KOH2RVA: Day 282

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!

KOH2RVA: Day 261

Women Build

Is pride a sin? And is it a sin for a pastor to be proud of his people? If so then you might as well lock me up now because I am guilty, guilty, guilty.

Take a look at this picture. These are the women of First Baptist (and a few others) who participated in Habitat for Humanity’s recent “Women Build” in Richmond, which Habitat explains like this:

Women Build is Habitat for Humanity’s program for women who want to learn construction skills and build homes and communities. This program brings together women from all walks of life to address the housing crisis facing millions of women and children worldwide. No experience is necessary!

On the front row: Eleanor Dodson and “the ladies who brought lunch” (Jeannie Williams, Margaret Payne, and Lu Treadwell). Second row: Mary Ann Delano, Emily Johnson, Resa Hillman, Millie Barnes, Marquita Edmonds (homeowner). Third row: Whitney Guthrie (from Habitat), Liz Southworth, and Lori Bianco.

Mary Palmer, who sent this picture, says: “The house is a two story with 4 bedrooms. It’s lovely. The building our ladies built was the backyard shed. They did a great job. Bob Palmer was in charge of the build that FBC participated in this year.”

Thank you Bob and Mary. Thank you Jeannie, Margaret, and Lu for bringing lunch. Thank you Whitney from Habitat for being there. And on behalf of Marquita Edmonds, homeowner, thank you Eleanor, Mary Ann, Emily, Resa, Millie, Liz, and Lori for swinging some hammers, driving some nails, and putting God’s love into action.

How does the Kingdom of Heaven come to Richmond, Virginia?

One blow at a time.

KOH2RVA: Day 232

EG2At the end of worship yesterday Lori Bianco slipped me a folded piece of paper with a KOH2RVA story written on it: an account of a moment when the Kingdom of Heaven came to Richmond, Virginia, and she was lucky enough to have a front row seat.

She wrote:

The family I nanny for was going through some old clothes to give to Goodwill, and I asked if I could have them for a little girl who lives in an apartment complex where a friend of mine lives. She always has a big smile on her face, even though I always see her in the same outfit, and all through the winter, only sandals on her feet.

I brought over a box and a bag full of little girl treasures. When I knocked on the door, the children could not open the door since they were babysitting for their little sister and their mom was sleeping. I told them I would come back in a little bit.

I went across the road to have tea with a family from Egypt, and saw her little face pressed against the window…waiting impatiently for me to come back.

When I went back I was immediately let into the apartment. I put down the box and bag, but they were hesitant to look at it all. So I started to pull out the different things. This adorable little girl smiled at everything I brought out. Then I pulled out a pair of Barbie sandals, and her eyes grew large, she sucked in her breath, and her face lit up with the biggest smile possible.

Her Egyptian mother, who spoke very little English, repeated “God bless you!” over and over.

This was by far the highlight of my week, and the blessing I received from them far outweighed the little that I did for them.

When we do things like this—simple acts of kindness and generosity—we often take people by surprise. They want to know why we would do such a thing. That gives us the perfect opportunity to say, “Because of Jesus. Because this is what I think Jesus would do.” If they know who Jesus is, it might cause them to think about him in a different way, not only as someone they’ve seen in pictures, hanging on a cross, but as someone who comes and gives smiles and hugs and Barbie sandals to little girls. And if they don’t know who he is and say, “Jesus who?” Well!

That’s the perfect opportunity to tell them.