His Servants Doing His Will
Our community engagement continues to be phenomenal. We are blessed with partners from all around Birmingham. 28 serve teams in first quarter 2019 compared to 36 serve teams for the entire 2018 year. Wow, God!
In addition, we have the honor to lend a helping hand with a new food outreach which is in its second month in Maplesville, AL, plus share food with our friends at The Lovelady Center and Daniel Cason Ministries. We also continue our monthly programs through backpack buddies with Brookville Elementary, a homeless feeding with Christ City Church and a street friends cookout with King Simmons, Attorneys at Law.
According to the old adage, March showers bring April flowers. Yes, certainly March has been a rainy one, but at Grace Klein Community, this sentiment has a second meaning. All of the hard work that our volunteers are generating in our office and Community House are having very tangible, positive ramifications because of the Lord’s great love overflowing from each of them.
“Praise the LORD, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word. Praise the LORD, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will. Praise the LORD, all his works everywhere in His dominion. Praise the LORD, my soul.” – Psalms 103:20-22
March kicked off with the help of Mountain Brook Community Church’s 4th and 5th graders preparing meals for those in crisis. This group of sweet girls put on their plastic gloves and let the Light of the Lord shine through their meal prep–food made with love always tastes a little better.
We shared Friday afternoon, March 1, with a wonderful time of fellowship, devotion and cooking! Poppyseed Chicken & Rice was the recipe of the day and it was the coolest thing ever to see these young cooks in action! Girls just naturally enjoy the kitchen, but on this day, it was like a well-organized symphony coming together in a song. The girls divvied up the responsibilities, paired off into groups and put those meals together in under an hour. I was absolutely impressed! After we cleaned up the kitchen and got the meals packaged up, we regrouped in a circle for a candlelit prayer to close out the day.
The very next day GKC had a huge group of teens and adults from First Baptist Church of Birmingham, Meadow Brook Baptist Church, Deerfoot Baptist Church and North Shelby Baptist Church. And my goodness, what did these groups not do?! Yard work, Give and Take room, thank you cards to our donors, cleaning, construction and cleaning at the Community House, and meal prep were a handful of the tasks completed by these groups. One thing we are the most grateful for are the design and implementation of the new built-in shelves. These shelves are a real beaut and have been a tremendous blessing! Who would have thought that having our previous shelves collapse would have been such a treasure?!
The following day, March 3, 2019, Riverchase Baptist Church invited Grace Klein Community to be a part of a Missions lunch with their precious Church body. Thank you for sharing the leftover food from the luncheon too! The food was distributed to families that very afternoon at our Sunday Trade Market. We look forward to speaking at your MOPS group on April 11, 2019, and receiving your rummage sale donations on April 13, 2019.
Speaking of shelves, LIFT Student Ministries-Morningstar UMC spent their Sunday evening, March 3, with us at the GKC office stocking the newly constructed shelves. We love these intimate small groups, because they bring such a distinct energy with them. The sense of family and unity in these small groups always leave the GKC lead volunteers feeling re-energized and full of gratitude. Thank you LIFT for your hard work and awesome sense of humor!
A few days later, on March 9, Mountain Chapel United Methodist helped clear out the recycling hut, which is always a huge godsend! Much like good deeds, recycling piles up faster than we can keep up with! These volunteers also helped clean out the box truck and the main office area in the back.
The gusto these kids and Pastor Sean brought, even pulling out sledgehammers and pick-axes to bust apart some old shelving! We completed an amazing amount of work in 3 hours and were even more blessed that God held off the rain for us until right when we finished up our devotion on the front stairs with a group photo. So very thankful for the kids, the parents and Sean that came and made it all happen like a dream.
Right after church, on March 10, Shades Mountain Baptist ninth graders came to serve at our new community house. The yard is a wild beast to tame and hundreds of servants have come to leave their mark. The boys split firewood, cleaned out one of the backyard ditches, and burned random debris. The girls sorted and boxed shoes, thank you notes were written and lots of dusting, sweeping and general cleaning continued. Our friendly firefighters stopped and one had grown up in the youth group of Shades Mountain Baptist. Two hours accomplished over thirty hours of work. When everyone can give a little, the results are staggering.
Our monthly food delivery brought new friends from the Vestavia’s Blue B14U Team of the Greater Birmingham Youth Lacrosse Association who brought non-perishable food to share, helped distribute food into all the food boxes and loaded a majority of the food boxes into the volunteer vehicles. These boys were lifesavers to share their physical strength and diligent work ethic with us. Other new friends from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints also came to share their time and love to fill food boxes and move heavy boxes in the frigid cold.
Next, GKC was blessed with the teenagers from Evangel Honor Society on March 21, 2019. These exceptional students helped all over the office! While some of the girls wrote letters of encouragement to incarcerated juvenile offenders, others sorted the Give and Take Room, cleaned the areas where we store food, and poured some sweat into making sure the driveway was debris free. The young men and women worked quietly and diligently during their time with us, and we are grateful for all they contributed to the community.
Next, we had the Shades Mountain Seniors, on March 22, who are becoming one of our most loyal group of volunteers! They serve most every third Saturday in the month, and this March we were able to get to know their spirits and personalities a little better. During Food Box prep, it can be difficult to get to know the people next to us; but on this serve day, GKC was blessed with stories from their past and present, and were gifted with their gab. Much like in their previous services, all the volunteers were completely dedicated to their tasks. If they were writing letters, sorting shoes, packing diapers from Bundles of Hope, or cleaning out fridges, they still did their service with a smile and a story.
On March 27, 2019, some Shelby County student mamas planned a serve time with us as an activity for their teenagers for Spring Break. We are thankful they chose to come serve with GKC and how they “just so happened” to select the perfect day! We received a load of purchased food, from one of our monthly food bank orders, and they helped unload the truck and stock our shelves. We always tell people that we need 100 people every week to keep our operations running smoothly. Sometimes that sounds crazy and impossible, but once you come join in and become one of those people, the necessity of all the people makes more sense. We need your new energy, your physical strength, your inspiring stories, your hope, your perseverance, your stamina, your joy and your optimism. Every volunteer brings their own special spunk that keeps us going!
These moments with volunteers–where we get to hear a slice of life from the people in the community–are the moments that make being a part of a ministry so special. March has been a busy, busy month, but thanks to the tireless effort our community members bring to the table, even the most monolithic tasks become manageable.
Thank you, volunteers, for all that you do!!