As are all churches in our connection, Flat Rock UMC has been doing all we can to support our brothers and sisters ravaged by the storms of this season in North Carolina. The overwhelming needs seemed like too much, and the burden has been heavy on our hearts. So, when a faithful couple contacted me about donating some ‘gently used’ furniture I emailed Jin Lee in the District Office who informed us that there was a specific family they were working with that had lost everything. After a week or so of communication and coordination, donations poured forth including a washer and dryer, towels, dishes, flatware, lamps, bedding and a cross to hang on the wall. Two Faithful men in our congregation agreed to collect items from various locations, load them on a trailer, and make the long trek from Henderson to Laurinburg for delivery.
Some of us, when overwhelmed with the needs of others, just don’t know where to begin. Our hearts want to help everyone, but this is not always possible. I am grateful that the Heritage District has offered us many ways to serve. In this instance, we helped one family out of thousands in need. I like to call it Starfish Ministry, after the tale about the boy who, after a storm had beached thousands of starfish, threw them one by one back into the ocean, determined to make a difference to at least one.
We found the home where we were met by a family member who opened the house for us. Full discloser: I, like many of you, have responded to various needs over the years and as a pastor new to this church I was hoping and praying that the needs of this family were genuine. I mean, a lot of people in our small community went the extra mile for this! Secretly, I dreaded walking in to a home whose needs had already been met! This was an eight hour plus round trip and days of coordination – it needed to be fruitful! Full of faith, huh?
We entered a home that was truly empty. A mother and four children were sleeping on makeshift pallets on the floor with sheets serving as privacy curtains. The gentleman who met us for delivery was the children’s grandfather, and, as most of you grandfathers do, bragged on the character, academic and athletic success of his eldest grandson: a six feet tall, 200 pound eighth grader. “Whew!” I thought, “I am glad this furniture is supersized!” The couch was so big that our tiny team had to remove the front door to get it in the house!
The way these needs were met was truly an orchestration of God. Not only did we bring a needed oversized couch and chair, a like-new washer and dryer to save money on dreaded trips to laundromats, but each item donated by our individuals and families coordinated perfectly with every other item! You would have thought that Martha Stewart was behind the whole deal – but, no, it is the Master Designer who is behind it, in front of it, and surrounding it – beginning to end.