September 27, 2005 - "Small Acts of Kindness" by Melva Cooper
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".Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, so ye have done it unto me." Matthew 25:40
HOPE2THEHEART! Join 2TheHeart in making a difference to the many people in Gulfport, MS who now live in shelters after Hurricane Katrina destroyed their homes. Our focus is the babies and the children in need and I will be going back again soon to bring supplies for the families at the shelters there. Please help by purchasing sweatshirts, hoodies, t-shirts, hats and other products in our Hope2TheHeart shop online! www.cafepress.com/2theheartHOPE (We have products designed for men, women and children!)
SMALL ACTS OF KINDNESS
by Melva Cooper
The past three weeks I spent several afternoons volunteering in a church office that had been turned in a Disaster Relief Room. There was some chaos the first couple of days as the Shelter personnel learned their new responsibilities. After hurriedly learning the multi-phone system, I spent much time answering questions and getting calls to the correct person.
Between phone calls, I made calls to the enormous list of names of those who had gone through Red Cross training a few days before.
My family, the church we attend, and thousands from the small city we call home had turned out en masse volunteering their services to help make the evacuees from Hurricane Katrina comfortable. We fed them three meals a day and furnished them comfortable beds.
The transportation committee spent hours driving them to the doctor, Social Security office and County Health Office, bank, post office and other places they needed to go. A team of nurses and doctors stayed 24 hours a day at the shelter to care for their medical needs. For protection, local policemen took 8 hour shifts around the clock.
We were all a team determined to show God's love through simple acts of kindness freely given to our new neighbors.
One afternoon a call came in from a couple who had planned to help serve the evening meal. An emergency would prevent their being able to come. My husband was out of town and I didn't have to fix supper at my house that night. So I volunteered to go down to the kitchen immediately after the office I was working in closed for the day.
Degenerate back problems would not allow me to stand on the concrete floor for very long. But in the short time I was there helping prepare the meal a lovely lady came to the counter.
"May I have a sandwich?" she asked.
Talking further with her I discovered she had been gone at lunchtime and was now hungry. Joyfully, I opened the huge refrigerator and brought out the turkey and cheese. It was such a small chore to make the sandwich and give it to her. Little did I know the impact that tiny act of kindness would have on me a few hours later.
The next morning I opened up our local paper and there on the front page was a picture and story of the sweet lady I had made and served the sandwich to. She told of the horror she had gone through escaping from the hurricane a few days earlier. The two jobs she had previously worked were now completely ravaged by the storm. She was homeless and helpless, completely at the mercy of those who were providing her needs at our shelter.
As I sat there and read her story, I heard loud and clear in my spirit, "When you have done it unto one of the least of my brethren, ye have done it unto me."
What a revelation! It was only a sandwich furnished by other volunteers but God spoke directly to me as I stared at the face in front of me.
I knew there was rejoicing in heaven as God looked down upon the thousands and thousands of volunteers across our nation feeding, giving money, clothing and sharing hospitality to Hurricane Katrina evacuees. So many people were serving and loving wherever they were needed.
These acts of mercy did not depend on our wealth, ability or intelligence. They were simple acts of kindness freely given.
During this national tragedy known as Hurricane Katrina that has hit our nation, I pray that we have all glorified our wonderful Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, by reflecting our love for Him through a simple sandwich, a cold drink or a much needed hug.
Melva Cooper is a grandmother from Jonesboro, Arkansas. She encourages many, both in print and on the Internet, with stories from her heart. Her two most recent published projects can be found in "Chicken Soup Celebrates Grandmothers" and "Soul Matters for the Heart." Her most recent 2TheHeart stories are "Peace and Joy" and "Beautiful Scars", found in our archives: http://www.2theheart.com/stories_2005 More of Melva's writng is also found on her beautiful web site: www.melvacooper.com
The Letter Box:
Susan you are such a big hearted person for what you have done.I really enjoyed reading your journal and I have saved it so that I can show it to my daughter and my sons. How awful for so many that hurricane was AND NOW WE ARE PRAYING FOR THE LORDS HELP with the new hurricane Rita that is heading for Texas. We here in Louisiana are watching it closely, it is so scary to think that what we have gone through is about to happen now to the people in Texas. God Bless take care. Judy B. in Louisiana
I don't know which is fuller right now - tears in my eyes or love in my heart. What a wonderful story and you wrote so that I felt I was making the journey with you.
You are very brave to make that trip by yourself with so much destruction everywhere. Thanks for sharing with us.
Pray for my husband. He is scheduled to return to the disaster area Saturday. Right now he thinks it will be Kenner, LA, but Hurricane Rita may change some of the plans. God will certainly honor all of the volunteers for all you have done.
While Jerry was in Hattiesburg a couple of weeks ago I helped at the church we attend that had been turned into a shelter. Late last night I wrote a story about it. I will share it with you if you think it would encourage others to go and help.
In Jesus love,
(Author's of today's story!)
I just read with wide-eyed interest your detailed journal notes about your trip to Mississippi. The photos told another part of the story of destruction there following Katrina. What a mission! You helped many more people besides Nell and Dale. It's so heartwarming to hear good reports like yours instead of the huge doses of negative news we are all being fed by the liberal media. Of course good news does not sell newspapers, but one would think that some of the top-notch reporters would show more of the human interest angles and true tales of help and mercy arising out of this horrific weather.
Sandi Pound, FL
Your story about the mission to Mississippi was awesome!!!!! So touching, and it makes me "extra proud" to be an angel2theheart and to know the good we are doing in our own way to help with Hurricane relief!!!!
By the way, I am printing the story out to share it with Momma, it'll mean so much to her, especially since Dale is her "angel"!
Lotsa angel hugs,
~Rita Spillers, LA
Susan - Was so touched by your story and by the readers and angels2theheart who raised money so quickly for your trip to MS. I also KNOW it was meant to be. I know many were blessed and got chills as I read how everything fell into place. You are an angel and so are all who helped your mission. I can't wait to read about your second trip! Geena
Making a difference!