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Posts Tagged ‘Vicky Nicholau’

BakeandTakeOn Saturday afternoon, June 8, I slipped into church briefly to pick up some books from my office and bumped into two women wearing vinyl ponchos and carrying cookies. It was Vicky Nicholau and Susan Bethel, just coming in from the “Bake and Take,” which is part of the way they are bringing the Kingdom of Heaven to Richmond, Virginia, this year.

It doesn’t sound like much, does it? Baking cookies and taking them to your neighbors? But these Kingdom-Bringers are learning how quickly the door swings open when you are carrying cookies, and what sweet conversations can ensue.

Here’s the letter Vicky sent out the next day:

Thanks to everyone who weathered the pouring rain Saturday to bring your cookies to church. And, a special thank you to Karen, Krista and Susan for helping me deliver to the many businesses on Broad Street.

Lots of sunshine followed us into a beauty salon, Direct Auto Insurance, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, the U-Haul office, an auto shop, two private homes and several other businesses. Everyone was so happy to receive their treats and one business gave us a small donation. We also invited three children to join us at Vacation Bible School the week of June 24. The woman at the U-Haul told us she listens to Dr. Somerville on TV each week (I invited her to join us “live” one Sunday).

How blessed we are to have the opportunity to share God’s love and abundance with so many.

Thank you for being a blessing to others!!

Praise Be to God!!

Vicky

As I said, it doesn’t sound like much, but then again a mustard seed doesn’t look like much, and yet Jesus said the Kingdom of Heaven was just like that—a small thing that grows to become more than you can imagine. Who knows how the seeds of the Kingdom were sown as these cookies were delivered and these conversations were carried on, and who knows what results might come from something as simple as a Bake and Take?

God knows.

The rest of us will have to wait and see. Better still, we can find our own ways of scattering the seeds of the Kingdom. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be something as simple as sharing vegetables from our gardens, giving away free lemonade on a hot day, inviting neighbors over for a backyard cookout, or taking the time to listen to someone who needs to talk. As I often say, “There must be a thousand ways to bring heaven to earth.”

Find one!

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cookies3Today is Saturday, and it seems like the perfect day to talk about “Bake and Take”–a simple way to bring a little taste of heaven to the neighborhood.  Thanks to FBC member Vicky Nicholau for writing the article below.  Enjoy it, and then–if you’re in the mood–bake something and take it to your neighbors!

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“Bake and Take” was listed on the KOH2RVA web site as something one could do to help bring the Kingdom to Richmond. It sounded like fun and a way to include folks who wanted to do something for the Kingdom, but couldn’t find their niche. Since there was no one to contact, I decided to put some feelers out there to see who might be interested. Well, I wasn’t the only one who loved to bake.

In December, we started as a small group by baking cookies and distributing to our neighbors on West Grace Street. People who were home welcomed our visit and the goodies as well. We were able to deliver 20 dozen cookies to our neighbors. Included in each bag was a calendar of the upcoming Christmas events at First Baptist Church: this was our way of informing them of the activities we were having and inviting them to join us during the Advent season.

At the Ministry Fair, 14 additional people signed up to participate in this ministry. . . wow, that’s a lot of bakers!!!

So, in February, with a lot more hands, we distributed 16 dozen cupcakes to agencies around our area. Four dozen were delivered to the Ronald McDonald House; 7 dozen were delivered to the Espigh Family Shelter for Women, along with children and staff members; and 5 dozen were delivered to the Home Again Men’s Shelter. The guys were so excited they came out to the car and helped us take the cupcakes to their dining area where they immediately started to open and taste them.

One of the new members, Debbie, said, “I joined the Bake and Take Team because it was one way I could help bring heaven to earth. While I am baking I can almost see the smiles on the faces of those receiving the homemade treats.”

Claudia remarks, “even though Jeff and I will be out of town for the next Bake and Take, we signed up because we felt this was one small way we could help share the Joy of the Lord in the community and help to brighten someone’s day.”

Lori . . . ” the reason I did it is because I love to cook and bake. I’m not sure that is a spiritual gift but people enjoy the fruits of my labor and I enjoy sharing it. It’s the best of two worlds. Plus homemade is from the heart.”

The Bake and Take Team currently meets the first Sunday, every other month (December, February, April, June, etc.). We decide as a team what to bake and where to deliver. In April we will be taking cookies and cupcakes to Beauty Salons and Veterinary offices in our area.

It’s impossible not to be a “cheerful giver” when you’re spreading the good news and sweet treats to those in our community!

Vicky Nicholau

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cookiesThis is how it happens.

Somebody has an idea for a new ministry, for a new way to bring the “Kingdom of Heaven to Richmond, Virginia.”  She tells a few close friends who encourage her to “go for it.”  The next thing you know she’s got a booth at the annual ministry fair, telling people how much fun it is to “bake and take cookies” to our neighbors here in the Fan.

It can happen just like that, and for Vicky Nicholau—it did.  Take a look at this email I got from Vicky on Sunday.

Hello Everyone,

Thanks for stopping by the “Bake and Take” table at the Ministry Fair this morning and for signing up to volunteer, it is so exciting to have more hands to help with this ministry.

As stated in the handout, we gather every other month at the church to assemble the baked goods we make at home. Once they have been bagged/boxed, we will take them to our neighbors in the Fan or surrounding areas.

In December we were able to deliver 35 dozen cookies to our neighbors on West Grace Street along with a copy of our Advent Calendar. On February 10, we will meet again to package muffins or cupcakes (your choice) for distribution to the Ronald McDonald House, the Women’s Emergency Shelter and the Men’s Emergency Shelter. I will forward more specific information no later than Wednesday, February 6th.

Let me know if you are able to participate this month for either the baking, taking or both. Our next gathering will be Saturday, April 6.

Again, thanks for your support and I look forward to spending time with you as we help bring KOH2RVA.

Blessings and Joy,
Vicky Nicholau

Doesn’t that sound like fun?  And even if you didn’t make it to her booth at the Ministry Fair, I’m sure Vicky would be glad to have your help.  Just send an email to enicholau@aol.com and let her know how you would like to participate.

Me?  I’m thinking about volunteering for quality control.

Somebody’s got to taste those cookies.

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Update: Saturday, February 9, 2013

Thanks to all of you for making today’s Bake and Take get-together so wonderful.  We were able to provide cupcakes, cookies and muffins to the following locations:
 
The Ronald McDonald House   –  5 dozen assorted goodies
 
Home Again Men’s Shelter – 9 dozen (they were so excited, they came outside and helped us carry them inside).
 
Espigh Family Shelter for Women and Children  –   8 dozen assorted goodies.
 
Everyone was delighted to receive their treats and thanked the team for their kindness.  The weather was perfect and you could see God’s Kingdom shining down on Richmond today.
 
Blessings to all of you for the giving of your time and talent.
 
Vicky

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ChristmasPresents2In the 5:00 service on Christmas Eve I talked about the “season of giving” and questioned why we give what we give. Is it because we want to, or because we have to? I talked about the worst gift I ever gave (an ugly homemade hat for my brother Scott). I talked about how “generosity begets generosity.” I read The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. And then I said this:

I wonder if generosity will beget generosity in this season. I wonder if God’s gift of himself will inspire us to give. And I’m not just talking about money, although that figures in. Money is a symbol of what we value. We pay $20 for something because we think it’s worth $20. How much is God’s love worth to us? What will we give in return for the gift of his son?

I love Vicky Nicholau’s answer. She told me that last year she was in Hanna Zhu’s Sunday school class, where they studied the book, Christmas Is Not Your Birthday. It’s not, is it? It’s Jesus’ birthday. The more Vicky thought about that and the more she wondered what she could give Jesus at Christmas the answer became clear: she could give him herself.

Last summer she was baptized in the James River and this is what she said: that her baptism was a symbol of giving herself to Jesus. Maybe it shouldn’t surprise me then that of all the people I see working to bring heaven to earth on our year-long, every-member mission trip, Vicky seems to be the one who is doing it most joyfully. She seems to be giving herself away like that tree—apples, limbs, and trunk. And you get the feeling that if Jesus would come and sit down on her stump when she’s through giving herself away, she would be happy.

What about you? Will generosity beget generosity? Will God’s gift of himself inspire you to give yourself away? And will you give because you want to, or because you have to? There’s a difference, and the one who receives your gift will surely be able to tell.

December 25 is a couple of days behind us at this point, but it’s still not too late to give your gift to God.

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I had to leave Grace Fellowship early last night to get to my next event, but that’s a shame, because there was some very gracious fellowship going on in the dining hall at First Baptist Church.

Vicky Nicholau, who has been doing this for years, welcomed everybody and asked for prayer concerns and praises. I was impressed by how she was able to call almost everybody by name in a room with more than a hundred of our homeless neighbors present. And I was impressed by the diversity of that group: there were black people and white people, old people and young people, men and women and a few I wasn’t sure about, but when I stood to pray I said, “God, there isn’t a person in this room who isn’t precious to you,” and I believed it.

I got the feeling that everybody who was volunteering last night believed it, and that made it possible for our guests to believe it, too. Again, I was impressed by how many people were able to call each other by name, just like they do at Wednesday night church suppers. But this was a Thursday night, and the people in the room didn’t look much like the ones who come on Wednesday. They looked happier, if that’s possible. More grateful. If you had been in that room I think you would have agreed that the Kingdom of Heaven came to Richmond, Virginia, at least for a little while.

I slipped out in time to get to the University of Richmond to hear John Kinney and Ben Campbell speak at the annual Weinstein-Rosenthal Forum on Faith, Ethics, and Global Society. Their topic was: “From Hurt to Healing: Forgiveness and Hope in Metropolitan Richmond.”

Ben talked about the hurt; John talked about the healing.

The way Ben tells the story Richmond has been deeply divided by the issues of race and class almost from the beginning. He talks about Jefferson proclaiming that all men are created equal and Henry saying “Give me liberty or give me death” while Richmond was becoming the largest slave market on the eastern seaboard. He talks about how decisions made in the latter half of the last century bulldozed some of Richmond’s traditionally black neighborhoods and pushed its poorest citizens into ghettos on the other side of the new Interstate.

There was plenty of hurt to talk about last night.

But when John Kinney spoke he said what would get us from hurt to healing was forgiveness of the past and hope for the future. I’ll probably need to save that for my next post because those are huge topics, but I hope you will pause and say a prayer for Richmond today, asking God to forgive us for some of the atrocities committed in the past (and there were atrocities), and to give us hope for a different kind of future.

The prayer itself might be a first step on the road to healing.

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