunger Held

1,516 Recipient Agencies Received Food

Now let’s check out the latest good news story!

Potatoes, Praise, and a few Answered Prayers…

This potato drop didn’t have the smoothest start, but through people working together and a few answered prayers, it had a perfect ending.

Jessica Fitzgerald of the Presbytery of Eastern Virginia served on the team that organized this event. She shares, “The truck with the potatoes was an hour late. There was a 30% chance of rain. Over 100 volunteers showed up, but since the potatoes had not arrived, some were restless and left.

When potatoes arrived, we unloaded two pallets, but then the battery died in the motorized pallet jack. After praying for it not to rain, the sun came out and we were being cooked.

And to top it off, the number of community residents who came out to pick up free potatoes was less than anticipated.”

But even these problems could not stop what would be a beautiful day, full of blessing after blessing. This would turn out to be an amazing and memorable day for more than eight churches and hundreds of people in Norfolk, VA.

These local churches wanted to join the mission to end hunger, but weren’t sure where to begin. Jessica heard about the Society of St. Andrew and knew this was the perfect opportunity to partner together!

From the beginning, the churches knew they wanted this event to be about more than just distributing potatoes.

They wanted to get to know their neighbors. The churches wanted to build relationships and so they planned to take a moment and get to know every person that came to pick up some free potatoes.

In one day, 130 volunteers gave away 400 sack lunches (each church had prepared 50 lunches before the event), free clothing, Bibles, and 20,000 pounds of Russet potatoes, and made a few new friends in the process.

There was a live band playing music and a tented area to offer prayer and words of encouragement, if requested. A food truck even volunteered to provide free samples of fresh-fried French fries for recipients and volunteers alike.

This event was a massive success because of the team effort and a few answered prayers. Many leaders and volunteers made important contributions:

When the electric pallet jack died, a volunteer ran to his business to use his manual pallet jack.

When they still had more potatoes to share, a pastor loaded up his truck and delivered bags of potatoes to housing complexes nearby to spread the word and reach more families.

When traffic started to increase, local police volunteered to coordinate.

By the end of the day, folks from every walk of life had come through. Nearby pastors received word and came to see what was happening “around the corner.” Seniors and veterans from the local Veterans of Foreign Wars Chapter came to claim potatoes and to volunteer. Girl Scouts even came to contribute their time.

Volunteers served their neighbors and local residents received a free lunch, a bag of potatoes, and hopefully made a new friend. There was a place for everyone.

At the end, Jessica shares, “We hope that we asked some important questions, made people feel loved, and inspired other churches to do the same thing for their communities as well. Together, we can make a real difference in our community.”

This story is about a few potatoes, a community in need, and some regular people who were willing to serve and it could easily be the same story for several hundred groups across the country.

Whether it’s a weekend or a weekday, your community needs you. Sometimes there are a few hiccups but it’s always worth it. You’re more than just welcome, you’re invited to join the mission to end hunger.

Mission Smiles: Summary of Oct. 13 Dental Clinic

Mission Smiles: Summary of Oct. 13 Dental Clinic

From Kathy McGartland R.D.H, Mission Smiles Program Director:

We extend our appreciation to Joan Mellen and the Hyde Park United Methodist’s Open Arms Ministry for their strong leadership role for the clinic. A special thanks for their vision and work to reach a community in need with this special service. We all shared in many conversations with our guests and feel Blessed to have had the opportunity to take the time to spend time with them.

Our heartfelt appreciation goes out to our professional team: Dr Uyen Le, Dr Khuyen Mehta, Esther Grady, Drew Kamaris, Nicole Bifaretti, Junghoon Chung CRDH, Monica Tauchnitz, Thu Le, Laura Patino,Surya Kala Illa and Daylis De Pine.

The hands and feet of Jesus were demonstrated throughout the day. Our thanks to Hyde Park for providing us such a delightful lunch.

Special thanks to:

  • Spiritual care team: The Rev. Rev Sandy Harbour, Moonlight Story and David Goodwin
  • Medical and Volunteers: Joan Mellen, The Rev. Vickie Walker, Sally Ordway, Amanda Garces, Dr. John Dormois, MD, Cheri Roland, Linda Rounsville, Susan Casper, Roger Harbour, John and Kathy Ollivier
  • Mission Smiles Team: Anne Hasler, Gail Skura CRDH, Clarissa Albureque, Larry Hopkins, and Ronnie Kingsley and Kathy McGartland RDH
  • Dental screening: Susan Horsman, Lori Lee, and Tiffany Strickland

Dental Clinic Results:

  • Guests Served: 37
  • Services Provided: 43
  • Volunteers: 21
  • Extractions: 17
  • Fillings: 3\
  • Dental cleanings: 25

Dollar value of dental services donated to the community $10,350.
Dollar value of volunteers served $ 5,298
TOTAL $15,648

The power of prayer and presence of God demonstrated itself through

One guest was in tears showing her tooth that she had filled in the front:

Other Comments:

  • “I feel like I just won a new car!”
  • “I think it is a wonderful thing the people of this church do and provide for people in need. God Bless You!”
  • “Everything went great! I am very happy. Thank you All!”
  • “Good, I feel better after getting my teeth cleaned.”
  • “Great women and men. Your church has been also my Christian faith reaffirmed when I am surrounding with people in same faith.”
  • “The dental team was very professional and kind This is the first time I have enjoyed the dentist.”
  • “The staff and volunteers were kind and professional as always God Bless Thank you”

We continue to praise God for the way He has worked through each of you to complete his purposes some results will only be revealed when we see from His perspective in eternity. It is worth it all my friends — Christ is glorified as we continue to serve in His Spirit!

To volunteer with Mission Smiles, click here.

News from Love INC

News from Love INC

Amanda, a desperate daughter based in California, contacted First Baptist Church, seeking guidance on how to help her 50-year old mother, Yong, who was homeless, isolated and losing hope in Tampa. Per Amanda, “a very sweet lady from First Baptist suggested reaching out to Love INC for possible help for my mother.” The referral was made to the Help Center and the process began. Click here to keep reading.

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