Thanksgiving Day 2011 marked the first time Agape Lane Ministry organized and co-hosted a free community wide Thanksgiving Dinner. We weren’t sure what to expect or how to make it all work but it turned out great. In 2010 we saw a need in Carnegie, OK for a place where those who were less fortunate, or lonely could come share a meal and fellowship. The Lord began to put the pieces together right away.
A church from Alabama had contacted me in the Spring wanting to come during the Summer or Fall for an outreach. We had no openings for them except this new idea of a Thanksgiving Day outreach. The Pastor was a little doubtful that people would want to go away from home during this holiday because it was so family oriented, but he said, “I’ll post it and see what kind of response we get.” To his surprise, and mine, he called back a few weeks later to say that the response was overwhelming and he already had 30 people signed up, and wanted to know what the limit was. I told him he had already reached it. Wow! God moves fast sometimes.
|Meanwhile, I talked with a couple of the pastors from Native churches in Carnegie to see if they’d like to be involved. We had one who said they would love to help, and saw it as a real service to the community. So Cedar Creek church became the staging ground for our big outreach. The Alabama team stayed at the church and used their kitchen to prepare much of the food. Volunteers from the church took turkeys home, cooked them and brought them back to the church Thanksgiving Day. God calls His people together to work and play in unity.||
Ino Baptist Church, Alabama
Janet & Gloria from Cedar Creek Church
|Finally we needed to have a place to have the dinner. It had to be centrally located in town and easy to get to for those who had no transportation. We wanted a neutral location that would be inviting to Native Americans and non-Natives, and churched and un-churched. So we found a community building in the city park, but soon after were told that it had been booked already for that day. Then we found a banquet rental building on Main Street in the “literal” center of town. The owner said he would love to rent it to us but the building was pending sale and he couldn’t make a reservation without the buyer’s approval. We prayed, contacted both of the churches to pray, I’m not sure what happened on his end but he got back with us and said that we could have the building for our outreach and wasn’t going to charge us anything to use it. But God!|
On Thanksgiving Day we all came together and put forth a meal fit for kings. We served from 12 noon to 5pm. People came and we had a great time of fellowship throughout the day. A few folks didn’t want to leave the fellowship and just sort of hung around all day. The children, youth, and adults from the Alabama church gave us a little entertainment with puppets, and gospel singing. A Young man from Cedar Creek joined in a little later. What a great time we had. We served dinner to a little over 100 people including the church team, and volunteers.
Though all were very thankful for the meal provided and some were in dire need, the most popular comment was how much they enjoyed the fellowship. One couple commented to Charlyne and I how they didn’t have any family to be with for the holiday and what a blessing this was to them. We could relate to their emotions. The same sort of comments were heard over and over throughout the day. One older man who had lost his wife the year before broke into tears as he thanked us for having a place for him to come on Thanksgiving to be with others.
The blessings of God didn’t stop there… Since we had no idea what to expect we had prepared enough food for 250 people (didn’t want to come up short). So if you look at the numbers you know that we had some leftovers. We contacted Riverside Indian School (A Native American boarding school that serves Native Youth from all over the USA) and asked if they could use the leftovers. The school itself couldn’t use them but they had about 150 out of 400 students in the dorms who were not able to travel home for the holidays. Each dorm has a kitchenette complete with fridge, stove, and microwave. The kids left at the dorms were ecstatic to get the leftovers. One of the members of Cedar Creek who had been a student at Riverside talked about how emotionally uplifting and what a blessing this was to those youth. God knew how many we needed to prepare for!
Youth from Cedar Creek with Alabama group
As I think about all the blessings that were poured out in this one outreach I continue to stand in amazement of how our God can do so much with what seems like little things. Such as the blessings poured out on the Alabama team (any of you who have been on a mission trip can attest), God’s certain reward for them leaving their families to take the place of families being missed by the people in Carnegie. The blessings for those who participated from Cedar Creek church because they sacrificed the day with their families (who were right there in arms reach) to spend time serving and getting to know those from their community. And the blessings poured out on Charlyne and I in the fellowship with the team, church, and Carnegie folks because we were missing our family too. And we got to see the whole thing come together and were honored that God allowed us to be a part of it. All I can say is, “Wow God! Thank You!
Though we are in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of this world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2Cor. 10:3-5
One of our long time supporters sent me one of her cards that she makes with that scripture on it in Dec.. Her cards are beautiful to look at, but even more beautiful is the fact that they are the Word. This one a very familiar scripture even still I found myself continuing to meditate on it. A week or so later another supporter called us and really encouraged us with what God was showing him as he prayed for us and the ministry.
2011 has been a year of battle, as we serve in this land we are not always privileged to share what is happening in the tribes or the lives of the people we work with. There have been many ups and downs, this past year, times when it seemed that some of the goals we have been working toward were just about to manifest in a huge way, only to be discouraged by major set backs. Not because of anything we have done or not done, not because of lack of desire, or because God is not able, but because “people” are involved in working out the will of God. Wherever people are involved the enemy takes every opportunity open to him to destroy the plans of God.
Thank God there are those people who God uses as well to propel forward His plans. The word teaches us that “the weapons we fight with are not the weapons of this world” sometimes in the midst of a battle the flesh desires so strongly to fight as the world fights, but we must honor our Lord and fight with the weapons He has given us. These two supporters who contacted us were waging war, they were using the weapons God has given them and as they warred, it renewed our strength. It revitalized us to “take every thought captive and MAKE IT obedient to Christ.
2012 is a New Year with new battles but we are in “attack” mode toward the enemy, He will not thwart the plans and purposes of God in this land! There are so many who yet need to “see” with their own eyes the true expression of the love God has for them, that will propel them into the journey in Him that He has planned for them, which in turns reaches so many more for Him and His glory.
So I share all that to say we are ready for the New Year in Him! Thank you to all of you who pray for us and the work in Native America, you are waging war and your prayers are heard in the throne room of God. Thank you to our A-team members who have met each month to encourage us and cover us in prayer in 2011, for allowing God to use you to effect the lives of people you may never meet this side of Heaven. We need you all and we love and appreciate each and every one of you!
Thank you for continuing to walk with us in 2012.