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Lent 2011

Helping Fulfill God's Promise

Day 32

By Deaconess Sarah Capers, Brooklyn, N.Y.

But you, O mountains of Israel, shall shoot out your branches, and yield your fruit to my people Israel; for they shall soon come home. See now, I am for you; I will turn to you, and you shall be tilled and sown; and I will multiply your population, the whole house of Israel, all of it; the towns shall be inhabited and the waste places rebuilt; and I will multiply human beings and animals upon you. They shall increase and be fruitful; and I will cause you to be inhabited as in your former times, and will do more good to you than ever before. Then you shall know that I am the Lord. I will lead people upon you—my people Israel—and they shall possess you, and you shall be their inheritance. No longer shall you bereave them of children. Thus says the Lord God: Because they say to you, "You devour people, and you bereave your nation of children," therefore you shall no longer devour people and no longer bereave your nation of children, says the Lord God; and no longer will I let you hear the insults of the nations, no longer shall you bear the disgrace of the peoples; and no longer shall you cause your nation to stumble, says the Lord God.

—Ezekiel 36:8-16


The small community center where I serve is housed in a storefront located in a neighborhood that our large city has designated as an area of need. Most of those we serve are older adults, single parents and teenagers. Many struggle to meet basic needs. The adults struggle economically while the children struggle academically. They all struggle socially.

At this center, through our service, we bear witness daily a message of love, hope and salvation.

When I look at this community and the people who live here I am reminded of Ezekiel 36:8-16 when God promises the mountains that they will no longer be allowed to kill God's people. I believe that God is using the services that we provide to no longer allow situations and circumstances to oppress God's people in this community. We have been placed here as God's servants to provide assistance and hope in any way that we can. The need is great and continues to grow each day.

Our food pantry serves twice as many clients as it did six months ago. The food and assistance that we provide often helps a client manage "until the end of the month." Our homework help program provides support and instruction for middle school aged students who struggle in school. Students attending this program continue to show improvement in social skills as well as academic skills. And those attending our senior (older adult) program enjoy a friendly atmosphere for socializing with peers, experiencing cultural events and gaining information.

At this center, through our service, we bear witness daily a message of love, hope and salvation. The work is quite demanding but just as rewarding. When a mother says "thank you" for a food package with tears in her eyes or a student proudly displays his or her first passing grade on a test we truly feel the joy of service. We also know that we are being used to help relieve oppression.

Prayer

Gracious God, help us be your living message of love, hope and salvation. Amen.

Last Updated: 04/05/2014
 
 

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