The Storyteller Tells a Story of Faith…
Connecting with those in our community takes many forms as we have seen in this series of stories. This is another example where devoted people have found a way to connect with others around us to show God’s love by caring for others. SWAP (Seniors Without A Partner) is a ministry that provides our senior population with a good meal and some positive interaction with other seniors. Carrie Crain (MZ) is one of the group’s founders.
“About ten to fifteen years ago,” says Carrie, “Mary Poole and I were talking about the different groups that we worked with and realized we didn’t have any contact with our older population.” She and Mary were challenged to find a way to reach out to them. At that time, Carrie and Mary were Youth Leaders, and they thought that challenge meant to find a way to connect the youth and the seniors. However, they had a different thought – SWAP.
Romans 12: 10, 13 “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above
yourselves. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” NIV
“From day one we have always had the support of both congregations,” says Carrie. They began with some grants, but are now operating with the sole financial support of the Barnitz congregation. Carrie adds, “We found after a while we were not only connecting with people from Barnitz and Mt. Zion, but we were also connecting with (people from) Mt. Holly, Hickorytown, Letort Charge and Chapel Pointe. Every month we were connecting with about 40 people. Our little challenge brought people together, but it also challenged us each personally and spiritually to have faith that God would not only provide people to come but also have enough support to continue every month. We were providing meals and trying to keep it cost effective, and we also brought in or became the entertainment. Speaking in front of this group has made me step out of my comfort zone. I have never met a more kind and caring group of people.”
Carrie says things have changed a bit since the beginning of SWAP. Mary Poole now lives in Virginia, and her place has been filled by Teresa Kline and Nancy Woodward. They now serve about 24 to 26 people on the third Friday of each month. Some of the faces in the group of attendees have changed, but new faces have found their way to this delightful group.
Carrie says she is lucky to not only have met some amazing people who attend SWAP, but to also have had the opportunity to work with Teresa and Nancy. She is also grateful that she has a job that allows her to use vacation time every month and (her employer) never grumble(s) even during the busiest times of the school calendar. “We appreciate the fact that Pastor Matt will take time out of his schedule to come and socialize with our group. I invite everyone who needs a day to relax and recharge to come out and spend the day with us. Lunch is on the house, but you may be asked to bus tables,” adds Carrie. Sounds like a good opportunity to me, and the company is awesome also!
1 Peter 5: 2-3 “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers – not
because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money,
but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.”