Stone Soup- Christmas Day!

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

May I share with you some notes and observations from Asbury United Methodist’s last Stone Soup Mission Service of 2016, held Christmas Day, December 25th.   From knowing and working with the individuals and families who served this day I know they are not all on this email list, however I feel they will know our and God’s Thanks for their help.

God worked in the lives of 82 people this Christmas Day in the basement hall of Quapaw UMC.  Wasn’t the largest crowd God has ever worked with … however knowing God does work within us one on one, his work was awesome.

While our Asbury folks are always amazing to me and teach me so much, each service is indeed different and teaches in a different way as Jesus does in parable.  One thing which is consistent this service and throughout the years are the smiles and genuine desire to do whatever has to be done by Asbury’s volunteers to take care of those we serve.

Threatening rain outside, all showed up – with smiles – and lit into preparations.  The Asbury congregation had come through with clothes, gloves, hats, glasses and many other goods, enough so that we built a manned table area in the back of the hall to sort and serve one on one.  Chicken and Dressing was the main dish of the day, but Asbury just had to add our little extra on the day.  Chris brought turkey to cook and carve.  To our normal added PBJ we added smoked ham and cheese sandwiches too.  And added fresh fruit to hand out as well.  Asbury’s communion the midnight before had a couple of leftover loaves of bread, so Megan and crew had the task of cooking tasty crouton snacks out of the body of Christ.  Good conversation starter.

We prayed over volunteers who wanted to serve in our pre-mission, the Living Water Ministry, and opened the doors early so patrons could come inside and sit, and engage in simple talk.  As the hall got ready, our boom box played Christmas songs and some of our children danced and sang.

Images roll through my mind of Miles cranking open cans with gusto, Preston wiping sweat off his brow from bending over the stove, the talks and laughs around the cutting and fixing area as Sheri, Christy, Missy and all prepared.  Ann Marie going from person to person making our volunteer list.  Chris with an electric carving knife.  The Dawson family carrying in loads of gifts from the church and the Wall family and Todd sorting and manning the tables.  Jaxon, Christian, Katie all coming up every few minutes wanting to know how they could help next.  Asbury had 28 Volunteers come down on a Christmas Day to as much worship and give thanks as they did to serve.  From 1:30 till a little after 4 it was indeed a kaleidoscope as everyone did everything to make everyone feel loved and welcome multiple times.

Was a very interesting mix of those we served this day.  The percentage of homeless in the hall was much greater than some prior services.  Backpacks, bags, carts.  When you find old clothes in the trash can and know some changed into new clothes just given it does make the heart warm and sad too.  It is so cool to be able to go table to table and see people smile and laugh.  It is so cool to see Asbury members and kids sitting down at the tables with patrons and having a great time as if they were family friends.

It is cool to have patrons Bless You, shake your hand, hug you and see the same going on through the hall with others.  It is cool to know God was with us all.

Of the 82 God worked with at Stone Soup this Christmas Day, 54 came for a meal.  I’ve got to say that 54 was not a small number.  It was the number God needed us to love this Great Christmas Day.

Please be in prayer for those we meet and watch for an upcoming note on Asbury’s 2017 Stone Soup Mission dates.

God Bless You,

Greg Stansell

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