Hope Covenant Serving Others in Need1
Hope Covenant Serving Others in Need at New Leaf Men's Center - Scott Tonkinson
Last Saturday, a group of volunteers from Hope got together to go "on the move" and be the light of Christ for those less fortunate in our community. The New Leaf Men's Center (formerly East Mesa Men's Center) is located just north of the Loop 202 on Country Club Drive and offers men who have fallen on hard times a place to come and rest, while they work on their physical, psychological, and spiritual needs.
For many of the residents, this facility has provided the opportunity to not only receive a warm bed, a hot shower, and three meals a day; but it has also provided a sense of hope and encouragement to make the necessary changes to move forward.
Hope Covenant Church has been serving the men's center with meals and fellowship for over five years. What started as a one-time event by Karyl Greenlaw, one of our Hope family, to serve Christmas lunch to some men in need, has now evolved into a service ministry whereby our church serves and ministers to these men several times each year.
This past Saturday, God was at work again inspiring both the volunteers who cooked and served, as well as the men who received this meal. Our event always starts in the morning with a group of folks at the church armed with spatulas and tongs making cookies and grilling hamburgers and hot dogs to be served for lunch a bit later at the center. The food is supplied by the church, as well as several individuals who donated food and/or funds, for which we are extremely grateful.
Karen Tonkinson usually is at the helm somewhere making sure that everything is running smoothly. Once the food has been prepared and packaged, it is prayed over and then a small caravan of cars leaves Hope to go and meet with the men at New Leaf.
When we arrived at the center, we met with managers of the facility, set out the food in the kitchen, prayed, and then served approximately 40 men as they came up to receive their meals. When the men sat down at their tables, volunteers from Hope made a point to sit with different tables and meet some of these men while sharing a meal. That simple act of walking across the room and saying, "Hello, my name is Scott, may I join you?" is all it takes to begin a conversation with someone new and find out a little bit about their story.
I met a young man named Adam who was 27 and had just arrived at New Leaf two days earlier. Adam had been homeless and trying to survive on the street when he made a decision to come to New Leaf. We talked about his family, how he started to attend college to become an accountant, and how experienced the tragic death of his father, as well as some other life-changing events that impacted his life. Adam was starting over and had some excitement to his voice as he told me of his plans to start a new job soon and get an apartment. We finished our burgers and chips and kept talking for a few more minutes. I told him I would be praying for him and he thanked me and said that he had been thinking about God more these days and how he appreciated our church making the effort to come out to the center and serve lunch.
And that was it, no lengthy testimony, no "turn or burn" speech, just two people sharing a meal and talking about life. When Adam brought up God, I simply told him that God had gotten me through some really rough times and that He would do the same for him. I imagine that everyone else sitting at the other tables shared a similar experience of simply eating, listening, and serving someone else who was in greater need at this moment in time.
Another successful ministry outreach completed in a place where so many more are needed. For me, it is a joy to serve God, to be a witness to others that there is hope, and to fellowship along side other believers who share a love for Jesus Christ and His call to reach the lost.
Thanks to everyone who served or provided assistance in some way for this event.