Members of Hope,
I'm excited. Time and time again, when people have had need, you have responded mercifully, showing Christ's love and compassion as you were able. Last year, when a lady and her family fell on hard times, you responded with a door offering that collected a few hundred dollars for her. When earlier this year, a family lost their house and all their posesssions in a fire, you responded with donations totallyng around $350. When a mother with four kids, two of whom are disabled, needed a huge amount of help to avoid having her power shut off, you came up with over $500 toward her $800 bill and with help form a couple other sources, we got her power turned back on. That's fantastic. It really is. And it's what the Church is meant to do: show Christ's mercy.
As people hear about how the members of Hope have helped people in this community, word has spread. I regularly get calls from people needing assistance of every kind. Someone gave me $200 a couple weeks ago that he received for doing work which he thought was volunteer work. We've used that money to help find lodging for a lady getting out of an abusive situation and to help two others struggling to pay power bills. The word is getting out. You are earning a reputation around town: These are people who care, people who will help. Awesome.
At the council meeting last night, we discussed making this a regular opportunity for those interested. I'm tentatively calling this network of mercy Hope Cares. Here's how it will work. Anyone who would like to be part of this network can tell me whether they'd like to be contacted via phone or email. Then, whenever anyone comes to me with a need, I'll have them fill out a little paperwork, and I'll pass that need along to the network. If you are willing to help in any situation and have the ability, simply give me your contribution (cash or check made out to Hope is fine). I'll then get a check from the church made out to the collector (utility, landlord, etc.) and deliver it to the person in need.
If you don't want to be a part of this network, this is the last email you'll get from me asking you to opt in, so you don't need to worry. If you would like to be a part of the network, though, even if you cannot help each time there's need, simply reply and let me know whether email or phone is the best way to reach you (or both).
Thanks for your generous outpouring of mercy when there have been needs, and I look forward to what God can do through you in the future.
And, readers of this blog, if you're in the Jerseyville area and would like to participate, let me know via email.