Even before Hurricane Matthew hit, Manis had been teaching in the church about the natural necessity of a Christian to love and serve others, even your enemy. After Matthew, he encouraged everyone to put this into action and reach out to those who were hurting around them, even in the midst of their own personal losses. Now, after “Matthew’s wife” went through, he sent them out into action again.
But let me back up a minute…
Last week, Kids Against Hunger delivered a truckload of food to Lemuel. It was perfect (ie, God-arranged) timing! Just in time for Food-4-Work projects aimed at hurricane recovery. What’s more, they had a second truck of food to go to another of their partners about 45-60 minutes away. However, due to the heavy rains, the truck was not able to get there. So, they left the SECOND truck of food at Lemuel too. And then, “Matthew’s wife” came rip-roaring through on Thursday night like nothin’ anyone has ever seen. Anse-Rouge experienced significant damage, and no one was able to get there anyway to buy food. Under normal circumstances, Lemuel does not just give food out.
But these were not normal circumstances.
Now, back to Sunday. After briefly reviewing his overall message from the past couple weeks, Manis had all the people in the church sit together by family. He explained God’s providential supply of the extra food boxes. One member from each family was sent to the depot to get a box of food.
“Choose one other family in the community—someone you know who is in need. It can be wherever in the area you want, whoever is on your heart…even someone you formerly had a problem with,” Manis said, “Take this box to them and tell them, ‘Here’s what God has sent to you today. He loves you, and we love you too.’ Don’t tell them it is a gift from you. Don’t tell them it is from Lemuel. It is from God.”
As the people left church to go to the depot, they were all excitedly discussing their deliveries together:
“Whose house are you going to?”
“I’m going to so-and-so’s!”
“Oh! You’re going there? Ok, then I’m going to so-and-so’s!”
One lady actually did go to the home of someone with whom she had up to this time been in conflict. “Mrs. B?!?!” they said, “Is that really you bringing us food?!” “No,” she said, “It’s God.”
After the boxes were delivered, each family returned for a box for their own household. Another lady, whose husband is handicapped and cannot walk, carried the heavy box on her head quite a distance to her blind neighbor before returning the same distance again for her own box.
There were a number of children in church whose parents were not present. They were not forgotten! Each received two bags of rice—one they were instructed to give to a friend, and the other they were to keep.
The past couple weeks have been very difficult, yet we can trace God’s hand working through it all!