Dear Body of Christ,
I have been waiting.
I have been wondering when legions of church folk were going to descend upon The Distribution Center with hot cider, hot cocoa, and candy canes. I’ve seen some folk, but let me just speak the truth, as is my nature . . . people are getting depressed.
I’m seeing a lot of drooped shoulders and dark circles beneath the eyes; and I’m not just talking about the core volunteers who have been there since day one, working in a warehouse until their bones ache.
When I asked my mega-church friend if they were planning on sending volunteers (NOT donations of goods, because there is NO room for more donations), he responded that he’s “waiting to hear from the Chair of Missions.”
I almost threw the Good Book at him, but God is working on me, trying to teach me patience. I’ve got the compassion part down pat, but patience . . . well I don’t have time for patience. There was a line of over one hundred folk waiting to be served on Friday and practically no volunteers.
While volunteers and those displaced by the fire wait for a little Christmas cheer, a whole lot of Jesus- lovin’ folk are getting callouses on their hands, and blisters on their feet pulling 10-hour shifts stocking, folding and hugging every single soul God himself created (Whether they speak English or not! Whether they believe in God or not!). Truth be told they are also wondering, where are all those people who offered to help? Volunteers haven’t handed out a single tract which might litter the floor. We haven’t had to say “God Bless You,” to anyone, because those dear souls whom God himself has placed in our path, and who only want a jar of peanut butter and a roll of toilet paper; those whose clothes still smell of smoke . . . beat us to the God Bless You part!
Still, I must ask, where are you?
They’d like a little Christmas cheer, but wait! We had some cheer last week when a guy donned a red felt cap with a dangling white ball and walked between the aisles strumming a git-tar and singing I’ll Fly Away (one of my favorites). I had to wipe my eyes. I’m telling ya . . . The Holy Spirit is waiting for you up on Cates Lane, and the volunteers who have been there since the beginning are filled with a spirit my words cannot express.
We sure could’ve used that git-tar picker this past Friday afternoon.
So beloved body of Christ, isn’t it time to bring Wednesday night supper to the volunteers? I’m talking to our church neighbors in North Carolina. I’m talking to any church, because the hotels are empty and your mission field is ripe with people who only need you to help put food in their hands. Do you need a Mission Chair to direct you, or do you need the plea from a woman whose tennis shoes are on the concrete . . . waiting ?
Isn’t it time to load the church van and send a group of helping hands? Every. Single. Day.
Here’s an idea, load up a small tent, grab a piece of real estate at the entrance of the Distribution Center and serve hot cider, coffee, and muffins. A muffin sure would taste good right about now.
You don’t need to hand out Bibles, cards, or tracts. Put on a long-sleeve shirt and then your church shirt (I know y’all have one), and then get in the van. Because right now handing out a jar of peanut butter reveals the best part about being a Christian.
Isn’t it time to hold some church by way of Christmas carols sung up at the red barn on Cates Lane? Sevier County has enough churches to sing every single night until Jesus himself comes to get us. I mean, really now. Knox County? Cocke County? C’mon over.
I’m pretty sure this little red-headed Jesus- Lovin’ gal from way, way back isn’t the only one who’d love to have a little bit of Christmas cheer as we try to love each other and move forward.
Don’t forget the cider, cocoa, candy canes and the muffins . . . yes, a snack while the displaced and homeless waits sure would be the best way to be the #HandsAndFeet of our Savior.
Register to Volunteer here then show up on Cates Lane (old Boyd’s Bears) first road to the right just past first traffic light in Pigeon Forge. They will check you in at Boyd’s Bears.
Why this fire matters to me? Read here.
Like this story? Renea is donating the proceeds of her Christmas Story: A Hardscrabble Christmas and In the Garden with Billy to the victims she meets at The Distribution Center. Download it here. And please follow my blog by typing your email into the “Follow” link.
Note: For those who requested that I add a PayPal button go this site, I can NOT add a Paypal Code to this free blog site. I will contact you via email with instructions on how to donate if you desire. Please be patient as this little blog post is getting quite a bit of attention.
Renea Winchester is a traditionally-published author of three books. She is a Jesus lover, a gardener, and a giver of hugs.