“Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to.” – Deuteronomy 15:10,NIV
When I was a volunteer at the food pantry, I remember there was a person that would come to get food; she was always one of the last to go through, and she always asked if she could take more than what was being offered. Anything and everything that was “extra” she wanted. I remember getting annoyed that she always wanted more.
When COVID forced us to move to a drive-thru distribution, we had to change many of our old practices. We could no longer allow people to come up and go through the extra boxes of produce so I thought, “at least we won’t have that problem anymore.”
We were at the end of distribution, 11:30 came around and I walked out to set a cone at the end of the line. At the end of the day, you have to walk that cone because the line continues to move. This particular day, she was the last car in line and I admit I dreaded having to be there because I just knew that she was going to ask me for more and I felt that I had a “grudging heart.”
As I walked the line, she and I chatted and she started to tell me her story. The fact that she came as a refugee, that she has children with disabilities, that she has a PhD, that she ran an orphanage, that she goes into homeless camps and feeds as many people as she can, and so much more.
Listening to her, to all the hardship she has lived through, I could not help but notice that our stories have many similarities. Through it all, we focus on the fact that God has blessed us in so many ways and that he has made it possible for us to bless others. I thank God every day that I am at a church that gives generously -- that I was led to this church as a volunteer and that I found a church family that supports me and helps me reach, nourish, and serve the community.
About Jhenny Michalek Jhenny is the Director of our Food Pantry and sings in the Praise Band. She is a first-generation immigrant from El Salvador and is happily married to Frank, and they have four (almost adult) children.