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God’s People at Work – Seeking Opportunities to Serve (continued)

The Storyteller Tells a Story of Faith…

Last month, we learned about a group of people from the Barnitz and Mt. Zion churches serving meals at the Salvation Army. This ministry is known as My Brothers’ Table, which seeks to provide hot, nutritious meals to anyone who comes to the table.  This story is a continuation of last month’s, but from the perspective of the youth who have also agreed to serve.

James 2: 15-17 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food.  If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?  In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

Initially, the youth helped with the meals the adults served, but later the youth decided they could go it alone. In 2014, the BMZ Youth Group decided to begin a meal program following the example of what the adults were doing.  Youth Director Brian Galbraith (MZ) relates that his goal with this ministry was “not only having the youth serve the hungry people of (the) Carlisle (area), but also to make serving people a regular habit as opposed to a special event for the youth.”  In 2014 and 2015, the youth promised to serve four meals each year.  “In the beginning, we basically had the youth doing mostly serving and cleanup, but we were trying to find meals the youth could also prepare…”  Assisted by his wife, Amy, who Brian considers “a huge asset” because of her knowledge of “determining how much food is needed, preparing meals in large quantities, and having it ready at the right time,” they eventually found meals the youth could make.  Brian says, “We typically get rave comments from the folks at Salvation Army who really enjoy the homemade cookies and the meals we serve.  I think the folks look forward to us coming knowing we are willing to prepare good meals and offer large quantities.”  Katie Miller (MZ) agrees.  She says, “I feel like I made friends; they remember me each time.  This teaches me how fortunate I am to have the food I do.”  What is more welcoming than good food in a hungry stomach when someone really needs it?  Emily Miller (MZ) adds, this experience “gives me the opportunity to see how lucky I am and what I take for granted.  I can get food anytime I want, but these people can’t.  It makes you realize just how much you have.”

However, financing this ministry hasn’t been easy. The youth group faced some financial obstacles because they don’t have a regular funding source.  They have had to rely on donations from the youth and their families. Brian tells us that they “have also obtained a grant from Highmark Blue Shield to help defray the costs of this ministry.”  Another obstacle is the scheduling conflicts of the youth.  “Many of our youth are involved in sports activities on the weekends which limits the time they have to prepare food on Sunday nights,” says Brian.  However, somehow the youth find time to prepare and serve the meals.  With all the obstacles they must overcome, one might question whether participating in this ministry is worth it.  According to Eli Plant (BMZ) and Hannah Galbraith (MZ), they think it is.  (As paraphrased by Brian), Eli says he is “helping in the community when he helps there”, and Hannah says “she enjoys going and serving the people.”  Perhaps Lainey Miller said it best when she talked about her experience.  “It’s cool,” she says, “but I’m thankful to be on the serving side.”

If you are able to help the youth “do good to all people” – at least the ones who come to My Brothers’ Table – please contact Brian. They can always use donations for their meals.

Let us not become weary of doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people…”  Galatians 6: 9, 10a.

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