It was a shorter week, as we had Easter Monday off, and teams arrived and settled in on Monday instead of Sunday. It was such a pleasure to serve alongside Shepherd Church Agua Dulce (Acton, CA), Riverside Mandarin Baptist Church (Riverside, CA), and Gateway Bible Church (Los Gatos, CA), and other short and long-term volunteers, including backpackers from China, France, Germany, and South Korea.
With the help of all our volunteers, we packed up 1,355,059 servings of soup in four days, and completed 20 beautiful quilts!
On Wednesday, April 19, Mission Without Borders picked up a shipment of soup to be distributed to ministries in Moldova, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Albania, Bosnia, and Herzegovina.
“Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:39
For the past month, we have had the amazing Bill and Vicki Morris from Salem, Oregon as our cooks for lunch and afternoon snack.
“The Lord is calling us to sell our beach house,” Vicki shared in chapel right when they got here. “The beach house we built in 2011, that I designed and picked out every item in the build. So the house is on the market, waiting for the buyer God has prepared.”
Bill and Vicki are retired. They thought retirement was going to look like sitting at their beach house, watching the waves every night. But one night, when she was watching the waves, she heard the prompting from the Lord to sell the house. Vicki and Bill chose to let go of that retirement dream and pursue a retirement where they can “share the love of God.”
“The Lord is calling us into more full-time ministry,” Vicki says. “We love serving with other like-minded believers in community, being the hands and feet of Jesus.”
Bill and Vicki have been serving at Gleanings since 2008. They first came to the base to visit their missionary friends, to see what ministry they were supporting. Since then, their friends left Gleanings, but Bill and Vicki keep coming—in fact, they come for two months in the fall and two months in the spring every year.
“We make a difference in people’s lives with every 8 oz serving of soup, the hug from a quilt, other items donated. We minister to others around the world from our little base.”
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:12-13
Praise the Lord for his faithful servants!
THE GRAND CANYON
Gleanings hosts backpackers from around the world. We get to meet so many fun, adventurous people from all over the globe. This weekend, several backpackers and a few staff members took a trip to the Grand Canyon for spring break. How amazing is God’s creation?
“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.” Psalm 150:6
A big thank you to Faith Harvest Helpers (Olympia, WA) and Compass Church (Salinas, CA) for serving here with us this week. Thank you to our Mission Builders, backpackers, and day groups! We packed up over 410,000 servings of soup, unpacked and emptied lots of donated products, and completed 8 quilts, in addition to the 60 quilt tops and 2,500 squares cut over the past two weeks!
Maureen is a homeschool mom from Reedley, a town next to Dinuba, who regularly brings her two sons (ages 7 and 2) to serve at Gleanings as part of their homeschool experience.
She heard about Gleanings from her husband, CJ, who grew up in a farming family in the area. “I bring my boys every week because they look forward to coming,” Maureen says. “As a family, we have enjoyed working alongside different people towards the common goal of serving others who may not have access to what we have here in the US.”
You might think that a two-year-old boy would not want to do something like this, but Maureen has found Gleanings to be a good fit for her family. “Although it is challenging to work with a toddler, people have been gracious to us, which has allowed us to keep coming back.”
In addition to enhancing her children’s homeschool experience through service opportunities, Maureen wants to teach her children to help those who are struggling. When her large family migrated to the US from the Philippines when she was 11 years old, they struggled at times. “God provided for us during some hard years, and I feel very blessed to be able to see His hand working throughout our lives.”
But her time here at Gleanings is not just for her boys. It is for Maureen as well. “God has used our time at Gleanings to shift my focus away from the desire for self-preservation, so I can live my life for him.” Maureen and her family hope to join a DTS with YWAM this year, and we all pray for the Lord to bless and guide them in their next adventure.
A TIME OF SHARING
Every week at Gleanings, we spend our last chapel together with a time of sharing and a song of blessing.
Here are a few of the words that were spoken by volunteers this week:
“Yes, we have to walk through the hard stuff, but he promises, ‘I will renew your strength every morning.’”
“The spirit of serving, the spirit of giving, is so wonderful.”
“Walk in God’s truth all the time.”
“You realize that time is short. You realize that you need to be bold.”
RESURRECTION IS COMING, RESURRECTION IS HERE
“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.’ ” John 11:25
JESUS, THANK YOU FOR YOUR PASSION
Holy Week. Passion Week. It is the time of year to reflect on new life, new beginnings, new hope.
And yet, as we reflected this week with Eliane as she shared in chapel, something must die in order for there to be a harvest.
“Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” John 12:24
Thank you Jesus for what you have done and continue to do for us, even in our pain, brokenness, and loss. You are the hope of Easter, the hope of our lives.
Please say a special prayer for Eliane Erickson as she approaches one year of life without her husband Randy. We know the Lord will give her the strength and joy that she needs, but we still ask for you to go to Jesus on her behalf.
STORIES OF FAITHFULNESS
“Who is like you, Lord God Almighty? You, Lord, are mighty, and your faithfulness surrounds you.” Psalm 89:8
This week at Gleanings we meditated on what this verse means–the idea that God’s faithfulness surrounds him. Where the Lord is, there is his faithfulness.
We are so thankful for God’s faithfulness! Two trucks and a few other shipments went out this week, with 1,056,240 servings of soup headed to Ukraine and roughly 750,000 servings of soup and 10,500 pounds of other donated food products headed to El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, and the Philippines with the help of our partner ministry Convoy of Hope.
Thank you to all of our volunteers who helped pack up even more soup, totaling about one million servings! The evidence will be the aroma of garlic and onion powder in your luggage when you get home, but the blessings will follow you too.
A special thanks to First Baptist Riverside, Shepherd of the Sierra, Aiding Children’s Villages, Inspire Charter Schools, Home Educator Resource Center, and backpackers from France and Germany.
Thank you to the ladies in the quilt room, the men in the workshop, men and women in the kitchen, and everyone who worked all over the base. God bless each one of you.
Does Jesus not continue, even today, to multiply the food and feed the crowds as he did in the gospels? Jesus said, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father,” John 14:12. How exciting to be a part of this miracle: feeding the hungry and sharing the message of God’s love.
CONVOY OF HOPE
Our Thursday night guest speaker at Love Feast was Bob, one of the truck drivers from Convoy of Hope.
Convoy of Hope serves about 160,000 meals a day, in addition to providing shoes, haircuts, and hygiene to people in need. Partnering with Gleanings makes sense as a way to get nutritious food to many people. In addition to delivering Gleanings’ food to El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, and the Philippines, Convoy of Hope is right there to provide disaster relief in the United States.
When Bob was young, his family was on Welfare. He went into the foster care system, and eventually a boy’s home. Years later, he married, and his wife’s family introduced him to Jesus.
After a terrible back injury, he had back surgery and was told that he was bound for a wheelchair. Miraculously, God completely healed Bob’s back, and he went back to work driving trucks.
Bob and his wife found Convoy of Hope in 2006, and have lived and served there ever since. “We knew we needed to help people–and listen to God,” Bob said. “My kids tell me, ‘You’re 77, you need to retire.’ I tell them, ‘Well, I’ll take that into consideration’ . . . We are just busy blessing people, but we’re only able to feed when we’ve got volunteers like you all.”
Cindy, a certified reflexology therapist, thought she was going to pack up soup this week, but God gave her the idea to serve the staff by providing reflexology, a very detailed foot and/or facial massage.
Cindy and her husband, Dennis, are from Saskatchewan, Canada. They first heard about Gleanings from Ron Wagner, who led Dennis to Christ, and their response was, “I want to be a part of that.”
The peach plant was Cindy’s first Gleanings experience, back in 2014, but this year she and Dennis decided to return during the soup season. “I came expecting to do the soup,” Cindy said, “But God laid it on my heart that I should be offering treatments . . . to serve the people who serve so many.”
Cindy was so encouraged to see that her gift was well received, and that she was able to provide the full time missionaries with a therapeutic treatment they would otherwise never be able to afford.
“It’s OK to listen and follow and not know why. God will show you the rest of the story as it unfolds,” Cindy said.
God is one that surprises us, and loves in ways we might never expect. He knows what we need, and he loves so perfectly.
Gleanings Director Fritz Meier requests for you to pray with us. Please pray for wisdom as we try to do more than just give food to people in need; we want to empower individuals to be self sufficient. What will that look like? How can we make that happen? “We have the right hearts–but we need God’s direction,” Fritz said.
“The heavens are yours, and yours also the earth; you founded the world and all that is in it.” Psalm 89:11
With 1,542,888 servings of soup packed, this week’s volunteers more than doubled last week’s soup production! Praise Jesus!
“God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.” Hebrews 6:10
We have many people to thank for giving their time to serve the Lord here this week, including volunteers from Joyful Christian Community Church (Monrovia, CA), Bridgeway Christian Church (Granite Bay, CA), Country Cowboy Church (Sonora, CA), backpackers, and faithful Mission Builders. God bless each one of you.
A group from UC Davis called Davis Christian Fellowship arrived Tuesday, and you could feel the energy and enthusiasm from these college students who chose to serve at various missions organizations during spring break. They were more than ready to jump right in. Thank you!
You know when someone works so hard that they seem to be everywhere at once? That’s Peggy. Her sweet spirit and endless energy continually bless everyone around her. She is 74 years old, with 2 sons, 4 grandchildren, and 2 great-grandchildren. When the people in the RV next to her told her about Gleanings, seven years ago in Yosemite, she decided to check it out, and she has returned many times since.
If you watch her for just a day, you will see that Peggy has the gift of seeing something that needs to be done and doing it with excellence. She serves in the kitchen at Gleanings with all her heart, working quickly and efficiently. “I don’t feel old,” she says. “I have two good hands, and I’m going to use them.”
Peggy loves to travel, and she knows God has called her to travel in her RV at this time in her life. “I don’t make any plans,” she says. “I’ve learned that if I make a plan, God’s got the eraser.” She has been listening to the Lord and obeying, going wherever he leads.
Mission Builders International RV Associates is a YWAM group that travels from one base to another in RVs, helping out as needed, and Peggy just joined this group of Mission Builders. Their motto is “Don’t Retire, Refire,” which is exactly what Peggy is doing. Wherever she goes, she will bring a bright smile and a great attitude as she serves.
PRAYERS FOR FOOD EN ROUTE
Three trucks with a total of 2,615,000 servings of soup and many pallets of dried fruit and quilts went out this week; two are headed to Haiti and one to South Africa. In the shipments to Haiti, Gleanings is sending concrete mixers, generators, other hardware, and computers to Mission of Grace Orphanage and The Church of Bible Understanding.
These trucks and supplies have been covered in prayer! Please continue to pray for the transportation and transitions to run smoothly, and for the people who will receive the food and supplies. Praise God for his wonderful work.
How amazing and encouraging is it to hear prayers go up to the Lord in all different languages? As we prayed for the 3 trucks that went out this week, we heard many prayers in Korean; there were 20 Korean volunteers here this week. We praise God for the beautiful diversity of his faithful ones!
GOD’S BEAUTIFUL CREATION
Spring is certainly making its appearance in between the March showers. We had many dragonflies emerging from nymph stage near the water source on base, which was great entertainment for everyone here, and a visual reminder of God’s perfect design for his creation.
“Let all creation rejoice before the Lord, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his faithfulness.” Psalm 96:13
Thank you so much for your prayers and support of the Gleanings for the Hungry ministry.
Another wonderful week at Gleanings, with about 700,000 servings of soup processed and 26 quilts sewn!
Familiar faces are always an encouragement to missionaries and their families! We were blessed to have a visit from Jim and Ralene Stine, Charity, and little William. The Stine family used to be on staff here at Gleanings, and as the saying goes, “People don’t stay away from Gleanings long.”
Volunteers this week included a team from Centerpoint/Bayside Church, students from Cal Baptist University, long and short term mission builders, and backpackers from around the world.
Josy, from Paris, France, is one backpacker who has brightened our community here with her smile and work ethic. Originally from Madagascar, Josy knows what starvation and hunger looks like. “In Madagascar, I saw starvation daily. Kids are abandoned on the streets. There are orphanages, but not enough room for all the kids.”
Josy had the opportunity to take 8 months off work, and she chose to come to Gleanings all the way from France. “I want to give back and make sure that someone else will have food …It might just be a drop in the bucket, but still, it’s worth it.”
As Josy puts it, “I know what starvation looks like, and I know what abundance looks like.” She has seen and lived the Gleanings’ motto, “Our abundance, their need.”
Like many volunteers, it is hard for Josy to put into words what she has experienced at Gleanings. “I came here to volunteer. But there is another dimension to the whole thing. It is a spiritual retreat. I feel so peaceful here. It’s something I cannot describe.” Josy plans to return to Gleanings this summer with her whole family to serve in the peach plant.
At Love Feast, YWAM legends Stan and Nancy Bracy blessed us with this reminder: walking with the Lord looks like “Listening and Obeying.” The Bracys were missionaries with YWAM back when Corrie ten Boom was speaking at YWAM events. Their DTS was in Munich, Germany. At the time, they were newly married, and they evangelized in the streets during the Olympics. It is always encouraging to hear stories of God’s faithfulness and the rich history of YWAM!
GIFTS AND TALENTS
Nancy also gifted some staff members free haircuts as part of her service here this week. She called her little station outside the dining hall “The Chilly Beauty Shop,” since we had nice cool breeze.
Cynthia Herrmann is another example of a servant who is listening and obeying the Lord with how she can serve at Gleanings. Cynthia, a homeschool mom and CPA, felt the Lord nudge her to offer her expertise to the Gleanings staff. It was a week of numbers and signing tax papers for many of us here. What a blessing to have Cynthia helping out, using her gifts and talents–and most of all, to know her faithfulness in praying for the staff all year round.
Gleanings signed a solar contract this week! God gave us the sun and we are going to get solar panels, which makes perfect sense when you live in a sunny climate and have a lot of space. Now we wait on the Lord for the funds. We have complete faith that the Lord will provide the $100,000 needed to get started with installation. Please continue to pray for the next steps: funds–including grants–and permits.
“For you have been a stronghold to the poor, a stronghold to the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat … ” Isaiah 25:4
Thank you Jesus!
Whatever you do, work heartily as for the Lord and not for men. (Col. 3:23)
What a blessing to start our week here at Gleanings with Vanguard University’s Woman’s Chorus! Gleanings own Kaleigh Lawrence was part of it, and the reason we were so blessed to have them. They joyfully blended their beautiful voices in song and praise to our Lord and Savior. Wow!
Another blessing this week was King Road Youth Ministries. We love having groups that create an environment of enthusiasm like this group did. All the way from Canada, they went to work with energy washing buckets (summer’s coming), cleaning up bathrooms and our recycle pile, as well as preparing soup.
And, I saw “Bob the Builder” working hard all over the base this week, putting up new siding on our staff housing, renovating our gift shop, and pouring cement for our fumigation system.
One reason I love Gleanings is that I know the hard work here touches the heart of God in a special way. Someone commented at prayer this morning that “Gleanings is all about the poor”. One scripture that has always given me pause is Matt. 25:40, “Whatever you did for the least of these brothers and sisters you were doing it to me.” There’s His heart. He so cares about the poor and powerless of this world that He makes their sufferings His own. Mother Teresa put it in an interesting way when she described the poor: “Each one of them, ” she said, “is Jesus in disguise.”