Feature

So Real You Can Taste It

We Will Love

By

These are days of hardship for many people in our country. It only takes a moment to see a person’s need when we look at them through the compassionate eyes of Christ—but it takes action to fulfill those needs. As Jesus moved among people, He saw the emptiness in their eyes. He felt the hurt of their hearts. He had compassion on their condition (see Matt. 9:35–38). A Christian filled with the compassion of Christ is a distinct contrast to the callous hearts hurting people often encounter.

In 2008 Vallejo, California, was the first U.S. mid-sized city to file for bankruptcy. Though Vallejo is in the process of restoration, there has been an increase in the homeless population and an even larger increase in the number of working poor. In this troubled city, members of New Hope Church Community (Alliance) are alleviating the distress of the brokenhearted, working in the harvest field with the love of Jesus. As the church demonstrates the compassion of Christ, God is restoring hope, dreams, and joy.

Linda Sims, who led a feeding ministry in Oakland, California, with her mother before moving to Vallejo, felt that God wanted to reach souls through a solid meal. Her deep desire to show—through a good, hot, nutritious dinner—the love of Christ to those who are hopeless, homeless, or hurting resulted in the birth of Eliashib (Hebrew for “God will restore”), the feeding and clothing ministry of New Hope.

Assisting her is Linda Goins, who knows where many homeless people sleep and hang out. In addition to her work with the Eliashib ministry, she loves to take sandwiches to various places in Vallejo where the homeless gather. Ruby Benjamin is the other person who makes up this trifecta of tender-loving kindness. Ruby is an abatement officer for a neighboring municipality, where it is her job to evict homeless people who are squatting in abandoned homes. Her work through New Hope gives her an opportunity to display compassion and grace.

Together, these three powers of love organize an array of volunteers as well as shop, cook, and collect clothes. During the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons they go the extra mile to prepare a theme meal and also prepare the food baskets that help many get through the holidays.

A large percentage of those who rely on Eliashib are not homeless people but the working poor. Members of this population have a place to live but find that their paychecks don’t meet their basic needs. Many tell us that a hot meal from the church helps them to stretch their dollar. Increasingly, this segment of society includes families with small children who are looking for a little assistance to make it through each month. Eliashib has applied to partner with the Solano County Food Bank to supply groceries to those who have a kitchen in which to prepare food.

The outreach ministry also connects with residents of the transitional homes in the community. New Hope is located in mid-town Vallejo, which has a large number of residences for people who have been placed in halfway houses or discharged from addiction-treatment or mental-health facilities. The feeding ministry serves as a respite for those who care for and house our transitional residents day in and day out, week after week.

“Our men and women are not welcomed by many or at many places around town,” says Mel Quintanilla, a worker at House of Acts Ministries, which focuses on alcohol and drug recovery and relapse prevention. “New Hope has opened their hearts and provides good home-cooked food with a smile and with great music, too.” (One of the benefits of eating at the church is that the New Hope choir practices at the same time and can be heard in the dining area.) In addition to House of Acts, a local women’s shelter, a home for autistic adults, and some foster care homes often come to eat with us.

A number of people have received Christ and even joined New Hope after they have attended the feeding ministry. The Harvest is indeed ripe, and in this case, the laborers are ready.

love

We Will Love

The essence of our calling is summed up in a single word: Love. In a world that has romanticized and sexualized love, the church has a beautiful opportunity to show the love of God Himself. Yet, each local church must ask, “Have we confused being ‘nice’ or ‘neighborly’ for being truly loving? Do the people of our community see us as a loving people? Are we dependent upon the Spirit to live His loving fruit through us?”

2 responses to So Real You Can Taste It

  1. Thanks for sharing this story of true laborers of love right here in our community. I am inspired, and encouraged to do more for others.

  2. Pahat wonderful words of kindness and description of New Hope Church Community. PAstor Terrence Nichols is a blessing to have at the forefront!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Past Alliance Life Issues

Share

Get Involved...

Pray.

We cannot “Live the Call Together” unless prayer is central to all we do.
Pray with us »

Serve.

Is God calling you to service? We’re here to help you connect your passion with God’s purpose.
Serve with The Alliance »

Give.

Help build Christ’s Church by supporting the ministry and workers of The Alliance.
Give today »