Your greatest problem, once resolved becomes your greatest ministry.
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those
who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
God brought Jesus Christ through the lineage of David and Bathsheba’s adultery (Matt. 1:6) God saved the nation of Egypt through the jealous actions of Joseph’s brothers (Gen. 50:20). God has used us to teach over one million people how to hear His voice after I was not able to identify it for the first 10 years of my Christian life. God is truly amazing, and will do amazing things through your life if you simply say "Yes, Lord."
I just had the privilege of doing a Communion with God seminar in Millersburg, Ohio for the Millersburg Church of God which was using the event to raise money for their food pantry. We did raise thousands of dollars for the food pantry, plus 84 people also learned to hear God’s voice and 17 were baptized in the Holy Spirit with the gift of speaking in tongues in an afterglow session, so it was a wonderful and fun weekend.
Meet Pastor Dave Masters and their church’s food pantry
The seed that birthed the food pantry: Brother Mark, when I was seven to eight years old, my father just up and left the family. There was my mother, my sister, and myself. After a few weeks, we were down to 1/2 of a jelly jar of bacon grease and a little flour. I had the task of gathering sticks to burn for heat and looking for dandelions that we could eat. For several days of a week, what I could find made our meal for the day.
At some point in this time frame, a kind family brought us two brown paper bags filled with store-bought groceries. The one thing that I remember, which brought tears of joy, was the fact that in one of the bags was a pack of hamburger. It had been so long since we had meat that I could not even remember what it tasted like. Within a week of that happening a man showed up in a flatbed truck with wood scraps from a factory in town. Oh to be warm again.
This happened to me forty-nine years ago. That is why I'm so passionate about running a food pantry. I purposed in my spirit that my children would never know the hunger, or the fear of no home, which were things that I had suffered with as a child.
I, Mark Virkler, had the privilege of participating at the food pantry prayer station
Pastor Dave has an amazing operation which distributes nearly 1/2 million pounds of food a year out of the back room of their church on the 48 Friday afternoons it is open annually. The Friday I joined them at the food pantry, over 100 people came for food. Each one left with a shopping cart loaded over the brim with food. Since most food is donated, and volunteers run the food pantry, each shopping cart of food that rolls out their door costs only 12 cents!!! Personally, I cannot even wrap my head around that fact.
I joined the prayer station, where people are asked as they leave the building, what needs they have that we can pray with them for. We prayed for many desperate needs that day. I saw deep into the hearts and lives of some very broken and needy people.
Stories of those being helped
First story: It was in early winter. We had a wet snow on the ground and it was cold. Through the door came a young man. When he took off his hat, I could see a military hair cut. He looked at me asked, "Are you the pastor?" I replied," How can I help you?" This is his story. "Sir, I just got home from being employed in Iraq. I have not received my travel money or last pay from Uncle Sam. My son is sick, his prescription medicine cost $40 dollars and I only have $60 to my name. That leaves me $20 to buy food. Sir, I cannot feed my family on $20 dollars, can you help me?" I told him first, thank you for your service to our country and protecting my freedom. I told him that I could help him with the food and instructed one of our volunteers to load him up. After he went through the line, I met him at the food station. There were already tears in his eyes when he looked at me and said,"Sir, you don't know what this means to me." I told him,"Son, this is straight from the hand of God to you. We are just the truck drivers." I saw this young soldier one time after that. My personal belief is a hand up, not a handout.
Second story: An older woman has been coming to the pantry to receive food. At the prayer station she told Pastor Dave that before the pantry she had to choose to pay bills or buy food. She is trying to live on $800 a month. Now, she could pay her rent and provide groceries for her grandchildren.
One fact you may want to know is, the majority of clients are single mothers, the working poor, grandparents raising their grandkids, and the elderly.
Some charitable fundraising organizations spend 85% of the money that is contributed on administration and ONLY 15% (or less) goes to the actual people in need. Consider giving to this food pantry where 99% goes to the people in need, and they are prayed for every time they visit.
He who is generous will be blessed, for he gives some of his food to the poor (Prov. 22:9).
Cross-pollination of spiritual gifts and callings
The Lord led me to suggest to Pastor Dave that running some free training for these people could also meet their deep needs. Topics such as healing heart wounds, physical healing, hearing Gods’ voice, receiving God’s creativity, how to obtain solid employment and good money management principles could be very helpful in their lives. Hopefully some of these services can be added to this food pantry ministry.
I have had others cross-pollinate my mission and the call of God upon my life. I have been called to saturate the world with communion with God. I initially believed it would take six weeks of teaching before I could ask people to begin hearing God through two-way journaling. I believed I needed to provide a theological and philosophical introduction and then teach the 4 keys before they would know enough to journal.
Then Bill Dupley told me he had people journaling after his first session!!! Yikes! Really? How did he do that? I watched him do it and now, after my first session of teaching, I have people journal. They no longer need to wait six weeks.
And you know what? On Sunday mornings, I only teach 25 minutes, while people fill in this 4 Keys handout. Then we journal and share our journaling in groups of two, and then some come to the front to read their journaling to the congregation. Amazing! It works!
And the best was yet to come. Julie True teamed up with us to create our Sea of Galilee CD, which leads people into an encounter with Jesus in 5 minutes. A few days ago I handed out our free flier of this free streaming Sea of Galilee Encounter to a person I had just met for the first time. I encouraged them to try the 5 minute visualization walk with Jesus along the Sea of Galilee. I received an email from them this morning, saying they tried it that evening, and the two-way journaling worked!
Wow, down to 5 minutes to get a person hearing God’s voice, and it wasn't even necessary to teach anything, but rather simply to lead them into an encounter with Jesus! A picture IS worth 1000 words! Yes, there still is a place for my 6 hours of teaching, but it does not need to precede hearing God's voice. Don't you love the effects and power of cross-pollination?
- So we can cross-pollinate one another with our gifts, and improve the effectiveness of each others' ministries.
- Lord, give us ears to hear and meekness of spirit, so that we allow (and invite) others to speak into our lives and ministries and improve the giftedness we present to the world.
What brokenness has God healed in your life, that is now to become your ministry?
- Lord, show me the brokenness in my life that You have healed and You now want me to release healing to others, allowing Your stream of life to touch them through me.
- Lord, have I invited others to speak into this ministry vision, helping hone it so it can be all You desire it to be?