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Why not start the month of May with beautiful people and beautiful weather, serving the Lord at Gleanings? We were so blessed to have Wilshire Avenue Community Church (Anaheim, CA) and short and long-term volunteers from Nebraska, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington, Arizona, Idaho, British Colombia, India, Taiwan, and Switzerland.

Over 1,360,000 servings of soup packed, and 10 quilts completed just this week! Thank you Jesus!


Although she has been blind for 10 years, Shirley Kroeze was determined to use her artistic gifts to help the needy. She completed ten quilt tops on her sewing machine at home and brought them here to assemble, finish, and tie. She came all the way from Nebraska to work in the quilt room with her sister, and she had a very special gift to give.

How do you sew quilts if you cannot see? Shirley made the quilts by touch, carefully adding safety pins to know when to stop sewing. 

The finished quilts were on display at the Love Feast, and it was a very special moment to see her express the love that she put into the beautiful quilts. 


“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

This week at Love Feast, our weekly thank-you dinner for our volunteers, guest speaker Tony Gschwend reminded us that even though we want an immediate answer to prayer and we want to feel better after we pray, we might not get what we want. The Lord knows what we need even more than we do. 

“Don’t say, ‘Lord, give me the goods. Lord, give me the gifts.’ But go to the one who is the giver of good gifts. Cling to the person—that person is Jesus Christ our Lord. Then we will have great satisfaction in this life and the life to come.”

Tony pointed to volunteer Russell Rigg, who still comes to serve at Gleanings at age 99, and said, “Isn’t it a great quality of life to serve the Lord Jesus for many years of life?” 

Later, when asked to share a word of wisdom with a younger generation, Russell Rigg said, “God is there all the time, in every need that we have. He’s done that for me my whole life. It’s so precious to have complete dependency on the Lord. The Lord has taken care of us all along, and he will continue to do so.”

Even at age 99, Russell comes to Gleanings with his wife, Carole, to serve in the soup plant twice a year, and they plan to return in October to serve again. 

“[Gleanings] is a great place to fly up like an eagle on higher spheres,” Tony said. “Problems look much smaller as we connect with our God.”


El Roy and Joyce Pankow brought a team of 47 people from the Fullerton area to volunteer at Gleanings this week. El Roy’s vision is to have as many people as possible experience the blessing of volunteering with family members—what he calls intergenerational mission trips. 

“I was a peach picker as a kid,” El Roy said. “We had a ring to measure the fruit, and we threw away the peaches that were too big or too small.” 

When El Roy heard about the Gleanings ministry, he was immediately drawn to it because those same peaches he had seen wasted were now being put to good use to feed the hungry of the world.

El Roy is a pastor and a professional musician. He played piano on Christian cruise ships for many years and accompanied Bob Shepherd for many years. His first trip to Gleanings was 10 years ago, and now he comes as many times as he can, bringing people of all ages to serve the Lord together.


What did our volunteers have to say this week?

“Thank you, God, for getting me here.” 

“I’ve learned that there is so much to share and so much to learn about each other.”

“We might say we are ordinary, but we are not. We are extraordinary in our love of God.”

“God has given his spirit here in such an unusual way.”

“I felt [peace] right when I made that left turn in here.”

“A place like Gleanings is different because you are here truly for the Lord.”

“He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeing you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” Deuteronomy 8:3