For Such a Time as This
EL PASO, TEX. – “And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14.
Ministry during the COVID-19 pandemic has presented a special challenge. Although live-streaming services have extended our ability to connect with members, the El Paso Northeast and El Paso Central Seventh-day Adventist churches agreed that just wasn’t enough.
Recently, both churches began to look into new ministry opportunities to help our communities and members. The churches came up with a plan to prepare and distribute care-packages consisting of non-perishable items, canned goods and other items to those in need during the pandemic. With the help of church elders, members and extended families, God worked in our midst, blessed this idea and turned it into something that far exceeded our expectations.
Although we faced several challenges, such as finding fresh fruits and vegetables at a good price, we received help from members. Javier Garcia from the El Paso Central Church connected us with a distribution company who gave us fresh boxes of produce for free! Not only were they willing to provide 25 pounds of produce, they were willing to donate as many boxes as we needed. We were also blessed with additional financial support from the Texico Conference to help offset the costs of assembling the food and other basic necessities.
On Sabbath morning, May 23, Northeast and Central Church members came to their respective churches and participated in nicely packaging many boxes for distribution. That day, we became God’s hands and feet during a time of uncertainty for many families. After distributing all the boxes, members came back with stories of individuals who told about praying for God to help them with the things that they needed. What a blessing it is that God used us to answer those prayers. Some of the people we visited not only accepted the food but also became interested in spiritual food as well. Several of our new friends and neighbors expressed an interest in coming to church.
At the end of the activity, we had quite a lot of food left over and we did not have a proper place to store the extra food. However, church members from the Northeast church did not hesitate and swiftly went door to door to distribute the remaining packages to other neighbors.
After all the unloading, packaging and distribution was done, I sat down exhausted. Our senior pastor approached me with a smile and said, “Happy Sabbath!” We shared the joy as we realized again that the Sabbath day was more than a day to take a nap. On that Sabbath morning, it was a day to tangibly share God’s love with people in our community. What a blessing to remember that God doesn’t just ask us to wait for people to come to church, but rather He wants the church to go to them. Maybe this is a good time for you to ask yourself, was your church put in your community for just “such a time as this?”
By Eliab Quiñonez