Wednesday, August 24, 2011

George Mueller Living

Five months ago, my husband became the chairman of the Food Share ministry in Ojai called Operation Blessing.  I had volunteered for this ministry several times in the past so I knew a little bit about what we were getting ourselves into. But I had no idea the amount to which it would challenge my faith and prayer life.

Operation Blessing distributes food once a month to local low-income families. We averaged 120 families a month.  The families receive a banana box of non-perishable foods and local produce. We also receive commodities from USDA and on occasion we will have frozen meats and cheeses.  The amount of food given to each family is designed to assist them and give them some breathing room in their budget so they can concentrate on keeping their utilities on, etc..

As Dustin has made changes, some responsibilities have fallen to me since he is unable to get work off in order to accomplish theses vital areas. I have become the "shopper." Once a month I go to the Food Share warehouse and buy all the foods needed for our monthly distribution.  I have made a conscious effort to focus on healthy staples and have eliminated the sugary desserts, juices, and other "junk" food.

Most Americans do not realize that there is a serious food shortage coming our way.  Items such as rice, beans and peanut butter will become high demand items in the near future.  The strain is being felt by the Food Share community as federal funds have decreased 50% this year and will decrease another 20% within the next year. All that to say that I have been intently praying for the commodities that we need most.

Last month I asked God for peanut butter. We hadn't seen any peanut butter jars for 3 months.  When I walked into the warehouse, I was shocked. Three-fourths of the palettes were empty.  I walked to one of the palettes that had food and the box read, "Peanut Butter, Jelly and Honey."  I was ecstatic. I put the max 10 cases on my cart and when I looked across the aisle, I saw a palette full of peanut butter cases which meant I could get another 10 cases!  It was like Christmas for me. Thank you Lord for hearing my plea for peanut butter. Then I thought, why did I stop at peanut butter? I should have asked for our other needs as well. As I am beating myself up for not having enough faith, I tell God that we could use canned vegetables too. I had not even finish the thought when the forklift put down a new palette behind me.  A full palette of CANNED VEGETABLES! Oh how I was rejoicing. (BTW, every box that said it contained peanut butter, jelly and honey, has only had peanut butter so we have double the amount we would normally be allowed to have.)

Today was another one of those moments. I took inventory of our pantry earlier this week and decided to bring to God the needs of the pantry. I had a little scrap of paper with four items written on it. Four items that have been in scarce supply and if found, I would need to get the maximum amount allowed.  Once again God proved his faithfulness by having all four items ready for me to purchase for our families. And He proved His extravagance by having boxed cereals; a commodity we have not seen in over 6 months. 
Oh the richness of our God!!

Matthew 6:31-32

New Living Translation (NLT)

 31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.

Philippians 4:19

New Living Translation (NLT)
19 And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.