I think it starts as a seed, an idea that is planted in your heart somewhere throughout your life. We all have a purpose, a gift, our own journey that leads us to salvation. Along your journey you will meet like-minded people; people who share your passion and vision. You will form bonds that last a lifetime and bonds that last for only a season. Nevertheless, the work you do will change people’s lives. The key to success, in all that you do, is obedience to God’s will.
Fast forward to February 08, 2014, iCare Team Members set out on a mission to find homeless people to provide them care packages and offer prayer. As we stood in Michael’s kitchen, hand in hand, asking God for His direction, we had no idea what to expect for that day. All we had were care packages and a common passion and goal to do God’s will. Michael’s words of encouragement eased some of our anxieties, as he assured us that whether we serviced one person or 100 people, our efforts would be fruitful. It’s true. The effect you have on one person, does not stop with that person; it continues to the next person that they effect and so on. Many reap the harvest of the seeds that we plant in other peoples’ lives when are obedient to God’s will.
We only had a couple of leads to various locations where homeless people lived throughout the city. With four cars and trunks full of care packages, we followed each other to the different areas. After a couple of hours searching, we were only able to find areas where someone had created makeshift beds for sleeping.
Cold, but still determined, we kept looking. Finally, we found a gentlemen sitting off to himself, and the exuberance of servicing one person flooded in. He graciously accepted the care package and the prayer we offered. In sharing with us his needs, he informed us that the Salvation Army delivered meals to the homeless in that particular area around noon, and that there would be more people there at that time who needed care packages. Although, Michael prepared us for the possibility of only finding a couple of people to service, we were thankful for the opportunity to service more.
Once we returned to the area the gentlemen informed us about, the Salvation Army was already there serving food. Meeting the Salvation Army Team was like a purposed moment. Not only were we able to service more people, but we got a chance to meet people who were just as passionate to serve as we are. After introductions and sharing a common cause, the Team allowed us to follow them to their next stop.
In total, we were able to serve around 12 to 17 people with toiletries, blankets, sleeping bags, snacks, bibles, and prayer. We were graciously met with thank you and God bless you, from these people who are sometimes forgotten. Sometimes they are overlooked, as we rush by them consumed by our own daily activities and thoughts. When they were individually asked if they had a prayer request, almost every time, the request would be for better times for everyone. It was never just about themselves. I believe it is important to remember that the homeless people are made up of indiviuals, who all have their own story. It’s our duty to be aware.
The iCare Team is made Kingdom Builders from numerous churches, different races, ranging from various ages with one common goal, to serve God. With the help of Mr. Curtis and Mrs. Lynn Jones we were able to store some of our donated items at Victory Baptist Church, which also allowed us to meet and assemble the care packages. Christian Jones from Christian Photography captured the cause through photographs. Jeremy Purkett was our project manager, ensuring the outreach operated efficiently. April Smith and her son, Trevor, was instrumental in gathering the donation of supplies we needed for the outreach. And of course, Mr. Michael Sutton is the director of the entire mission, as iCare began from his vision. We also had two new comers that volunteered their time, Derek Sawyer and Casey Dyer. And I am your messenger, Shurica Poyner.
Here are few thoughts from iCare Team Members who serviced the homeless over the weekend:
Michael: “I can’t really explain this weekend’s ministry moments. It’s totally awesome to see people of different backgrounds come together for one common purpose. The one purpose was to serve this present age. To see the joy and smiles on the faces of those we were able to serve with blankets, sleeping bags, etc. was indescribable. I’m humbled that God would choose iCare Global to do such amazing work.”
Lynn: “Wow, sums it up. We are such a needy person, think about it. [We] Got to have the latest smart phone, ipad; and what about the shoes: rain boots for the rain, warm boots for the cold, and don’t forget the snow boots for the occasional snow, [and] don’t forget the many different styles of shoes for many different outfits. And how about [being] too lazy or tired, so lets go through the drive through or better yet lets go inside and have someone wait on us. The homeless are so rich in love, caring, and the thankfulness that comes along with the gift of a sleeping bag some crackers and a bible. Rich in being humble [and] hard working for just a few dollars, to maybe buy dinner that night. I will think before I do a lot of things now, because there is a life to learn from and grow from and that would be the homeless of Elizabeth City, NC . I pray that the Lord gives me the wisdom and the compassion to make a difference in my community.”
April: “I was all pumped and excited to offer those less fortunate some items to help not only their physical needs, but their spiritual needs also. I never imagined that MY soul would be touched and changed so drastically. I can’t explain the feeling other than it just feels wonderful. I am in awe of the resilience and faith of those we met and can only wonder if I could be that strong if faced with the obstacles they endure each and every day…..”
Christian: “This day to me was perfection. I got to capture moments that could teach people something, and I got to help people who were less fortunate than I am. This is a close passion of mine and I am so happy that I get to do it with such an awesome family as iCARE.”
Trevor: “If you’re not making someone else’s life better, then you’re wasting your time. Your life will become better by making other lives better.”
― Will Smith
Shurica: “There are churches in this area who serve hot meals, we have two shelters (where people volunteer time), clothes drives, and other services where people come together for the common cause. Personally, this was my first time servicing the homeless, and I am still so overcome by the experience. The concept of serving the community is not new, however the impact of the experience is new every time someone new reaches out to help. The genuine passion that my teammates exuded, the gratefulness that the homeless people showed, the helpfulness of the Salvation Army Team, and just the whole ambience of the day was just so aspiring to the pursuit of doing God’s will. In short, it was amazing.”
Photography credit goes to: Chrisitan Jones at https://www.facebook.com/Christianjonesphotos