A Year to Remember>
Some say that this was “a year to forget,” and we understand the sentiment. It has been a hard year on so many fronts. At the same time, we experienced many blessings that we won’t soon forget:
We grew to love our community more deeply.
As need increased across the year, often in staggering ways, you came in to “lift the load” day-after-day. Lines of cars packed with donations rolled through non-stop, from open to close. The joy you so enthusiastically expressed when you gave filled us up as surely as it did the overflowing bins which received your gifts. This remained true – even when many of you gave despite the negative impact of the virus on your own family. You can see how touched from the April 2020 Facebook post below:
“You drop by all day long, as if you don’t have a care in the world. You say you just picked up “a little something extra” from the store, but your trunk is filled with food for people in need, as if money grows on trees. You say something new came in, and you are letting us have “this old thing,” and you think we don’t notice that what you’ve given is brand new. You never need anyone to know your name, and the moms and dads you’ve helped probably never will. We only see, but God knows, and we pray that you will be as richly blessed as you have blessed others. We are humbled and inspired by you, and so grateful to walk the journey with you in these days. Thank you for making a difference here.”
We grew personally and spiritually.
Adjustments happened as “social distancing” became the order of the day. We wore masks & gloves, took temperatures, and created protected, outdoor spaces to keep everyone safe. Along the way, we grew closer to each other, to people in need, and to you. We were extraordinarily blessed even on the longest of days. With Tillie’s leadership, we kept our sense of humor and found ways to smile as we served together. As the Pandemic worsened, affecting the health of people we knew, and simultaneously affecting the economic foundation of so many people’s lives, we knelt to pray more often than we had before. In this most personal of relationships, we found strength for our journey – for these days, of course, but also for the days ahead. We are grateful.
We saw increased ministry effectiveness.
Since we couldn’t gather in large groups, we had the opportunity to rethink, and to re-create some of our traditional ministry offerings. Our health clinics, for example, adjusted to serving people differently, so that everyone could socially distance and stay safe, yet still receive treatment. Since we couldn’t gather for our annual Easter egg hunt, we put the eggs together with food baskets and made home deliveries to more children than ever before. For our Fall Festival and Thanksgiving Day ministries, we moved everything outside, and found those who gave and those who received liked it better. In December, we were able to create a space for a second, fully operating Christmas Store, operating in parallel to each other. The second store provided for better distancing and decreased the wait time of each guest. We can see keeping many of the changes made this year many years into the future. We are thankful too that – by God’s Grace – we were able to keep our doors open every day of 2020.
We are grateful for you!
With the apostle Paul, we “thank God every time we remember you,” (Philippians 1:8), and we never want to forget what He has done in and through us this past year. We are grateful for you. We know that there is still a long road ahead. We are so grateful we get to walk it with you.