April was a month of rejoicing and a month of introspection. At a time when we were placing special emphasis on the celebration of our Savior’s resurrection, God provided both bounties of blessings and grave reminders of the depravity and need of the human condition.
A 50% increase over the previous month in the number of families served through food, clothing, and /or financial assistance has been a sobering reminder that, in Jesus’ words, “The poor will always be among us.” We are exhorted over and over in scripture to be aware of the needs of others and willing to clothe, feed, and encourage in Christ. April was a powerful illustration of such need. If you are spring cleaning, please remember Forest Park Ministry Center to donate clothing – any sizes, styles, or season. Also, we are always in need of food; as the months progress and summer nears, families who depend on free or reduced breakfast and lunch for their children’s nutrition will be all the more in need of food. Historically, numbers of families increase greatly during the summer and fall. We are in special need of canned meals (pastas, soups, stews), varied vegetables, canned meats. Don’t forget – if you are a gardener, you can tithe your produce!
In addition to celebrating Christ’s resurrection, we celebrate this month because of God’s provision in numerous areas. Food drives have kept us supplied with food, Heritage hosted a beautiful Layette Baby Shower, following a winter Layette Baby Shower that Thorington Road had hosted. Rise Up 2012 (did you see it on YouTube?) resulted in 600 pairs of new shoes donated to 11 ministries locally and throughout the state and abroad. Forest Park was the blessed recipient of several dozen pair, and already there are those with no car who walk everywhere, those who needed shoes for school and work, reaping the benefit of such generosity.
And the week following Resurrection Sunday, one of our moms being mentored first through the Layette Ministry and now through M&M Bible Café each week prayed to receive Christ. She was baptized last week, has already attended a class for parents desiring to raise their children in the Lord, and plans to dedicate her one year old son along with other parents on Mother’s Day. Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!
This summer, in addition to the food and clothing ministry and classes which meet at the center, there will be a number of children’s opportunities. We are blessed to have two student missionaries joining us for the summer. Jordan Holley of Montgomery, an active member of the Baptist Campus Ministry at AUM, and Charlotte Walker from Boone’s Chapel, a student majoring in social work at Mississippi College, will be planning and implementing a number of opportunities including Bible studies, literacy, and sports camps, and will be contacting youth groups in MBA churches to recruit teams to assist each week. Please pray for these young women as they give of themselves and their talents this summer to community missions and ministry.
Blessings along the way,
Donna McCullough, Director
Forest Park Ministry Center