Categories
community

A Disturbing Day At Church

Last week I had a very disturbing experience at the food sharing outside our church on Orange Blossom Trail, OBT, in Orlando. We feed the homeless and needy people in the neigborhood every week, so this was one of our regular nights with a 100 people standing in line to eat.

At 5.30 pm we were plating the food and getting ready to serve, when four black cars came into our parking lot and parked next to a black truck that were already there. It looked like new rental cars, something official, so they caught my attention.

Next thing I saw were the drivers in the black cars jumping out, opening up the trunks and giving out stuff from the back to the people in our parking lot.

I don’t mind people caring for the community and helping us serve. That happens a lot of times. Usually teams will come and ask if they can join us, giving out food, clothing, hygiejne products etc, but this time was different. It seemed like these people had another agenda.

I am Not a Racist

I walked over to talk to them, but they totally ignored me. They were all african americans, a group of 10-15 young people, handing out packages. “This is private property”, I said, and immediately one of them, a young guy with tattoos in his face, came right at me cursing me out. Somehow he tried to make this a racial issue, calling me a “White Mother……”, as if the color of my skin would have anything to do with feeding the homeless. I am not from this country. I am a viking from Denmark, and over there we don’t see colors like some people see them here.

At this point, they all started shouting at me, almost like some of the protesters I have seen on the news. I saw the hate in their faces, as they were threatening me and calling me a racist. It all happened really fast, like putting gasoline on a fire. In all these years I have worked as a pastor in the “hood”, I never experienced anything like this…

Calling the Police

Our church is located just down the road from the police headquarters, so I picked up my phone and called the police, while the newcomers were still in my face cursing me out. Then they all went back in their cars and started to leave, including a black female driver, who almost ran me down on the way out. As the car touched me, I lifted my leg as a reflex, and the driver jumped out, accusing me of kicking the car.

At this point, the rest of the team were waiting across the street, and when they saw her coming out of the car, they all started running towards me. Again they were yelling and screaming, it looked like a lynch mob coming towards me, but thank God. Somebody went in their way and stopped them before it was too late.

The Devil in the Parking Lot

When the police showed up half an hour later, we were feeding the homeless like we always do. They were my eye witnesses, they had been watching from the side. The only hard evidence I had was footage from the security camera, but somehow the intruders had managed to cover up for the episode by parking one of the cars in front of the camera.

The Devil was in the parking lot that day, but so was God. And the only reason why I am still here is because of God. From His perspective All Lives Matters. It is not about being black or white. He made us all different, and He likes us like that.

Categories
Disaster Relief

The White Shirt On The Pole

Only a few days after we launched the food bank in Ecuador, the work is spreading to more places. Pastor Carlos Marchan and his team in Puyo has been giving out essentials to the people in the city, but now they are planning a trip inside Jungle to one of the small communities.

The people living in the jungle are under the same lock down as the people in the city and they have nothing to eat. Usually they will travel to the city to buy food or trade for food, but because of the curfew they can’t make it that far. They live so remote, without lights and running water, and they don’t have any cars.

Over the past years we have been visiting the village several times. Usually we would travel out there in the morning, preach the gospel and share a meal with them. Some of you might remember the pictures, my sons tribal adventure when they painted us in the face and gave us chicha to drink as a part of their welcome tradition!

The White Shirt

Right now the team in Puyo is making care packages for the villages with rice, eggs and cooking oil and other things. The government gives out rations of five eggs and a little rice, but our team has been able to buy a lot of eggs so they are giving out packages of 30 eggs which is a huge blessing.

For the past two days our team have been giving out care packages in Puyo, and as they went out to the suburbs, they saw white shirts hanging outside the houses. This has become a common thing in Ecuador, people hanging out their shirts as a sign of surrender to show that they have no more food.

We Need Your Help

In Puyo pastor Carlos Marchan and his team sre loading the cars with care packages to drive out in the communities In just a few days, his church has become a food bank, a distribution center of essentials.

This has been possible through generous donations from our local church and from business people that we know. As the team in Ecuador has been sending pictures of families and elderly people receiving help, we know that we are reaching the lost.

If you want to be a part of this, we will be very thankful. Think about the white shirt on the pole. Look at the pictures, the faces of the children, the elderly, the places they live and the fear and poverty they are facing due to COVID-19.

If you want to support, you can buy a care package for 15 dollars. One package will feed a family for two weeks.

Click on the link and donate today.

Categories
Lifestyle

Finding Faith In Times Of COVID-19

Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have all learned how behave as responsible human beings, keeping social distance, not gather in groups bigger than 10, wait for one another as we manuever through our favorite store, that has introduce one way aisles and limits on toilet paper, kitchen towel, paper plates and more.

In this season I have received countless of e-mails from different organisations and institutions of how they respond to COVID-19. Messages from my insurance company, my bank, paypal, the movie theater, different churches and charities, places I have visited or realtors I contacted years ago. I did not even realize they had my email address, so I responded with “unsubscribe”.

What Is Your Response?

As you can read in this blog, our first response has been “feed the poor”. Extravert instead of intravert. Reaching out and touching lives, even though we can’t touch them physically. When non essential business shot down, we can still open the door. Changes motivated by love and respect for our community and authority and not from a fear of COVID-19.

Now is an incredible opportunity for the Church to rise up in love and in service to communities around the world. The need for Jesus is more apparent than ever, and our potential to influence the world is great. What the enemy intends for evil, God can use for good. 

With Vision Comes Provision

In this season we have been feeding our community every night, giving out hot meals to go, close to a hundred meals a day. We started during lock down not knowing if there would be enough hands to help, but so many people have joined the vision.

Since we started feeding the poor, provision has been rolling in, as we have started to give it all out. It is like a constant flow, pallet after pallet, as we keep sharing, a supernatural multiplication is taking place!

Yesterday we received a huge load of t-shirts, and this morning it was distributed so that we could make more room for food. We were organizing and sorting things out for our foodbank. So many people were out there, waiting in line, just to get a few essentials. We gave out 62 boxes, and as we were packing down, we made a final drive for three single mums plus a daughter, her mother and her grandmother!

Where Is Your Faith?

This blog is about giving, but it is also about living. In this season everything we knew has been shaken. This has been a season of turmoil and change. There have been sickness and death, loss of jobs and financial stability, and many people don’t know what to hold on to anymore.

I made up my mind long time ago. Since we don’t know how many years we have in this world, we should live our lives more intentionally, finding purpose and faith before it is too late.

To trust in God is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. The Bible describes faith as the substance of things hoped for. This solid hope is unshakeable, like an anchor of stability that we can hold on to when the oceans roar and rise.

Life is fragile. We cannot take things for granted anymore. Suddenly we see things in another perspective. For some people it might be blurred by fear, but for others it is clear as faith. The world has changed. What is your vision? Is it fear, or is it faith? What is your response to COVID-19?