Wesley UMC’s Manna Station serves with food, fellowship, hope and love

By Cassius Rhue

COLUMBIA—The spectacular power of God to move hands and hearts into action was on display on Dec. 6 at Wesley United Methodist Church during their monthly gathering to share love, hope, fellowship, food and Christ Jesus with guests through Wesley’s Manna Station.

As we gathered to serve, it was amazing to behold how many young men and young ladies gave up a warm and comfortable bed, or other activities, to be the hands and feet of Christ. As the morning went on, youth from various ages and parts of the city came out to lend a hand.

Parents, fraternity brothers, sorority sisters, pastors, churched and un-churched, members of Wesley UMC and Virginia Wingard UMC, other area churches, executives and retirees alike brought in toiletry bags, coats, shirts, jeans and shoes. I watched as volunteers prepared rooms for dinner, sorted clothing donations and fixed meals with a sense of joy and purpose. The toiletry bags were filled with a pair of socks, soap, toothbrush, deodorant, washcloth, toothpaste and sometimes a hat or other small gift item. It was also amazing to see the great quality of the donated items, such as shoes and coats, which contained the original price tag.

The Spirit of the Lord was upon this place and the wonderful power of God took hold and control. After covering ourselves with prayer, we opened up to serve.

Men, women, youth, children and even a 5-month-old infant were among the honored guests. Each servant offered first and foremost the love of God, the grace and tender mercies of Christ and a warm smile. We also offered food, a cool drink and cookies. All of what we have done is a testimony to how much we have been loved and how much Christ loves each guest and servant.

As we prepared to close, elated from the outpouring of support and the abundance of help, we were reminded that the need continues to be great. Our last guest was someone who learned only hours earlier that their father had died, and this news came only a short time after uncovering his real identity. For the next hour we listened to the hurt pour out from a wounded 49-year-old heart that has lived in the streets since the age of 15, battled addiction, struggled to suppress and then understand why she was lied to and molested for over 10 years, and now wonders, "Does God care?" Over and over we sought ways to show love, empathy, care and the eternal truth that God knows our pain, hears our cries, and that Christ is His answer to the question.

Indeed this weekend demonstrated that there is much to celebrate during this season: joy, fellowship, service, the birth of Christ and love. It also demonstrated that there is also much to be done.

May Christ Jesus give us all the strength to trust Him and spread the Good News to a hurting and wounded world, wanting desperately to know "Does God care?"

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