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!
SHOEBOX GIFTS FROM ODF - DO YOU SEE THE ONE YOU PACKED?
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.
SOME OF OUR ODF FAMILY VISITING WITH FOLKS AT THE BREAKFAST
GIFTS BEGINNING TO BE PASSED OUT
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