I believe in miracles!
by Jacob Juncker
I believe in miracles. I think they happen all the time, every day. It’s just that we are not always in tune to what God is doing around us.
It was late summer, when a friend and member of the church I lead suggested that we pack meals for the feeding programs of Mission Guatemala. We met with our good friends at Our Saviour Lutheran Church (who went on the mission trip with us to Guatemala) and began planning. I wasn’t really expecting a miracle with this program, Christ United Methodist Church had just welcomed back a mission team and wrapped up one of its largest mission projects in recent history with the Farm Mission. I was worried about donor fatigue, but was confident we’d get community support to make this project a nominal success.
The planning team met for several months. To be quite honest, I was beginning to feel that we would not meet our fundraising goal of $20,000 which would serve some 80,000 malnourished and/or starving children in our area and the world. And, then God strung together a series of events that raised our community’s awareness and primed the pump for the Spirit to work a miracle among us.
On November 13, 2011, members of Christ United Methodist Church were encouraged, for the first time, to begin collecting quarters throughout the season of Advent for the (hopefully) annual Greater Lafayette Kids Against Hunger Packing Event.
On November 20, Larry Moore, executive director of Kids Against Hunger (Greenwood Satellite), visited both churches (Christ UMC and Our Saviour) to promote the Event, providing us with an opportunity to sample the packets we would hopefully be packing to distribute in the Greater Lafayette area and around the world.
On November 27, the first Sunday of Advent, I was privileged to offer a sermon to the gracious folks of Christ United Methodist Church, which challenged everyone to define necessity this Christmas. Everyone was asked to consider spending as much on Christ as they did on their family and friends during the Christmas season. It was amazing to witness people responding and stepping forward to offer half their Christmas celebration to Christ.
On January 15, I was able to report what God had done through the amazing people of Christ United Methodist Church, Our Saviour Lutheran Church, and the community. God had provided approximately $22,500 through the generosity of individuals, partner churches, and corporate sponsors. But, there was a snag. The lift on the delivery truck didn’t work. Again, God met our need by providing some 70 people (youth and adults) to manually unload the truck that evening at First UMC (luckily the lift worked). Many hands DO make light work! Having finished setting up early, the youth of Christ UMC were able to pack over 1000 meals that night.
As I look back on how God had provided up to the event, I stood in awe. Little did I know that the miracle was just beginning….
The next day, on January 16, 2012, we welcomed over 350 volunteers, working in 4 shifts, to pack nearly 92,500 meals. Half of the meals (over 46,000) were distributed to local food banks and programs, and the other half will be sent to Rev. Tom Heaton at Mission Guatemala.
The response to the Greater Lafayette Kids Against Hunger Packing Event has been and, even two weeks later, continues to be overwhelming. God worked a miracle through the people who donated their time and money. I can’t thank them enough. And, I can’t wait to see what God will continue to do through them as they continue to take Jesus’ command to “feed my sheep” literally.
Miracles do happen. We, as individuals and communities, just have to be willing to perform them, relying wholly upon God’s infinite grace and strength! I was privileged to learn that lesson through this amazing, miraculous event.
WITNESSING THE MIRACLE
These pictures were taken by Steve McClatchey and Rev. Will Peugeot.
Christ United Methodist Church (Lafayette, IN) and Our Saviour Lutheran Church (West Lafayette) are discerning whether or not to continue this event in the future. They are also considering becoming a satellite which would enable them equip others (individuals, communities and corporations) to host their own packing events. If you have any feedback from the event or would like to help with Kids Against Hunger (Greater Lafayette) in the future, feel free to comment below and I’ll make sure it gets passed along.