Dear Friends of Open Arms,

 

Where has the year gone?  Here we are again with the holidays rapidly approaching.  I know for me it has been a year full of challenges, ups and downs, and wonderful surprises, all for which my heart has been filled with gratitude.   The challenge of being the new volunteer coordinator for Open Arms now for a year, has given me new friends and an amazing purpose.  We all have our ups and downs in life, that is a part of being human, oftentimes our downs need extra help from God through prayer and guidance from someone else’s wisdom.

Recently I found myself in need of extra prayer and such wisdom.  I found out that a brother, who for many years has been fighting depression, is again homeless in another state.  This news hit me with a sense of hopelessness.  Therefore, time spent with Open Arms has a deeper meaning for me.  When I look into the eyes, greet, speak with, serve, embrace, or smile to a guest of Open Arms, I see my brother.  One may not fully understand the circumstances, but God has given me the heart to be empathetic and simply be there for another human being, no judgment.  Serving a meal to someone who may not have had a warm meal in days; making eye contact when others have looked away; offering a smile to let them know that God loves them; inviting them to sit a while and take a load off their tired feet; or simply ask how they are doing, fills my heart with gratitude for the relationships being built through Open Arms.

This holiday season, I hope you too are grateful for your challenges, ups and downs and even the difficult news we all bear occasionally.  I also hope you may find purpose in opening yourselves to receive far more than what you give when serving others.

We need volunteers throughout the holidays as much as throughout the year.   Sunday mornings 7-9am, Open Arms serves our guests and builds relationships for the Kingdom of God.  Please take a few moments and go to the link below and sign-up for the dates you would like to serve.  The time spent with Open Arms will prove to be heartwarming and purpose filled this holiday season as it is throughout the year.  The tasks are easy, and the joy is great!

https://hydeparkumc.org/volunteeropenarms

We grow Open Arms through invitation, so if you have friends or family or even a group who would like to be part of this ministry, please invite them to check out Sign-up Genius, be sure to fill out the form for Child and Youth Protection Policy.

Should you have any questions, feel free to contact me at prplehazedog@gmail.com or call me at 813-417-7917.

May you and your loved ones have a grateful filled holiday season!

 

Peace be with you,

Kara Rutherford

 

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