By Jo Ann Carpenter
I have been working in ministry now for over 15 years! Never did I imagine God would use me in this way. While I was learning all He had to teach me about serving homeless and “underserved” men, women and children He also taught me how to raise funds and awareness for the work I do.
This is a funny story. Years ago when I worked at another ministry I said, “I like doing outreach events and working on the “front lines” with the people who need help occasionally, but I could NEVER work on the front lines every single day.” (Frontlines is a term that means working directly with clients day in and day out.)
So what did I end up doing when I first came to Refuge of Hope in 2009? I was working on the front lines every single day! It was a seamless transition and I loved it. Cooking and serving meals was a joy and working with Scott in the shelter was great. The people I met through both of our ministries have been life-changing for me, and I hope for some of them as well.
God took the skills he had given me and used them to help others, and then He stretched me to grow and learn new skills He planned for me to use later on. His design for my life in ministry is nothing that I could have ever imagined for myself.
I am beginning my 9th year in service at Refuge of Hope. On, Tuesday, January 30th, I welcomed our new Tuesday lunch dinner guests to the mission! Some faces were old friends, and some were new people joining us. FYI: this is the third meal we have added since 2009, and each meal filled in a gap where no meals were currently provided to the community on a consistent basis.
Did you know that in the city of Canton there are two hot meals served daily to those in need? Refuge of Hope provides 8 of those 14 meals. That is not bragging at all. It simply says I am blessed to serve others through an organization that continually reaches out to meet the needs of this community.
What would have happened if I had not followed what I believe to be God’s plan for my life? Let me just say, it is not something I ever want to think about it. Right now, in this place, in His service helping others, I am the one that is truly blessed.