May 11, 2010
Last week I had two opportunities to reach out. First, it was Teacher Appreciation Week so I had originally decided that I was going to take some chocolates and a card over to Longfellow Elementary School (the elementary school that I attended as a kid) thanking the teachers for their hard work and dedication. As I was praying the day before I was to deliver the chocolates, I felt like the Lord was leading me to give the box of chocolates to some dear friends, Amy and Brian McInerny. Amy and Brian are in my small group at church and they are both teachers and incredible people with a heart for God! I delivered the chocolates to Amy and told her how much I appreciate her. I realized (through prayer) that outreach doesn’t always have to be to someone who you don’t know. Sometimes the people closest to us need to be reached out to the most. I want to make myself available for God to use at any time to reach out with his love to strangers, as well as to my dear friends.
The second part of my outreach last week was to deliver a box of food to a family in need. My church, Harvest Bible Chapel, is delivering boxes of food over the next three months to an apartment complex in Aurora. Most of the families living in this apartment complex are on welfare or are struggling financially. My husband Rick and I delivered a box of food on Saturday along with some flowers in honor of Mother’s Day.
When we knocked on the apartment door one of the girls (who looked to be in junior high) opened the door with a smile on her face. I told her we were there to deliver food and to drop off some flowers for her Mom. Her Mom yelled from the back hallway, “I would come out, but I don’t look decent.” We told her not to worry about it. We would be back in two weeks with another box of food. I also told her we left some flowers for her and HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY! Her other daughter (who looked to be in high school) said thank you, and then we left. I am hoping that the next time we deliver food we will get a chance to sit down and talk with the Mom and her daughters.
I’m looking forward to reaching out again this week. There is nothing greater in this world than being used by God to touch people with HIS unconditional LOVE!
May 4, 2010
Last Friday I went and visited an organization called Almost Home Kids. Here is a little bit about the Almost Home Kids Organization. I copied and pasted this from their website. You can read more about their wonderful organization by going to www.almosthomekids.org
At Almost Home Kids, our mission is to enhance the lives of children facing serious and ongoing medical challenges.
Almost Home Kids is a not-for-profit children’s care center. Founded by parents of medically fragile children; this 10-bed facility is housed in a 4,000 square foot home set on 2.5 acres of land. It is the first of its kind in the nation and the only one in Illinois. It is recognized as a multidisciplinary model of excellence for the short-term clinical care of children who are medically fragile and who may also be technology-dependent.
Children in the Respite Care program are welcome up to two weeks a year, and the 120-day Transitional Program serves as a bridge between hospital and home.
The child-friendly decor and beautifully landscaped grounds make Almost Home Kids a wonderful “home-away-from-home.”
On their website are listed some of the needs they have at their facility. I went and purchased some of these items and delivered them to Almost Home Kids.
When I dropped off the donation I was greeted by a sweet lady who took us on a tour of the facility. There were precious babies and kids hooked up to oxygen tanks and all sorts of medical devices. It literally brought me to tears. I silently prayed for each one of those precious children. It’s hard to understand why these things happen to babies, but I know that our God is sovereign and that he is holding each one of these precious little babies in his loving arms.
Today my question is….will you take time to say a prayer for the staff who work here, and for the children who are cared for here? “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” Ephesians 6:18
April 27, 2010
Last week my husband and I helped CareNet Pregnancy Center with their bottle fundraiser. We were given 150 empty bottles that we needed to stick stickers on that read “Coins For CareNet”. We also attached a little piece of paper that asked about the person who was filling the bottle with coins. We are going to deliver these bottles to a few churches in the area who are then going to distribute them to their congregations. My prayer is that each one of these bottles is filled not only with loose change, but also with the prayers for CareNet who is making a difference in the lives of many women to make a choice AGAINST abortion.
If you are reading this blog today, I would ask that you would take just a moment out of your day to pray for this wonderful ministry. As James 5:16 says, “The prayer of a righteous man (woman) is powerful and effective.” Let’s get on our knees in faith believing for God to continue to use this ministry for HIS glory!!
If you would like to volunteer for Carenet you can visit their website at http://www.carenetdupage.com/carenet/ .
April 22, 2010
Last Saturday my church, Harvest Bible Chapel in Naperville did a church wide outreach. The event was called Compassion Day and the task was to serve 50 different places (i.e. women’s shelters, schools, parks, food pantries, jails, and the list goes on). Some people painted schools, while others organized and handed out food at a food pantry. I led a group to a place that takes care of mentally disabled kids and adults. Our task was to clean up the grounds of this facility. We raked leaves, picked up sticks, picked weeds, cleaned patio furniture, and swept the sidewalks.
When we were finished cleaning the grounds I asked the supervisor at the facility if there was anything else we could do for them, and she just smiled and said the yard looked wonderful! I sometimes wonder who outreach really touches more….the person receiving the service, or the person doing the service? I’ve come to the conclusion that I really believe the person doing the service feels the most blessed! 🙂 To God be the glory.
April 13, 2010
When I woke up on Friday morning I decided to bless someone in line behind me at Starbuck’s with a free drink of their choice. When I arrived at one of the busiest Starbuck’s in Wheaton the place was desolate. There were a few people at tables talking and drinking their coffee beverages, but there was absolutely no one in line. This was very unusual for this Starbuck’s location. I decided after ordering my drink to hand the cashier a five dollar bill. I told her to buy the drink of the next person who walks in. The cashier looked at me with a confused expression on her face. She said she didn’t understand why I would do that. I told her that I just wanted to bless someone today with a free coffee. She told me that was very nice thing to do and that not many people are that giving. I smiled and once again told her I just want to bless someone because I am so blessed. I didn’t elaborate that my blessing was really knowing Jesus the giver of all good things. I kind of regreted not being more vocal about that, but my prayer is that I at least sowed a seed of what God’s love looks like.
I don’t know who received that free coffee, but I hope that whomever it was it brought a smile to their face. I prayed on my way home from Starbuck’s for the employee’s at that particular Starbuck’s along with the person who was told their drink was free. I kept thinking of the verse in the Bible where Jesus tells us to love one another just as he loved us. He goes on to say, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35. That is my heart’s cry!! May people I know I am a disciple of Christ because of the way I love others!! AMEN!
April 8, 2010
Last weekend my husband, daughter, and I drove to Northwest Indiana to help my brother-in-law with an outreach that his church puts on annually at Easter time. It is called the Easter Fun Fest and over 500 people came through the church doors to play games, visit the Easter bunny, and win prizes. I was put in charge of the “Pin The Tail On The Bunny” game. Very similar to the donkey version except we used cotton balls instead of donkey tails. 🙂
Each person received a flyer advertising the Easter service that would be going on the following morning. It was so much fun to participate in this event and to volunteer to help my brother-in-law and sister with a HUGE and very succesful outreach to their community!
I took a bunch of pictures and I will post some of them in the next day or so.
March 30, 2010
In honor of Special Education Week (which was last week), my Mom, Addison and I brought donuts and coffee cake to all of the staff at Marklund Children’s Home. Marklund Children’s Home is a place that takes care of children and adults who have special needs (autism, downs syndrome, cerebral palsy etc…). The staff here work very hard with these precious people. They teach, love, and give to each and every resident day in and day out. I thought they deserved a little recognition (and a little treat) for all of their efforts! 🙂
When we arrived at Marklund the Volunteer Coordinator, Hilsa gave us a tour of the facility. All I can say is a big…WOW!! What a wonderful place for people to be taken care of with special needs! It was so great to see all of the staff interacting and loving these individuals. I know that God is looking down on this place with a big smile on his face. If you think of it today, say a prayer for Marklund Children’s Home. I have added them to my prayer list, as I know that God has wonderful plans for both the residents and the staff at Marklund.
Unfortunately, I ran out the door without my camera last week for this outreach. I was bummed that I did that, but they do have an incredible website. Check it out if you have a chance. http://www.marklund.org/
March 22, 2010
Last Thursday Addie and I delivered canned goods to our local Food Pantry in Naperville called Loaves and Fishes (creative name, huh?!). I also asked the ladies in my Women’s Bible Study if they could help donate as well, and they did, so I was able to donate quite a bit of food to the pantry. It was interesting when I came across the website for Loaves and Fishes; they had a hunger fact that caught my eye. This is what it read:
In February, we distributed food to 4,126 people,
helped 307 single moms feed their families,
and provided food to 1,633 hungry children
and 479 senior citizens.
Wow!! Talk about a place that is really serving the community! I hope to donate more food in the next couple of weeks. I am reminded of one of my favorite verses in Matthew.
(Jesus Speaking) “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it for me.” Matthew 25:40
When we serve and love people here on earth we are actually serving and loving our beautiful Savior Jesus! That is my very heart behind this 52 week challenge. I want to live out my LOVE for HIM daily!!
March 15, 2010
Last Friday was one of my favorite outreach opportunities thus far! I joined a group called MOPS (Mothers of Pre Schoolers), a couple of weeks ago. This group of Mom’s along with some other ladies from the Church that hosts MOPS, decided to bless the women who work at a Women’s Shelter in Aurora called Mutual Ground with a Spa Day! Every woman dreams of a day at the Spa! Relaxing and not worrying about anything but themselves for a few short hours! Well this exactly what we created for these women who work at Mutual Ground putting in tons of hours and dedicating their lives to help protect and love the abused.
My assignment….manicures. Now I have had many manicures in my life, but the only nails I’ve ever done myself were mine and my nieces. This was going to be a little bit of a challenge, but I was up for it! Thankfully, there was a sweet lady by the name of Marilyn sitting beside me who had a nail salon out of her home, she became my “nail teacher”, and I learned a lot from her that day about giving someone a manicure.
I had such wonderful conversations with some of the ladies who had their nails done by me. My heart broke as I heard the stories of the many battered and abused women that they work to help every day of their lives. I wanted to ask them to hire me on to help because helping women who are hurting and in need is one of my biggest passions in life! In fact, I’d love to travel around the country and just hold Spa Days for women all over who deserve a day to feel special. Afterall, if we all looked at ourselves through God’s eyes…every day would feel like a Spa Day!! 🙂
After about three hours of manicures I had to go and put my daughter down for her afternoon nap. As I was driving home I began to pray for each one of the ladies who came to Spa Day that morning. I hope that in the future I can be a part of another outreach opportunity like this one!
Here are some pics from Spa Day:
March 5, 2010
This morning our outreach was to our pediatrician’s Office. We absolutely love Dr. Jao, our pediatrician. The nurses and staff make sure every one is cared for in a special way. I always leave Addison’s appointments feeling so thankful to everyone at the office. I thought it would be wonderful to let Dr. Jao and her entire staff know just how thankful we are to all of them for their hard work and caring hearts.
I decided to bake a coffee cake and deliver it to our doctors office along with a thank you note expressing our deep gratitude for everyone at the office. This was my first time making a coffee cake ( I usually just pick one up at our local grocery store), but this time I wanted it to be extra special. Thankfully my wonderful sister, Kimberly emailed me an easy recipe and it turned out great! 🙂 While I was putting Addie in her car seat I explained to her that we were going to say thank you to Dr. Jao, but I think at this point she just thought she was running yet another errand with Mommy!
When we got to Dr. Jao’s office I went to the reception desk and handed the coffee cake and thank you note to the nice lady. She said a thank you with a big smile, and I told her I just wanted everyone there to know that we appreciate their hard work and care. As I turned around to leave I noticed the office was packed with parents and their sick children. For some reason at this point I felt as though all eyes were on me and Addison as we headed toward the door to leave. My eye caught the smile of man waiting with his son, I smiled back and left knowing in full assurance that God really wanted me to do this outreach today!