From Pastor Rich Nelson, in Greenvine, TX.
Greenvine Emmanuel Lutheran Church feeds 11,333 people in 1 day
An amazing thing happened this morning at the little Lutheran church in Greenvine, TX. Our gospel reading today was the story of a woman, desperate to help her troubled daughter, begging for “crumbs.” Everyone resisted helping her, even Jesus initially. She pleaded for help, arguing that even the dogs get the crumbs that fall from the table. Still, she knew she was asking for a miracle. Because of her faith and persistence Jesus gave it to her and saved her daughter.
At the beginning of this month I put out the challenge for our congregation to touch the lives of over 5,000 people by Christmas. To many it seemed like an insurmountable task. But just as Jesus showed us that a couple fish and a few loaves of bread could feed thousands when we offer it to God, today we saw that same miracle happen with whatever crumbs we had. I was incredibly moved as, after the sermon, person after person came forward and placed whatever extra cash they had on the altar. It was spontaneous. I hadn’t asked anyone to be prepared for this today. In fact, I didn’t even ask anyone to give money. It just started. First a child came forward with a few dollars, and then another child, and then an adult, and then another.
After worship our council treasurer and president handed me an envelope with enough money inside to feed a nutritional food mix to 11,300 people who are on the brink of starvation due to the severe drought in eastern Africa. As bad as our drought is here in Texas, their drought is impacting them much, much more. 29,000 children under the age of 5 have already died of malnutrition. (If you can stomach it, pictures of the situation there are attached.) The “crumbs” we collected this morning will go to the work of a Christian organization on the ground in Kenya helping feed people. There remains 600,000 people on the brink of starvation. For more on their ministry, visit www.churchworldservice.org .
And there it is, my friends. In one day we more than doubled our goal for the entire rest of the year. We fed not 5,000 people but 11,300 people. Not in one season, but in one day. This is the power of the gospel. This is the power of our faith in action. This is the power of our church family. Please never underestimate what we can do together in God’s name. We can do miracles. Today we did. Thank you. Thanks be to God!
P.S. – If you are an email-forwarding kind of person, I hope you will pass this one on. Hopefully our miracle can inspire others to create their own.