We want to share a story with you about Doña Elena (Ms.Elena). Doña Elena loves Jesus and loves people. She faithfully attended Iglesia de Dios in El Rincon, Honduras. Each week she would go out into her community and share the gospel and how God had changed her life. Everyone knew who she was and what she stood for. Many described her as one of the greatest evangelists to ever step foot in their community.
About two years ago, one of her grown children made some mistakes that were visible to the entire community. Elena carried the weight of her family's sins and was ashamed. She felt unworthy. She withdrew herself from her church family and no longer shared her faith publicly, but instead hid from those that loved her for fear of judgement.
We waited outside at the humble stick and barbed wire gate thinking no one was home and almost moving on to another home when a voice called out and said they would be there soon. A young mom with her baby graciously welcomed us in and we waited a few more minutes for Doña Elena to join us. When we presented the basket of food we had brought and explained our reason for the unexpected visit tears streamed from her face before she even began to speak.
God sent you here to show me it's okay, to remind me that everything is going to be fine, she said. She went on to tell us that week she had a sleepless night where she felt like the Lord wanted to speak to her, but she wasn't willing to listen. We listened quietly as she shared with us how she had been avoiding God and the church but that she knew the only way she would get through difficult situations is with God.
The next day was a special Christmas dinner that the pastors of the church cook each year for their congregation and you know who was there? Dona Elena walked back through the church doors that night with tears rolling down her smiling face. She knew she was loved, she knew she was welcomed and she knew she was worthy.
This is why we give out family food baskets. Yes, we want to fulfill the physical needs of the people with rice, beans, eggs, flour and much more, but it’s more about ministering to their spiritual needs, filling the emptiness within with the joy that we know only comes from Jesus.
We rely on the local church to select recipients both within the church and with the community. This allows us to minister and care for the church body and evangelize to the unchurched. It also directs those in the community to a local body of believers that they can get connected with.
Would you consider giving the gift of a family food basket this Christmas season?