GEORGIA | NEW YORK
Four congregations in Georgia—Abiding Grace, Covington; Faith, Sharpsburg; Beautiful Savior, Marietta; and Sola Fide, Lawrenceville—sent a 16-foot truck to Sure Foundation, Queens, N.Y., filled with supplies to help those in need.
Pierce Burton, a 25-year-old member at Abiding Grace, came up with the idea to gather supplies after seeing a news story on Elmhurst Hospital, a Queens hospital in the front line of fighting the coronavirus. He also discovered that they were shutting down food pantries around the city.
“My original plan was to gather a group of people to work at food pantries,” says Burton. But after calling several organizations, he discovered they wouldn’t be reopened at this time. He says he started googling WELS churches in the area to see what else could be done and discovered that Sure Foundation was located just blocks away from Elmhurst.
“It’s so encouraging,” says Tim Bourman, pastor at Sure Foundation. “I got a call from a member at Abiding Grace, and he just had it on his heart. He said, ‘I want to help New York.’ And I was like, wow, what an answer to prayer.”
Many of Bourman’s members work in the gig industry, driving taxis or Ubers or working in people’s homes as nannies or cleaners. They are now unable to work and don’t fall under unemployment—making it difficult for many to afford even staple supplies.
After discovering the need, Burton called his pastor, Jon Scharf, to tell him his plan of gathering food and taking it to Queens. In just four days, members from the four Georgia congregations and some local food pantries donated money and 2,500 lbs. of food. “People want to do something to help,” says Scharf. “It’s wonderful to give people the opportunity, and they have jumped on it.”
Burton then drove the truck to Queens to deliver the supplies. The 19-hour trip (one way) wasn’t without complications. A tire blew out in South Carolina, and someone punched his rear-view mirror in Brooklyn. But Burton arrived safely to Sure Foundation where the pastor and a few members helped unload the supplies.
Bourman is taking the donated supplies and delivering them to the doorsteps of those who need them. “I know the Lord will bring us together as a church,” says Bourman. “I’m hopeful that we will be able to provide the resources people need as well as the spiritual connection.”
Back in Georgia, Burton is now under self-quarantine at home, but he says he definitely wants to do more to help others during this time. “For me, I saw a need that I could fill, and I went and filled it. It’s easy to identify needs right now,” he says. “If I can do that in four days, what else can I do?”
Eternal Love, Appleton, Wis., gathered food donations and turned its community book lending library into a community food pantry.
Sunday school leaders in South Asia made masks for themselves, their families, and for the Sunday school children to prepare for COVID-19. They also shared the masks with their Muslim neighbors. Currently the Sunday schools and the churches are no longer meeting. Pastors of the house churches are delivering food and catechisms to families in isolation.
How have you or your congregation been letting your light shine during the pandemic? Let us know. Send it to [email protected] or upload it to forwardinchrist.net/submit. We’ll feature more stories next month.
Also in the May issue, Jon Hein wrote an article titled “Meeting the needs of others.” Hein writes: “As we seize those God-given opportunities to serve our neighbor, perhaps Christ will give us another opportunity—to share why we do what we do . . . to share the hope we have.” Read more.
Volume 107, Number 05
Issue: May 2020