Wednesday, December 5, 2012

12 Days of Giving ~ Day 5

As we continue with our giving ideas, I'm joining with Compassion International (see link in sidebar) to dig a little deeper.  Compassion is dedicated to release children from poverty all across the world.  This Christmas season, they have launched a campaign #ItsAboutGiving.  The challenge is to paint a complete picture of what #ItsAboutGiving looks like.  What feelings, sounds, tastes and colors are associated?  As we begin to peel back the layers, I wanted to share with you the heart of a dear friend of mine.

Becky and Melissa

Melissa King is the founder of The Forgotten Ministry of Indiana.  Based out of Hope Community Church in Brownsburg Indiana, Melissa has a heart for the homeless.  As Compassion began their #itsaboutgiving campaign, she was the first person that came to mind.  I'd like to share a little of her heart and mission with you in an interview I conducted.

Becky:  Melissa, what is a gift you have given in your ministry that was received with joy and deep appreciation?

Melissa:  Oh, wow.  It's the simple things really.  Cold water on a hot day in the summer.  Canned food.  No rinse shampoo and body wash are greatly appreciated.  And as the weather gets colder they love receiving hand warmers.

Becky:  What effect did that have on you?

Melissa:  At first, it was shocking.  the simple things we don't have to worry about having.  It's taught me to be more grateful and more appreciative, not only of what I have, but of what other people are giving to the ministry.

Shock from seeing the homeless camps for the first time.
Becky:  Why do you give?  What is the root behind the desire you have for these forgotten?

Melissa:  Of course there's the physical needs that need to be met.  But more than that, these people have a need for Christ-like love.  They are seen as outcasts and looked down upon in our society.  I think personally I have a strong desire to see people as Jesus does and to love those who are stereotyped. 
Even Christians sometimes see the homeless as a lost cause.  That there is no way to help them because they won't help themselves.  But God calls us to give and show Christ's love to people regardless of their past or present choices.

Becky:  Grace.

Melissa:  Yes

Becky:  What have you learned from our culture about giving?

Melissa:  People want to give, but they don't how to.  They can also be choosy about who to give to and who they think deserves it - how far they'll go, emotionally or material wise to give.  How far do they have to step out of their comfort zone.  In the type of ministry I do, I see a lot of people who think that giving will just institutionalize the situation.

But I've come to learn that connection is as important as giving basic necessities.  There are several other church groups that go down into the camps, but many people I have talked to say that they like when our groups come down, because we talk to them and spend time with them.  They can see when others are serving for accolades for themselves or coinciding love with things instead of the unconditional love that God gives to us.

Becky:  Wow.  Connection is so important.  What have you learned from the Bible about giving?

Melissa:  In blessing others you'll also be blessed.  But I've also learned that we are to give a need, but also LOVE them as He loves them. 
The mission verse behind The Forgotten Ministry is 1 John 3:17-18.  If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?  Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.  

The 'living room' of a homeless camp in downtown Indianapolis.

If you would like to connect with Melissa, please go to The Forgotten Ministry of Indiana facebook page.

12 Days of Giving

21.  Compassion International is dedicated to release children from poverty all across the world.  Compassion has a Christmas Gift Catalog where you can select and purchase gifts that help children registered in the Compassion program.  Select a gift to help a child in need.

22.  Make bookmarks to go hand out at the public library.

23.  Take cookies and decorations to the nursing home or assisted living place.  Decorate the cookies with the residents.  (Thank you SoZealous).

24.  This winter, as you go out to scrape your vehicle free from frost or brush the snow off, go ahead a do another car.  Is it warm where you live?  Go hand wash a vehicle.

25.  Do something nice for your neighbor.  Bring in their trash can on trash day, hand deliver their mail or newspaper.

Happy Giving!

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”
~Winston Churchill


No comments: