West Kelowna lunch program

The Things We Do (With Our Gifts. Part 5)

The Canadian Blood Service has a slogan, “It’s In You To Give” and, had it not already been taken, I think that would be an excellent slogan for every Christ follower. It is in you to give because our God has generously given everyone a unique path, a unique gift, and a unique calling!

Sometimes we don’t give this enough consideration. Sometimes we don’t ask — “what is my path, my gift, my calling?” (even if that calling is just about today’s calling). Sometimes we don’t think what we can do is usable anywhere else, but I assure you…it is. It is because God has given everyone SOMETHING to use to do the things He wants done.

I was thinking about this recently when I was at the Lunch Program. My job that day was to transfer cartloads of food from one pantry to another. It helps to have “like items” all in one spot, so we put all the home-made canning in one place:

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Isn’t this beautiful to look at? I haven’t canned a single thing in my whole life, but I stood back and looked at this display and appreciated the work behind all of this; the love behind all of this. So you have the skills to can fruits and vegetables; what good is that gift? I submit this photo for your consideration. How beautiful are the hands that made these?

And then there are practical gifts. My mom used to say, “I don’t know what my gifts are” but she could take the most cluttered room, the most disgustingly dirty corner, the most tedious of tasks and stick with it until all was put in order. That’s a gift. Here is another example. Here is Kathy A. and all her “neat-genes” making this storage room fantastic (I don’t know how Mike got in the photo):

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That’s how God works. Some gifts sound beautiful, some gifts look beautiful, some use math, some taste amazing, some use a hammer, and some involve a pen. Some gifts teach us, some touch us, some change our surroundings or our mind. Some gifts call us to attention, some heal, some encourage, some lift us up before God. Some gifts renew our faith, some preach the Gospel in public, some have a way of reaching the ignored and unseen.

Some gifts are creative and improvising. Some can make something out of odd parts — take Nancy B. for example. Nancy B. runs the lunch program. She can take the most random of ingredients and turn them into something delicious and warm for those who need something delicious and warm in our community. Case in point:

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I know you can’t smell the photo, but that beef in that rich broth, those tender potatoes and that crunchy salad along with that hot bread putting with ice cream melting all over it, filled the whole dining room with the delicious tastes of “home.”

Using our gifts is a thing we do, because they were given to us by our heavenly Father to be used. What is your gift?

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 

The Things We Do (Families. Part 2)

Last week I wrote about what motivates us to “do things” (see part 1). Today I want to pick up from there and highlight some creative approaches that are going on through our Small Groups. For this blog I am going to highlight one group who is being creative with “who they have” and “what they have.”

Who They Have:

Colleen L. and Chelsey H. are leading a small group of mostly young families. Most of the adults in this group are just trying to catch their breath, maintain their sanity and survive the wildly unpredictable stage of life they are in.

What They Have:

Besides the adults, there are lot of little people who require supervision! The adults can’t easily leave the house and meet up with their small group. Meeting up requires a whole care strategy and a whole care strategy can be blown to bits by a cold, a tantrum, a call from the teacher, a coup d'é·tat…you get the idea.

These things sideline a lot of people, but I love that this group KEEPS TRYING. They have employed some great strategies so they can meet together: one week the guys watch the kids and the ladies meet un-interrupted. One week the ladies watch the kids and the guys meet uninterrupted. They plan for a family meet up where everyone gets together and just embrace the chaos! And somewhere along the way, the adults learn and grow and…it even rubs off on the kids:

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What does it look like to “serve” during these hectic years? “The things we do” look differently, but no one, in any stage of life, needs to be sidelined! There is always some way to be useful!

Talking to Colleen about this, she said, “We are a negative asset if we show up anywhere to help with all the kids!” so containment is key! Recently the small group got together in a house (with doors and locks and toys and …) where the kids could run and play and the adults could be productive. They baked a whole stack of Shepherd’s Pie that evening to give to the Lunch Program!

While all this cooking was going on, the guys sharpened knives for the Lunch program (and thanks also to Steve C., whatever they couldn’t get done that night was completed through West Kelowna Home Hardware donating their services).

There were kids underfoot, goldfish everywhere and shifts on/off to snuggle babies ‘cuz this is what you do when you want to “do things” for others out of your love for Jesus. Sometimes it takes some creativity!

What are you feeling prompted to do? Want to get involved in the lunch program? We partner with Westbank United Church to provide lunches daily to those in challenging situations in our city. Use this contact form to link up!

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 

Stepping In

In case you didn’t know, SunRidge partners with Westbank United Church to come alongside in serving lunches to those who need them in our West Kelowna community. And who needs lunch? There are those who have experienced a turn in life that has left them homeless. There are those who have lost their job and a lunch here and there brings relief to the budget. There are seniors who might not be cooking a hearty meal for themselves. There are young people who are sorting things out and some warm food and some warm words are helpful. There are a lot of different kinds of people who come to a hot meal (three times a week) and sandwiches on the off days.

This requires

  • a lot of organization (Nancy is a force to be reckoned with),

  • a home base (thank goodness for the centrally located United Church facility and their compassion for the city)

  • food (donations come from all over our city from churches, businesses, farms, and concerned individuals)

  • volunteers (lots and lots)

This week we were short-handed on Monday and it highlighted again how many people it requires to keep this work going. So today I am highlighting people who “step in.” I know there are many who do — lots of faithful behind-the-scenes servants who help with no fanfare. There are people who send lovely home baking — the guests LOVE the home baking. There are people who go around finding donations, people who serve once and twice and three times a week. There are people who buy last minute groceries, people who wash dish after dish, people who give hugs, people who cut onions and…there is one beloved person who even comes to tenderly cut and style people’s hair.

If you would like to get involved in this practical, love-your-city, mission email our rep Randy at lunchprogram@sunridge.org or contact us here. There are on-site opportunities and other things you can do if you can’t do that! We also have a grocery list at the Connect Centre. Pick one up and add a few things to your list each week. You can drop off at SunRidge or at the United Church.

How did our shorthanded Monday go? Thanks to Mark P., Kim R., and Lindsay W. and some others from outside SunRidge who all “stepped in”…we got’er done! Go team go!

At the end of our shift, I like how Mark summarized things:

Why is Mark wearing oven mitts while stirring Coleslaw?

Why is Mark wearing oven mitts while stirring Coleslaw?

“A kitchen filled with love and servants hearts. People of all ages and backgrounds banding together to do their part in order to make a HUGE difference to show those less fortunate in our own community that they are loved, cared for and matter so very much. What an honour to be a part of it.”

Teresa Klassen

Teresa
Klassen