Monday, December 27, 2010

RAHAB Event - Humbled and Amazed

The following post was written by a member of CCC's Local Outreach Team after she attended Rahab's Scarlet Cord Event:

Last Friday night, we attended a benefit concert for a street outreach in Akron, Ohio called RahabMinistries. The fascinating story of Rahab in the Bible can be found in the book of Joshua, Chapter 2. Though Rahab was a prostitute, she had heard of the mighty acts of the God of Israel, and in spite of her personal past, she reached out in faith and believed He could save her and her family. She later married an Israelite, and actually became a physical ancestor in the lineage of Jesus Christ. How amazing is that?

RAHAB also has become an acronym for this ministry: Reaching Above Hopelessness and Brokenness. Hundreds of women in this city are hopelessly lost prostitutes, drug addicted, involved in criminal behavior, and roaming the streets without a meaningful purpose to their lives.Rahab Ministries literally goes to where these women are and snatches many of them from the grip of the evil that holds them captive by offering them food, clothing, safe shelter and a Christ-centered message of hope and healing.

Several women told snippets of their story at this event. They are all "in process", working through the steps they need to take to turn their lives around. For some, this means regaining custody of their children. For others, it means continuing with their education. For all of them, it meanscommitting their lives to the One who gave His life for them. It is not an easy road, and there are slips and setbacks along the way. RahabMinistries is there for them, waiting with open arms when they, like the prodigal son, return to their senses if in their weakness they wander away and relapse. As each woman came up to speak, their "before" photo was shown on a big screen ...their mugshot. All the women who talked had been arrested at some point. Beside their photo were words they used to describe how they felt about themselves before RahabMinistries introduced them to the Gospel~~words like lost, forgotten, alone, hopeless, destroyed, addict, empty, numb.

One woman who spoke had been drug-addicted for 23 long years. She was miraculously delivered from that life three years ago through the efforts of Rahab Ministries and the amazing grace of God. Today she attends The University of Akron and has a vision to open a recovery house for women with the help of Rahab Ministries. Her new life verse is Philippians 1:6: "...He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."

Each woman had their own story to tell, their own personal experience as they have left their old life behind and encountered the Living God who loves them more than they could ever have imagined.

All of this because two women in our area had a vision for reaching out with compassion. Like Jesus, Rahab Ministries refuses to let go. They believe in modern day miracles because they witness them every day. As we like to say here in Akron, this is where the rubber meets the road.

Once again, I have been humbled and amazed. God is opening my eyes and my heart wider all the time. Though I have been a Christian for over 50 years, sometimes I feel like I'm only just beginning to know Jesus. What about you?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Stalled at 256 ...

As the long line of cars circled the church on the Monday evening before Thanksgiving, my eyes began to tear up with great joy and thanks to our awesome God.  The cars barely slowed as CCC volunteers emptied vehicles of Thanksgiving dinner baskets which had been lovingly prepared for area families who needed to feel God's love on the holiday.

Just two Sundays prior to the Monday drop-off, my prayer was to reach "258" baskets---the number required to meet the needs of Hudson area families and our ministry partners.  Beyond those needs, there were 110 additional requests for baskets from yet other outreach ministries...with no one to help them.  My prayer was that God would help us supply those needs.

We seemed to be stalled at 255 baskets.  I was relating this to a friend and it was as if God responded at that moment to my prayer.  A young woman approached in the Atrium and said "I would like three baskets to fill, if you have them available."  Watching her walk away, I could sense God saying "go girl, don't be timid, my people will exceed your highest expectations."

The last Thanksgiving basket left our church about 7:30 p.m., bound for an awaiting family.  We had collected and distributed 397!  God had once again blessed our ministry.

All who participated with baskets, monetary donations, collection or distribution had made a difference for 397 families on Thanksgiving.  I know that to be true as I and others saw the faces of recipient families and heard their thanks.  Our God is truly an awesome God. I stand in awe of His faithfulness.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Blessings from a Bag of Sugar

This year our Church members blessed 397 neighbors in need with the gift of a Thanksgiving Basket.  The baskets included all the ingredients needed to prepare a dinner for a family of 6 including the turkey.  This story was written by a mother who had called the church and suggested a basket be given to her son.
Upon receiving the basket, by a couple of men, who came to his apartment, Marty was shocked.  He immediately called me (his mother), to say he didn’t feel he needed it and wanted to bring it to our home to give to someone else more deserving.  While I was aware, I did not say who suggested he be a recipient, but if he wanted to give it to someone else, I told Marty that was totally up to him and that he should be the one to pass it on, not us.
My husband’s office manager attends a  church in the Stow/Kent area and Marty asked her if she knew of anyone who would appreciate such a gift.  She knew of 3 families in need.  Marty dropped the basket off to the office and she in turn, took the basket to one of the families.  When the woman receiving the basket, opened the door, she began crying, but upon looking to see all the items, started sobbing when she saw the bag of brown sugar.  To our office manager’s amazement, the woman said, “Do you see those 2 acorn squash on the counter? Well, I wanted to serve them, but didn’t have enough money to go out and buy brown sugar.”  Who would have thought a bag of brown sugar would be such a sweet answer to prayer.