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Old 10-11-16, 02:12 PM
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Charles Charles is offline
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Join Date: Jan 1999
Location: Cleveland, GA USA
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It seemed obvious that Jesus meant us - all his people and my wife and I in particular - to help people in need. It's a tradition in both families. If grandma had only a small pot of beans and a pan of cornbread and someone came to the door hungry they ate first and somehow there was always enough for all of us too. But more than that Jesus is very specific that what we do for "the least" we do for him and what we don't do for them we deny Him. Not sure I could get any enjoyment out of a meal if Jesus was standing there in front of me going hungry. When we moved to NE GA God gave me one direction "Help Mervin." Mervin was an older lady who helped people in many ways including food. At that time she was head of the outreach (benevolence) program for the church we attended. So we helped Mervin and when she was no longer as involved in that we did it. Until the week that an elderly couple whose home we passed on the way to church were robbed and even their food stolen. Their neighbor also a member of that church asked us to take them food and we did only to catch heck at church because they lived outside the county where the church was (so did we so did their neighbor and about 1/4 of the people who went to church and paid tithes there). At least 20% of the people then attending had been reached through the help program originally and had learned grow and to give. There were a lot of words in my mind but the only ones God let come out my mouth were "We'll do things a different way."

In the next 2 days we had calls from 3 people not affiliated with the church offering food help for "Your Caring Hands Ministries" A lot of food. It finally dawned on us that God was establishing a new ministry and had named it Caring Hands. He told them before He told us or at least before we heard Him. Over the next few months He made a way to help with more than food things like rent and power bills tires so someone could take a job etc. We were having a hard time ourselves but there was always a way to help people.

My wife was a welfare caseworker for years and later worked as senior caseworker for Red Cross Disaster Services ad Armed Forces Emergency Services. So things like verifying needs and making payments directly to the vendors came naturally to her. We were and are a volunteer ministry. God gives discernment too if you listen. Right now we serve people in 6 counties in the southern tip of Appalachia. Most of our support comes from local businesses and from grants. A few churches help too. Appalachian Hope Center grew out of Caring Hands because so many said they did not feel accepted in local churches and we believe God welcomes everyone to His fellowship and offers each on the opportunity to accept salvation and learn to live in Jesus.

I really believe any church or any individual who wants to help others can find a way to do it and that to one extent or another we are called to do that. It is not their goodness it is Jesus making a way. We camped one time near a number of homeless people. Apparently my old van and beat up popup felt to them like we must be in the same state so they invited us to eat. Everyone who came brought a can of something or some rice or crackers or had gathered some firewood or walked to the nearest water and brought back a gallon. Someone had caught some fish. One child had a bag of cookie he shared. It was a great meal and plenty of it and everyone took some "warm up" back to their tent or camper, These were people who had just about nothing. One family was living on the ground under a plastic drop cloth but they shared and everyone was blessed.
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Come visit us at http://www.caringhandsministries.com
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