The Summer Fellowship Program is a ministry of Whitestone Mennonite Church which reaches out to two low-income communities in Hesston, Kansas. Every Wednesday over the summer months 3-4 volunteers bring a healthy, home-cooked meal prepared by members of Whitestone to the members of each of these communities. The meals are shared together and we are able to fellowship, connect and build relationships. Each week approximately 30 people are served at each location for a total of 60 meals. Out of this ministry we have been able to form relationships and a few families have started attending our Wednesday night activities. This ministry has also grown to extend beyond the summer months and continues throughout the year with a meal hosted by Whitestone on the third Thursday of every month which serves approximately 40 individuals.
Throughout this VBS experience there have been many things that have showed me the grace and power of God. From the kids we met, to the places we have gone, and the people who gave us lodging, I can see God’s hand at work. There are two people that stood out to me and have touched me and truly shown me what God’s work looked like, Arlis and Marsha Diener from Argentine Mennonite. I could see God in them in the way they work for their church. The immense amount of time planning their events and participating in community outreach in order to bring more kids to God is amazing. I could see they have unlimited faith in Him and always trust God in anything they do. When we first got to Argentine they told us about their community outreach to bring kids to VBS and shared their faith that God will give them the kids. The first day of VBS we had a great amount of kids and the number went up after that day. Another time I could see their faith was when we lost the keys to the van at the church. Our whole group was looking for them and no matter where we looked we couldn’t find them. We were all frustrated and tired after a long day. Marsha and Arlis got us to sit, calm down, and pray to God so that He could help, sure enough the keys were found! We were thankful to them for getting us to calm ourselves and put our faith in God. They really challenged me by opening my eyes to see people who love God unconditionally with no expectation of anything in return. Arlis and Marsha do this hard work because they love The Lord and want to see His kingdom come to life.
“My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord. Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever” (Psalm 145:21)
I cannot stop saying God is good and praising God! Watch for God is what I always say. On Thursday, I spent the day preparing my apartment expecting the worst and had decided to stay put in Corpus. On Thursday a couple I met, Steven and Selene Lopez, who had moved to Corpus from Brownsville and since become friends, invited and graciously opened their home for me to stay with them and ride out the storm together . I packed and went to stay with them. The news was reporting the worst, storm going up to CAT4 and on Friday the storm moved north 30 miles from Corpus and hit Rockport, TX where it cause so much damaged. Corpus did sustain some damage (fallen trees and power outages) but not as bad. I came home Saturday afternoon. I had no power and water coming in through the sliding door. My car wouldn’t start but God had been good! Some people still don’t have power and rain is still in the forecast for the week. Please continue to pray for the coast of Texas as Harvey lingers. My family and friends in Houston are suffering the flood.
I hope that I can get together with others and go help people in need. I feel the Lord has blessed me, and I want to pass on the blessing He gave me to others!!
Thank you for keeping me in your prayers, I felt the presence of God around me having so many people praying for me! God is good! Watch for God, He is on the move!!
Your sister in Christ.
–Grace Tijerina (pastor Community of Friends church plant in Corpus Christi, TX)
Note: Prince of Peace Mennonite Church, another SCC congregation in Corpus Christi, sustained fairly substantial damage to their building from the storm. Pastor Felipe Almodovar and Church Secretary Raquel Almodovar are in the process of assessing the costs and resources to repair this damage and working with SCC Regional Conference Minister, Lupe Aguilar. Some financial assistance will be needed and we will communicate these needs as they are finalized.