but, they just didn't begin to capture what happened.
Then it was processing all the stories. There were so many "God is in the details" moments. So many opportunities to share with others why we were out in our community performing acts of service. So many ways our volunteers were positively impacted by things that were said or that happened to them. God is still giving me glimpses of how He is using that day.
But this most fulfilling of days needs to be chronicled. And so, I make this humble attempt to relay some of what happened. If you haven't read all the entries, I would suggest first reading the background on the day, then the nuts and bolts of how it came together before seeing how it all came to fruition.
First and foremost, we wanted to be a blessing to others.
Some people were fed a meal, others enjoyed companionship and a craft, items were sorted at a food pantry, the atrium of a health clinic was weeded and mulched, city streets were cleared of trash, the grounds of several schools and a community center got some sprucing up and a homeless shelter now feels a lot more like a home.
But, no surprise, God blessed us in return.
The mom of an elementary school age girl was asked what the highlight of the day was for her. "When my daughter said "'Mom, there are so many people out there who need us - can't we keep helping on our own?'" It was so exciting to hear a young person get that it's not about us, but how we can show God's love to others!
The sentiment of that young lady was echoed by adults who expressed an interest in being involved where they volunteered, on an on-going basis.
At one of the work sites, our group worked with families who attended the school, but not our church. One young woman from the school group asked how she could get involved in future outreach activities with us.
Another blessing was the internal fellowship factor. Our church has over 600 people who attend 5 weekend services. In a number of cases, Central Cares Day provided congregants a way to meet each other for the very first time. New friendships were created and existing bonds were nourished.
One of our volunteers was unemployed. She worked with a group at the nursing home we visited and after watching her interact with residents, a supervisor there told her to apply...and she got a job!
At the Salvation Army where a meal was served to 50+ people, a man came in after walking several miles through two towns. When he saw the blue shirts of our servers, he exclaimed "Man! You guys are all OVER the place today!" Our county was blanketed in a sea of blue love.
We were invited back to the homeless shelter a few weeks later - honored guests at their annual summer cookout. We were presented with a beautiful card made by the residents. It was filled with thank you notes, poems, and pictures of the residents enjoying their new reception area, teen and resource rooms and it touched our hearts in special way.
Several of the organizations have already asked to secure their spot for next year's Care Day, and we look forward to blessing clients of some of the organizations for our 3rd Annual Christmas Store on December 14th of this year. In just a few days, we'll be heading back to the shelter to begin teaching life skill classes! I'll be posting about that soon.
Showing others the love of Christ in practical ways can be as easy as picking up trash off the streets, wielding a paintbrush to brighten a room, or singing hymns and doing a craft. It just takes a little time and effort to brighten a day, restore hope, kindle a friendship, or tell someone how much God loves them and what he did to secure them a spot with him in heaven for all eternity.
Central Cares Day was a time to bring all that into focus, but we have the opportunity to care each and every day.
Galatians 6:9 "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."