For several weeks now we have been taking bags of groceries to each household around the Dream Centre in West Kingston, going street by street, taking 50 bags at a time, and offering to pray for each family. In order to stretch the funds as far as possible we have been buying everything in bulk and then packing out individual bags of rice, cornmeal etc. This means that the value of each grocery bag to the family is significantly higher than the cost we pay for the items … but it also means that we need to coordinate our volunteers to do all the packing beforehand. It takes a long time to cut and pack 50 slices of pumpkin! The time this all takes, as well as the time it takes to listen to each person and pray for them, is the main reason we have been doing 50 households at a time, it is a long day each time we do it.
We had done all the houses on each street around the centre, leading up to last week … but hadn’t yet tackled the big housing scheme called Rema scheme. Rema is a particularly needy community, so as we were praying we sensed that we should bring enough bags to give one to every household. Then we checked the numbers and found out that there are 180 households in that scheme!
We talked and prayed again, and once again really sensed that it was important to cover every household. Last week we received two donations which meant we had enough money to buy all the dry goods, so we took a step of faith and made the purchase.
Within 24 hours another three unexpected donations came in which meant we could afford all the fresh produce as well. We decided to pack out all the dry goods last week, and leave the outreach till this week so that volunteers could schedule the time to help, and there was less packing to do on the day itself.
The outreach was yesterday, and not only was it the first time we had done that many food packages in one day; a number of leaders couldn’t get time from work so the team was smaller and had more teenagers and less leaders than for previous outreaches like this. We had also added another 20 households that we knew were in serious need, so we had 200 packages to give out.
We had a team praying throughout the day, and it was amazing to see how it all came together. The morning had been very hot, so we prayed for clouds and had nice cloud cover as we started out into the community just before 2pm … although around 3:30pm it started to pour and we got soaked! We realised afterwards that this is the only outreach we have done where we could still have gone to people’s doors to pray while it was raining; because the front doors in high rise buildings are all under cover.
There were many really encouraging conversations as we offered to pray for people, and everyone was so appreciative for the team being there and for the groceries. The rain did slow things down a bit, but it eased off around 5pm so we were able to finish off by about 6:30pm.
When I think about the size of the team, the ratio of young people to leaders, and the number of packages … I am amazed that 200 packages were put together, distributed, and each household prayed for. As we stepped out in faith to demonstrate God’s care and faithfulness to a community in need, His faithfulness met us with each step we made. I hope the story encourages you as much as it encouraged me.