Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Shoeboxes, warm breakfast, and Christmas

This Christmas our prayer ministry had the opportunity to partner with a local ministry, Prodigal's Home, whose mission is to meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of the homeless and poor in Phoenix, AZ, specifically in the north Phoenix community of Sunnyslope, which is my "hometown," or at least where I spent most of my growing up years.   Each Saturday, Prodigal's Home serves a warm breakfast to all who come, as well as having a time of worship and encouragement.

  This year, Christmas fell on Saturday, and so in addition to their usual breakfast, they wanted to bless those who came with some special gifts.  I was asked by a friend, Steve, who is part of this ministry, to put the word out to see who might help contribute Christmas gift-wrapped shoeboxes with socks, gloves, toiletries, snacks, and last but not least, a personal note inside.  After being told there could be up to 70 folks there, my prayer was we would be able to contribute enough for each one, even though that seemed a lot on short notice, especially at a time of year when we are all being asked to contribute to someone or something.  I began to put the word out among our prayer ministry, prayer chain and others who are a part of our community of prayer-hearted friends here at Open Door Fellowship.  Folks passed the word along to friends and co-workers, and on the Sunday before Christmas, the drop-off table in our church courtyard piled up and up and up!  Final count was over 70 beautifully wrapped, lovingly packed boxes of treats and necessities.  Thank you, Lord! 


Several other churches contributed boxes as well, packed with a different assortment of items than what we had packed, so ultimately most folks got not one but THREE boxes of gifts!
My husband has been helping out at the Saturday morning breakfasts for the past several months, and he asked our family if we would be willing to go serve together on Christmas morning.  Some of the other individuals and families who were contributing shoeboxes heard of the opportunity, and wanted to come help serve too, and we ended up with about 25 from our church there helping, most for the first time.  



We are in a season when God is opening and stirring our hearts in fresh ways to see, pray, and reach beyond ourselves.  What a great privilege it was to be a part of this special effort and event.  Many who packed boxes told me how meaningful it was to select and pack the items, and thanked us for offering them the chance to give.  Those of us who came to serve were moved and stretched, and ultimately, perhaps even inspired to continue to be a part of local efforts such as this one.

Lord, keep growing Your heart of compassion in us, as You lovingly draw us to see, pray, and reach beyond ourselves.

For more info on the ministry of Prodigal's Home, click here

Saturday, December 18, 2010


We are currently praying, via our ODF prayer chain, for a church in Africa.  They have been meeting in a large tent and have been trying to finish their permanent building for several years. They have even been asked to move into an actual church building -- quickly -- because their worship is so noisy!!!  They need to be out of the tent and into the new building by the end of December, and won't have permission to occupy it until the doors and windows are complete.

Here are some photos of the progress they are making -- check them out and pray for it to be done in time! Wouldn't it be great to be there with them as they worship for the first time in their new home?  What a gift to be able to lift up our brothers and sisters in prayer, knowing our prayers can have impact around the globe.