That winter, I took a class and met a lady who asked me to help her teach a women’s bible study. I told her I did not think that I was the right choice; after all, I did not know a lot and could not remember verses verbatim. She insisted that I help her facilitate the studies and after she explained that we would prepare ahead of time and go over what was needed, I agreed. I would not be teaching just helping, so this made me feel more comfortable. About two months later, the pastor got up and spoke about how God called him to “feed his people the word.” A light bulb went off and I thought maybe that is what he meant. Well, you guessed it, I decided to continue the studies even after the other person left. It was during this time that I worked harder than ever to understand God’s word. I also made a lot of contacts with some wonderful people and learned to trust him.
While doing this women’s bible study, one of the things that I did was make a small lunch for the ladies. This gave us a chance to fellowship after the class. I enjoyed this fellowship time; it gave us some time to get to know each other so that we could help each other spiritually. During this phase of my training, He taught me how to pray aloud and not be afraid to speak up on His behalf. I was learning to listen more and assume less. I was asked to do a feeding ministry for those who were sick, had a death in the family or for some other reason could use a little help preparing meals. This time I prayed about it and asked God what he wanted me to do. He answered, and I started doing a meal ministry. Almost from the beginning, God laid it on my heart to have a small pantry so that those who wanted to help but because of budget restrictions could not, could go to this pantry and get something to help fix for the meals. It was a small tote and a tiny freezer for some meats and loaves of bread. That was my first experience with a pantry.
As this went on, I got to know some wonderful folks, one of which called me one morning about 6 am and told me, “We are starting a food pantry.” She was going to get a meeting with one of the pastors so that we could talk to him about it. I told her that I did not have time. I already had 2 ministries, the ladies’ bible study, and the meal ministry, and since I did not know anything about food pantries, I was not qualified. She told me that I was going to help her. I finally agreed and told her, “I will help you get it started, but I will not run it.” I think back to this and I like to visualize Jesus smiling, shaking his head while thinking, “I know what I have in store for you.”
We had the meeting, and they found a place for us to put the pantry, but it would be up to us to get the funding to run it. The church helped by taking up donations for the pantry. We walked into a building that had not been used in almost 12 yrs. The electric was not functioning, mostly because of the many hanging and dangling lines, the ceiling tiles were black with mold, the front room was covered in carpet that was coated in black mold and mildew. The tiles were so old and dry they were curled, and the walls were black with mold. It was a mess and needed a lot of elbow grease to get it started. Several folks from the church came out and helped us to get a great jump start to the job. We started in February 2016 and opened our doors on January 30th of 2017.