By Beth Fulmer, Synod Communicator for Messiah, Mauldin
Our Action, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” (John 20:31)
Last week, the Upstate continuously endured temperatures below the freezing point. This was unusual in the Greenville area because it normally warms up some at sunrise and temperatures continue to rise during the day. A small (Via de Cristo) Reunion Group had their normal meeting at Messiah Lutheran Church on January 16 and the discussion led to the question, “How are the homeless coping in such unbearable weather?” Prayers were lifted up and guidance from God was sought. The talk continued and the conclusion came that action was needed. And that action had to be immediate.
Research began and it was discovered that in 2016, there were 5,353 homeless people in the Upstate of South Carolina. A few shelters were available but were normally open only at night. During the period of freez-ing temperatures, however, the shelters extended their hours and were open 24/7. Because of this unprecedented gesture last week, supplies were quickly depleted.
This information was all that was needed to put these six ladies (who comprise this Reunion Group at Messiah) to work. It was not a project that afforded the time to have multiple meetings to take action. Help was needed now! The sooner the better!
An email “blast” to the congregation was sent out by Pastor Michael Sherman. Posters were made and put up in the gathering area of the church. Information was included in the newsletter. Requests were made that parishioners bring supplies (toiletries, detergent, and other basic needs) to church on Sunday, January 21. On that day, the congregation generously donated a mound of supplies for delivery on January 23 (one week after that one meeting). It took three cars to deliver all of the items donated and those cars were fully packed!
Members of the church were not finished; the request was made that col-lection of items also be on the following Sunday and also promptly deliv-ered. The answer, of course, was a resounding “Yes.”
It did not take very much to accomplish very much. Prayer and a congre-gation willing to bear the burdens of others in obedience to Christ were the only two elements needed. Messiah Lutheran Church in Mauldin is a church who always answers the call when help is needed. In other words, Messiah rocks!