LOVE LOOKS LIKE SOMETHING
These words hung momentarily in the air as I processed them, when our director, Fritz, spoke. It’s not just a feeling; you can see it.
I saw it this week in the Solana Beach/ Rancho Bernardo team. Solana Beach has been coming here to serve since 2002, and has presented us with over 300 quilt tops made at their church. Their dedication and hard work this week has resulted in 23 finished quilts!
I saw it when a truck from Canada brought us a load of peas for our soup, and when a man who sometimes volunteers here stopped by to load up his pick-up with food to take to Mexico. And, there it was again this Thursday morning when 31 homeschoolers showed up and dumped products all day for the soup. And, how else can a life like Fred and Margie Stocks, who shared at our Love Feast, be explained? They were missionaries for 40 years in Pakistan.
I see love in our dedicated staff who commit to serve here, not deterred, in spite of the trials and challenges of life they must navigate. One of them, Norma, joined the Magdalene Project on Valentine’s Day, and some volunteers here at Gleanings helped them by preparing bags of toiletries, Bibles, and treats to pass out to the homeless in Visalia. One woman who received a bag said that her husband had passed away a week- ago and she didn’t think she’d ever get a valentine again.
Yes, love looks like many things here at Gleanings. It looks like the hundreds of faces that come here every year to serve and support feeding hungry people in this broken world.
THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD
98 years old and still serving the Lord here at Gleanings! Russ and Carole have been coming here to Gleanings 10 years now. Russ will be celebrating his 99th birthday next month. Last night at our Love Feast, Russ shared memories of a long- life walking with the Lord: World War II, the loss of his first wife, and God’s goodness and mercies. Our shepherd leads us in times of blessings and in the hard times. God redeems it all. Russ, you are an inspiration to us all!
Thank you, Grace Bible Church for helping to prepare over a million servings of soup this week. As I walked around the base, I could hear the sounds of hammering coming from our tray shed as they repaired our broken trays to use for our summer fruit. You were a blessing! A truck went out to Convoy of Hope and a container to Guatemala’s Hope of the Nations.
Hope of the Nations is another Gleanings story of how our Shepherd leads us. More than 8 years ago, Eric and Lisa Rivera came to Gleanings to do a Discipleship Training School (DTS). On their outreach to Guatemala, God revealed to Eric that he would one day serve this country. After 8 years working in our Procurement Dept. (Eric) and Finance Dept. (Lisa), they knew the time had come to move to Guatemala and fulfill God’s calling for them there. Now, a little over a year later, they are feeding over 28,000 children a day!
It’s a bright and sunny day here with pink blossoms lining our street and snow- capped mountains. One of those moments when nature reminds us of our faithful shepherd.
GREAT IS YOUR FAITHFULNESS
Spring is slow in coming to California this year. The trees have announced its arrival with their beautiful blossoms, but the cold and rain won’t let go of their grip.
Nevertheless, He is faithful! His work never wavers here at Gleanings. Last night at our Love Feast, Agnes Wolfe, a pioneer of Gleanings, shared memories and pictures of its early beginnings. Sometimes we need to go back and see where we’ve come from and remember the great things God has done. And, so in our own lives too.
A report from the warehouse and the soup plant this week: a truck to Convoy of Hope with 41,969 lbs. of soup, lots of potatoes dumped and readied for use, 1.3 million servings of soup prepared, and one mouse caught.
A few days ago, Rod said good bye to the grader and loaded it up for its trek home again: ”Farewell old friend”. It’s been here at Gleanings for 4 years now, a loan from a construction company owner, Brett Wells. Originally lent to us so we could prepare our field for the drying fruit, it has stayed around and blessed us again and again with the many projects here on the base. Brett is just one example of the many people who sow into this ministry that are hidden from view, except to God. I think also of a lady close to 90 years old who has sewed almost 500 quilt tops at her home. Others have worked at home to find product donations for us. And how could we exist without our faithful financial contributors, or all the people praying for this ministry? We thank all who serve us without recognition or reward. We know that there is One who sees.
“THE JOY OF THE LORD IS YOUR STRENGTH” Neh. 8:10
All this week in our prayer time, worship, and sharing, God has been reminding us that “The joy of the Lord is our strength!” Along with His joy, He also gives us plenty of fun and laughter here at Gleanings. Consider picture #1: Four clueless men by the forklift. Does anybody know how to get gas in this thing? Picture #2: Backpackers modeling purple hats in the quilt room. Are you ready for this?
Here at Gleanings we invite backpackers to come and serve with us. We call them backpackers, but they really are young people who are traveling around the world. These past couple of weeks we have had backpackers from France, Brazil, UK, Ecuador, Korea, Argentina, Peru, and Chili. This week our backpackers have worked hard on our sewer system, fixed bikes, and built display tables for our store. Three of the men wandered into our quilt room wanting sewing lessons, (which, of course, we were eager to give them); and when they shared their travel plans to go to the mountains for the weekend, we pulled out box of homemade hats made for the homeless. They then proceeded to model them for us, and we could hardly stop laughing. “It’s like home here”, one of our backpackers commented, as she tried to share with me that she has been spiritually impacted by her time here. We thank god for each one He has brought to us, and look forward to the ones He will bring in future.
In our soup plant, this week’s crew assembled ½ million servings of soup in one day! And last week’s crew assembled 2 million servings of food. Wow! Along with all that, a truck for Ukraine. So, thank you Lord for the laughter and fun, but most of all, thank you for your joy.
OUR HANDS ARE HIS HANDS
It was a full week here at Gleanings. In our quilt-room we hustled to finish 50 quilts for babies and children to put on the Haiti container soon to go out. What fun it was designing and sewing for these little ones! And what a privilege to bless them in this way.
Four shipments of soup and dried fruit rolled out our gates this past week to South Africa, Mexico, Convoy of Hope, and Syria. The container for Syria had over a million servings of soup, and has a unique story. The idea send a container of food into war-torn Syria was birthed by Israel Food Outreach, a Jewish Messianic organization with a presence here and in Israel. As God’s Spirit moved their hearts, they went to work partnering with Gleanings for soup and raising the funds for shipping to Israel. But, getting container into Syria is no easy task and God needed to open some big doors. And He did!
The government of Israel agreed to suspend inspections and red tape to help facilitate the container rapidly to Syria. (Now that’s something we probably won’t hear about on the nightly news). Channels of distribution will be through local hospitals and Israel Flying Aid contacts.
As we prepared to send this container, the founder of Israel Food Outreach, Dudley Goff, shared what God had laid on his heart, ”Our hands are His hands”.
“It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:36
Nine years ago, God gave Wes and Judy Wick a vision for people in the second half of their life. That vision is now a ministry called YES (Young Enough to Serve). Their motto: “Make life’s second half count”; and here they are, once again, at Gleanings for the Hungry doing just that! One of them shared why, “I love knowing that something I do is going to help another”.
As we anticipated the return of our directors, Fritz and Cindy Meier, with the Haiti team, I wondered what their hearts would have to share after ten days in an impoverished country. Fritz’s message to us on Wednesday morning was about “the joy of giving”. Have you ever noticed that God’s kingdom principles are upside down? And what brings us joy and blessings is not getting, but giving?
Looking around here at Gleanings I see That this is bigger than just the soup we make; all over the base people are giving what they can: their time, skills, resources, friendship, and sometimes just a listening ear, all unto the one who gave it all for us.