By Karen Knight, Special to the Message
CONCORD/UNION BAPTIST ASSOCIATION – God has really blessed the shoebox ministry [for Native Americans in the Farmington, N.M., area] abundantly this year.
Concord/Union Baptist Association collected 2,529 shoebox gifts, plus blankets, throws, new coats, sweaters, new clothing, hats, gloves, school supplies, jars of jelly to pass out to adults, adult gifts, candy to pass out to children, stuffed animals, and many miscellaneous items.
Also the association collected enough money to purchase 270 of each of the following items: 20-pound bag of Blue Bird flour, 10-pound bag of pinto beans and a 3-pound can of shortening.
The cost for this year had increased, of course, from $20.73 per set to $26.37.
It also purchased six cases of apples and six cases of oranges to pass out at the churches where we had worship services.
As usual God provided what was needed. God never calls us to do anything without faithfully keeping His word and enabling us to do it. He remains faithful and stands by His word to fulfill what He has promised.
Over the last few years we have come to realize that the food items are just as important as or more so than the gifts.
Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!
You have helped to feed 270 families for a couple of weeks or more. We appreciate you, and I know the Native American people appreciate you also.
We were able to have worship services at five churches this year. We had six people pray for salvation and the pastor’s daughter at one of the churches led an elderly lady to the Lord after we left that night. Praise God!
That makes it all worthwhile.
We didn’t get to see the children open the presents, but we passed out school supplies and small bags of candy, apples and oranges and small gift bags and other items that we took along. This allowed us to have a little more time to fellowship and get to know the people better.
It seems that this year we were able to minister to them in a different way.
One of the pastors had lost his wife last January. He needed encouragement to be able to go on with his ministry.
Another pastor and his wife lost their daughter-in-law in a car accident the weekend before we were there on Wednesday. They were really sad and broken-hearted, and needed us to pray for them and try to comfort them.
We also were allowed to go to the San Juan Medical Center in Farmington and pass out gifts, pillows, blankets, and candy bags. The ones who went were allowed to have prayer with the patients and then to give out the items.
I received a thank you card from the hospital that read like this: “The children loved them and you blessed their hearts. You are all such a blessing. Our thoughts and prayers are with you as you reach out to others.” Signed: the Pediatrics Department.
Each year God opens more doors for this ministry. This year we provided gifts to a couple of new places that house children who have been removed from their homes for some reason. And to another place that houses problem children.
Also, the last couple of years we have stopped at a Senior Center and left clothing, blankets, gifts, food items and miscellaneous items with them.
They use this to give to some of the people they serve there; also they give some to the local fire department to help with gifts for needy families in their area.
We also left some of the food items at the San Juan Baptist Association to use for families they may know who are in need.
We try to provide items to as many as we can, where they are needed the most. We let the Lord lead us and He always opens doors, and leads us to where He wants us to provide them.
Barry Joyner is director of missions for the Concord/Union Baptist Association.