Ginghamsburg family, we are a people who love Jesus and do something about it. It’s why every Christmas we commit to giving our Christmas Eve offering away. We trust that God will provide our needs as we love our neighbors on purpose. In 2020, during the heat of the COVID-19 pandemic, our Christmas Miracle Offering funded the Utility Assistance Program via our non-profit partner New Path – helping to keep the lights on for so many struggling to pay their utility bills. New Path has been a lighthouse for so many – and is committed to going beyond tangible resources to help families develop the financial skills needed in a crisis.
Your generosity is making a significant difference in the lives of real people. This week we’re giving you a front row seat to more of what’s happening on the inside and have invited Mary Casey, New Path’s Financial Assistant Ministry Manager, to share her story.
Mary writes: “The Financial Assistance Program currently operates from the New Path Pantry in Tipp City, Anna’s Closet in Troy, and The Piqua Chamber of Commerce – making the program as accessible as possible. We are seeing a significant number of individuals seeking financial assistance for the first time. Typically, these folks struggle along on their own until some unforeseen event occurs – most often major health issues in the family and/or loss of work due to COVID – impacting their ability to hold a job and reducing the amount of available income for their utilities and rent. A byproduct of this is older parents taking in grown children and grandchildren on their limited incomes. The usage of water and electric increases in the household, stressing the grandparents’ household budgets.
As part of the application process individuals fill out a form that describes their personal “story” which yields a wide range of responses: job loss due to COVID, health issues, divorce, a recent birth, and grandparents taking in grandchildren to name a few. Just today a seventy-four-year-old grandmother came to ask for help with a utility bill, having recently taken in her daughter and two grandchildren because of spouse abandonment. She read me a poem she had written and shared her entire life story. Before she left she asked me if she could pray for me. She held my hand and recited a lovely prayer.
I applied for this position while living in Florida. My son lives in Tipp City, my grandchildren attend the Ginghamsburg Christian Preschool and Childcare Center and my husband of 37 years had just passed away unexpectedly. I was moving back to be with my family, looking for a church and googled “Ginghamsburg!” This position has been a God-send for me. I am finding that not only do the individuals appreciate receiving financial assistance, they want to talk with someone about what is going on in their lives. Every day I feel blessed to be here to help, to listen for the ones who need to share. It seems to bring them comfort and I know it helps me with my own grief.”
Friends, Mary’s story is a reminder of the impact those Christmas miracle dollars are generating. Generosity doesn’t just change the recipients; it transforms us in the process. It’s why I am challenging you here in July to prayerfully consider what you will give away this Christmas - perhaps as much or more than you spend on your own family at Christmas – as my own family is planning to do.
Throughout the country and around the globe I’m aware of many who have experienced the pain of the pandemic and the many shock waves of its effects on life-giving resources. My prayer is that this year we will be part of God’s restoring what the pandemic has stolen.
Last week, our guest speaker Rev. Renard Allen, along with his congregation – St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church – have already committed $2,000 to this year’s offering! May St. Luke’s commitment to God’s mission through Ginghamsburg sow seed for an outpouring of generosity among us!
Loving Jesus together with you,