Time for a long overdue update! We have indeed started making soup for the fall season. In Zec 4:10 it says: “ Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin,” and that is the motto around Gleanings the last couple of weeks! We have taken a little extra time between seasons this year, and starting back up has been a little slow. We have had some small groups, but have been able to accomplish much! We had some of more seasoned volunteers running peaches this week – right along with students from Hanford Christian School and a day group from 1st Presbyterian Bakersfield making soup. Talk about role reversals 🙂 Here are some pictures, enjoy and rejoice with us that the work has begun!
In Hebrews Paul encourages the saints to persevere – ” And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” – and that is what this last week of our summer has been all about. God has given us so many blessings multiplied through the years, and this summer has been no exception. We have been able to work so hard all summer long, but instead of checking out early and sliding into the break, it seems like we are working even harder if that is possible. The field is empty – all the peaches have been dried. The stacks of trays are being put away for the winter – even the sulfur tunnels are emptied and cleaned. On top of all that – we are putting in a 100 foot pad of cement for truck to turn around – getting the ground ready for a cement pour. We are cleaning out the silos we brought – getting them ready for use with truckloads of rice. We are removing some dead trees from the property – even deep cleaning some of the plant equipment. Way to go team! Thanks to all of our volunteers from the Portland, OR area, our mission builders and all our staff for finishing strong!
I want to show you some pictures – glimpses of what a great week we had last week. However, looking at these pictures one might start wondering what is so great about them. They are nice quality pictures, sure – but there’s nothing there that stands out as really different from what we did all the previous weeks of summer. Nothing that pops. The fact is even though they say a picture is worth a thousand words -even words fall short of the life-changing power of the presence of God. We planned worship and a guest speaker during our love feast celebration dinner on Friday evening as is our practice during the summer. We put out special decorations. We prepare a special meal. We even have special lighting and ambiance for the festivities. We do all this as a way to thank our volunteers for the week. Somehow in the midst of all of our plans and preparations, the Holy spirit starts marvelously touching people, ministering to them, changing lives. During worship I noticed a high school aged guy get down on his knees in worship, spontaneously worshipping the King of Kings. One of his friends joined him, sharing the moment. Beautiful. Then out of the corner of my eye, I notice the young adult next to me is actually crying. in moments I was witness to the fact that the Holy Spirit was ministering to this young man in the deep places of his soul. The pictures may not show it, but Summer can really be a fantastic time of ministry!
Working hard and serving others are part of life at Gleanings For The Hungry. Occasionally, we take those concepts on the road to impart into others. Recently, we packed up some peaches, and pictures, and went to Pasadena, CA to share the message of who we are and what we do, at the Christian Home Education Association (CHEA) conference. For three days we made friends and talked about sharing God’s love all around the world. Longtime friends and volunteers stopped by to chat, and soon they were telling passers-by their own experiences. There was a fun moment when two different long-time friends of Gleanings were at the booth and met for the first time.
In June, we also loaded up everything needed to package dried soup mix and took it to a Vacation Bible School. First Presbyterian Church in Bakersfield, CA invited us last year; it went so well they REALLY wanted us to come back a second year. The kids are so cute, and the opportunity to share the simple message of serving Christ while serving others was too great to pass up.
God is so faithful, and his abundance is evident. So often we brag on God’s abundance in terms of the amount of ingredients donated, or the volume of soup produced during a week. We have been noticing His abundance and blessings in our midst in various other ways as well: Just look at all of those young people here as summer staff! Our summer staff program is alive and well! These interns are faithfully running peach plant operations, and ministering to teams as they come to work. We got some candid pictures of a few of our summer staff last week. Clearly hard work is not the only thing that goes on around here!
The teams that came and served this week were from Eastern Oregon all the way down the Pacific Coast to San Diego, CA. What a great mixture of people, talent, work, fun and ministry! Every week there have been some testimonies of people being healed, and set free while they are here. Over 500 bins of fresh fruit were processed this week, as well as 163,000 servings of soup mix!
We just wanted to share some peach pictures! Yes we are in summer peach season, and oh the peaches are beautiful. We are busy with teams coming, long summer days, and did I mention peaches?