Cindy and I have just stepped out of the theater where we watched a showing of the new movie Shazam. It’s the story of a foster kid who gets super powers and activates them by saying the title of the movie. Which, incidentally, was what Jim Neighbors would say when his character on The Andy Griffith Show fifty years ago, Gomer Pyle, was confused. Let me tell you, a lot has changed.
And I wish I could say that I’m writing this with a super-power aura over me, but, well, a lot haschanged. I’m old, and my body responds to stress and effort with fatigue. And so does my mind. And there’s been an extra bit of both this week in the Storehouse.
Way back in December, I asked our staff if we could prepare for the Storehouse to include an evening serve. We decided to wait until after Feed the Need to see what our food resources would look like. Have I mentioned that we received 5,000 more pounds this year than last? And have I said thank you?
And last night it happened.
But it didn’t just all of a sudden happen. It had been haaapeeeeniiing. For a couple of weeks.
Because that’s when we learned one of our trailer parks in town was going to close due to necessary code changes that just couldn’t happen. We were one of several agencies that has joined to help serve and place families. At the first big meeting, Spring invited all the families, that would be 110 families, eighty percent of whom are Hispanic, many speaking only Spanish, to come to our first ever evening serve.
And I would love to report that I had this really holy moment when the news reached me. You know, where my faith just welled up and I knew the Holy Spirit was planning something special. But I didn’t. My first response was fear. Then pride. How can we do this, was my first thought. And, of course, that’s code for “How can I possibly save face and appear to be in charge and totally in control if 110 families show up at our first evening serve?”
The only thing to do was to give it more effort. And prayer. Maybe. But mostly effort. And it turned out to be just like surfing, something I’ve never actually done. But it seemed like all I did was stand on the board. Something else, a power not my own, was propelling the Storehouse all week.
On Monday, 898 pounds of produce, potatoes, and bread arrived from the Arkansas Food Bank. The Kum & Go donations poured in…more than we’ve ever received in a week. We bagged pizza and foods from Hendrix with exotic names like coconut chicken and vegetable masala. A friend came by with a shopping cart full of left over sweets from a conference. Then Ed’s bakery and Julie’s Sweet Shoppe came through with abundance.
For a few days, it seemed the Storehouse was a black hole with a gravity no donated food item could resist.
For each of the volunteers who had earlier thought could serve, and then couldn’t, two more seemed to show up instead.
And at least one came without my foreknowledge. We have an intern from Central Bible College who asked Austin, a Spanish-speaking student-friend, if he could come and translate in anticipation of our serving families from Brookside. And Jesus was all in that. Someone asked about prayers for our Spanish-speaking guests. I turned to Austin. Can you pray for them in Spanish? Sure. In Jesus name? Of course.
I had also contacted a person who could translate. Through our participation in the AETN documentary on food insecurity in Central Arkansas, we’ve met Claret. She’s from Venezuela. Her amazingly good English is her second language. Or maybe third.
When I called her, she explained that her mom was here from Venezuela. So, of course, I thought she was out for sure. Then she asked if her mom could come. She could explain everything to her mom, and mom could explain to guests.
When we opened the door, Claret was not present. But we had Austin, and his help was huge.
In the goofy way technology can sometimes work, I was reading a text from Claret, explaining that she’d been out of town and would be late, as I spotted her and mom in the breezeway. After greetings, we scoped out the waiting room. There were two candidates who might need her help. I suggested she introduce herself and explain the process to them and possibly walk with them through their shopping experience. That’s when she suggested I explain the process to her.
Claret and her mom sat with the two women until they took their turn at the computer. Then all four stepped into the hallway to wait for a personal shopper. As it turned out, the next personal shopper was Sam, who can also speak Spanish. She greeted the four of them in words I don’t understand and then the five of them began the trip through the Storehouse, laughing together as they approached and then disappeared into the hygiene room.
This little group represented three countries. They could have, possibly, spanned three generations. It’s possible that only one of them is a citizen of this country. Claret’s mom had only been here a few days. And here they were, in our Storehouse, sudden friends.
It was almost too beautiful to look at.
I’m beginning to believe there’s a member of the Trinity that doesn’t get all the credit he deserves. Our Holy Spirit, our Advocate, our Friend, our Comforter, our Helper, the Spirit of Truth, has amazing power to work through us when we engage in Kingdom work. He shows up. He’s present. He gives us words. He translates our prayers. He changes our hearts.
He permeates our Storehouse. And sometimes, He’s palpable.
And sometimes, He’s visible.
Now, that’s Shazam.
I am the Storehouse Director and get the privilege of writing about the people that Jesus loves.
Contact Mike Rush at firstname.lastname@example.org for all things "Volunteer".
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