Williamsburg's Homeless & Indigent

P.O. Box 366, Lightfoot, VA 23090
Office: 757-561-3255
"Assisting people in re-gaining hope and a better way of life."

Friday, July 02, 2004

A Gift From Ben

In the past I have spoken about Thumper and his food ministry, "A Gift From Ben", in Williamsburg. Recently I caught word that his ministry was being turn away from the church that sponsored him. This floored me because Thumper serves over 3500 lbs of food weekly to people who need assistance due to low pay wages, living in a weekly motel or those who are homeless. During church the other week, while I was taking notes from the Pastor's sermon, I stopped and wrote this for the papers instead. They finally printed it and yes I ended up with the answer of why they were turning his ministry away. Two of the reasons I can not say because it is personal (but not bad.)The other two reasons I find to be concerning: 1) the church feels it is not a ministry being for the efforts of Christ but more in the remembrance of Thumper's deceased son, Ben; 2) they want to focus more on future Christians between the ages of 25-40 who (as they say) are somewhat educated by putting efforts toward their coffee house "Common Ground." "Yes, I know there are people in Williamsburg who are in need of food, but it isn't focusing on the age group our mission's goal is about. On the days of the foodbank, people start lining up from the door and cover the parking lot at 1:00 PM. The foodbank doesn't open until 4:00 PM. With the parking lot full, nobody can get into the church." OK give me a break. I pray Thumper realizes, when people try to fight against your effort, it means you are doing something right. So, those of you in Williamsburg, rise up for Thumper and his efforts! Let's help him find another place for his food ministry. Write to the church JCC Church, 222 Monticello Ave, Wsmburg, VA 23185 or email Pastor Sam. Write to Virginia Gazette.

In Williamsburg there are several people, myself included, who spend their lives helping the poor and needy. We do this from our hearts and because of our love for God. Sadly, we are also either criticized, condemned, or rejected by the local community. This is a community that has "a church on every corner": churches that proclaim "God's love for the world". Why then would the community react this way to those of us who put that love into action? In my opinion, the members of these churches don't understand what God has done for them. Nor do they understand that we love and care for people who are in need specifically because of what God has done for us. Our actions shouldn't be challenged or hindered, because God loved us first and told us to pass His love along. For that reason, we love Him and share His love with others by helping them in their times of need. Those who try to keep us from helping people in need are challenging, hindering, and even neglecting God, not us. This may seem presumptuous, but, get out your Bibles and look up Matthew 25:34-46 and you will find the basis for this statement. There Jesus says, and I paraphrase, "If you helped others, you helped me. If you didn't help others, then you neglected me. If you helped others, welcome to heaven. What further motivation could you possibly need to assist our ministries and not hinder them?

Recently, Thumper and Heather Newman, our fellow laborers in Christ, were told that they needed to find a new location for their food distribution ministry "A Gift From Ben." Some local churches are contemplating providing a space for their ministry. But, I ask you, first of all, "Why is their home church turning them out?" And second, as Christians, "What's to consider? Why turn away one of God's ministries that's in need?" I Cor. 13:3,13 say, "If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing...And now these three remain, faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love." Three times a week, "A Gift From Ben" distributes copious amounts of food to people in need, including us, at times. So I ask you, "As a community of Christians, will you pray for God to open our collective hearts to help those in need? Will you pray for God to help us as a community to love one another as God loved us and gave Himself for us?" And if so, "Will you pray that God will lead our community to provide a place where people in need can find food (and love), assistance with housing (and love), guidance (and love), encouragement (and love)? Will you pray for God to teach you to love others?" God is calling. Will you answer? Or will you let the call roll over to "voice mail" and call back later with some excuse for why you didn't answer?


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