There is strength in numbers.
The Bible in Ecclesiastes 4:12 talks about how though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
During my time in ministry here, this has become much more real in all aspects of the ministry. Yes! It’s easier when you have a crowd. Also when you have a community (beyond the people serving here but also the people supporting the ministry) that when a need presents itself, or a situation that needs a concerted effort, they are willing to jump in the fray and help meet that need.
Recently, a growing need here at B.C.E was for an industrial stove for our community kitchen. In a short amount of time, the money was raised to acquire a stove that attests to the community jumping in to meet the physical needs of our team here at B.C.E. (Kitchen should always be at the top of the list of priorities if you ask me 😉 ).
Ms. Shellie our head cook, has been cooking at B.C.E for 3 summers. She is a magician in the kitchen always whipping up the most delectable meals there can be. I haven’t had a bad meal in my time here. Ms. Shellie stands behind her kitchen counter with a grand smile always plastered about her face. Never in a bad mood except if you don’t eat her food or throw it away, then doom awaits you. And rightfully so, we are not wasteful people here at B.C.E and I am proud of that ideal too. She jokes and cheers us up during each meal. She asks how we are faring and if we are sick, she makes a concoction that works wonders and brings us back from near death. And as we indulge in the feast that is always set out before us, we joke and make fun with Ms. Shellie who always has something hilarious to say. It is double the delight if you ask me. We treated to both her delicious food and her kind and loving spirit. The food is always presented well, like the standard a hotel or five-star restaurant would have. She works hard always treating us to the best there is. So to not be able to make her work easier by getting her that new stove would be a crime of the grandest order. And graver yet, for us that enjoy her presence and her cooking.
So we sat down and chatted for a while and to touch base on the topic of her brand new stove. We started our conversation on why there was such a need for the stove. She explained to me that ever since she started cooking here at B.C.E, during summer there are around 30-40 young people that come through our doors to serve here. That would mean that there are larger quantities of food that need to be prepared at every meal. The stoves we had previous to this were smaller stoves for personal use and not quite adept at cooking these large quantities. These stoves have been around for a while and starting to malfunction. While we haven’t had summer camp activities at the base, the inconvenience of them not working properly was still there. While cooking meats like beef for example she would have to start cooking around 3 hours earlier for it to be ready in time. With the new industrial stoves, this cuts down the cooking time to about 2 hours in that particular example of the beef. And the shorter cooking time makes it more economic as opposed to the long cooking time the inefficient smaller stoves would have. She can start cooking one hour before the scheduled meal time and still stay on schedule. Best of all it gives our cook much needed rest in between meals.
Leah who saw the need decided to post it on social media and let the community know we needed their help in raising funds for the stove. We spoke about that process and how the community responded quickly to it. Leah put down the first donation and then the support just spread like wildfire. In one week all the support was raised to buy the stove. She said that people were quick to support us because they know the work and effort that we do in using the most of what we have. That we had exhausted our resources but Ms. Shellie never complained or quit doing her work due to this. And what’s even more amazing is that the company we were purchasing the stove from heard of the initiative and gave us a better deal than the initial stove we had set our sights on. This allows us to get some much-needed accessories and upgrade the electrical wiring in the kitchen. We were undoubtedly favored by the community and God. Some of the people that donated were people that were here before and have seen the work being done, and some were not. Either way, it shows that people either have seen the work or heard about it and are willing to invest in us continuing the ministry work before us.
You might think “ Nice, a new stove, good for them.” and to be honest if anybody else would tell me this story I wouldn’t make much of it myself too. But the context changes everything. It’s my meals being cooked. It’s my community that had a need. Our cook tarrying unnecessarily with those old stoves. I would be frustrated too. I am when my computer freezes and lags. Everyone would be I imagine facing the same circumstances. But when there is a ministry that uses every bit of what they have and presses on to accomplish the work set before them, people find that admirable. God finds that admirable. And both will act upon that to reward the endurance I think. Ms. Shellie thinks that is both the grace of God and the grace of people that come through here and volunteer some time in the kitchen or whatever ministry here at B.C.E. That they came together in such a short amount of time and gave generously. They know the work being done and know the needs.
As we are ever grateful to people and God for blessing us in such a way, it would be a wasted opportunity if we don’t sit back and reflect on what this means. And like I began saying we can do so much more together. So I encourage you to look into your community, the people around you, and think about how you can join forces to bless someone or support a local ministry. Take ownership because it is the best sort of motivation to incite change within and around you.