Neil Lampi, member of Seattle First, offers this thank-you note for the tithes and offerings that financially support our shelter ministry. Stay tuned for more thank-you notes and information on making your financial pledge for 2011.
What does your offering do? What happens to what you give? As we all continue to pray about and reflect on our financial commitment for 2011, we will be receiving thank-you notes from those who want to express gratitude for something made possible by tithes and offerings to the ministry of SFPC in 2010. What Winston Churchill said is true, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” And that’s not just our own life.
FROM NEAL LAMPI (SFPC member, Shelter Coordinator):
I paged through some past shelter logs in preparation for today’s expression of gratitude.
I found many inspiring stories from the Men’s circle, which is what brought me here to S.F.P.C.
“Often one can feel the presence of the Holy Ghost, heavy in the air, as men share the depth of their pain or joy. The invitation for God to reveal himself as we still ourselves and unpack some of our lives in check-in never seems to fail. Many men have come to see circle as a vital part of their recovery from, addictions, depression, anxiety, and loneliness.
Often men too troubled to contribute much nonetheless find a place in circle. Personally I have a chance to pull back the veil of trivial pursuit, as well as my feeble attempts to appear to have it all together, recognizing the importance and centrality of God in my life.”
There is more to this Shelter than the circle, there are the ladies from Bellevue Foursquare who offer a listening presence, our nursing team who soothe wounds, and touch men’s hearts hardened by the bitter alienating brutality of the streets.
Jan Baugh offers the men a new look and a needed sweater or coat, sizing them up for a good fit, doing her best to prevent fashion calamities. Keith vacuums, steams, and washes all of the sheets, and Bonnie hovers like the Matriarch of the Shelter she surely is.
To everyone who has made this possible, we say a huge thanks. Your faith in the unseen has materialized as hospitality extended, in much the same way we all depend on God’s grace. From each and every one of us to each and every one of you, we say, thanks, and may God Bless you!
Chris Ijiomah (SFPC Member)
My name is Chris Ijiomah. My husband Daniel and I have been coming to SFPC for a couple of years now. We were so excited when Jill Vanderwal started the Community Play Space for toddlers on Wednesdays. Being a first-time parent, and the first parent among many of our friends, it can be difficult to find opportunities for Olivia to interact with other toddlers. Play Space provides a nurturing environment for Olivia to make friends and learn social interactions – like how to share the goldfish at snack time. Halloween dress-up parties, pumpkin patch outings and crafts are just a few of the activities we have been able to participate in. Play space has also become a meeting ground for parents to talk about day-to-day life with a toddler, be it good days or struggles. Thank you so much to everyone who has given to help financially support Play Space. (That is everyone who has given in 2010 to God through the ministry of SFPC.) Thank you also to Jill for taking the time to develop Play Space and create fun activities for the group. Her warm and friendly personality welcomes newcomers, helping parents form relationships within the community. With Jill’s hard work and perseverance, I have watched Play Space grow from a few kids to a full house. We feel truly blessed to be able to partake in this wonderful experience. Thank you again for helping to make it happen.
Mandel Medina (SFPC Member)
Good morning. I would like to talk to you briefly this morning about how the fact that Seattle First Presbyterian Church is here helped me in a time of great need. You people, this family of believers. I’m a Union Carpenter. On Sept. 15th, 2008, I was layed off due to the economy. I got by for a year or so. Eventually, I was losing the battle of keeping up with my finances and taking care of my little girl, Lacy. At this time, I was taking as many side jobs as possible, and using up all my savings to pay my bills.
I kept faithfully tithing during this time, and staying active here at the church with work parties and helping with events. But the smile on my face was a facade that hid how I was doing. One Saturday during a work party here at the church, I received a phone call from a contractor I previously worked for. I was expecting a paycheck. My bills, rent, utilities and insurance, were all past due accruing late charges. I was completely stressed, and counting on this paycheck. He told me that he didn’t have the money, and it would be several weeks before he could pay me. During our heated phone conversation, a friend came out to invite me to lunch. My reaction to him was less than kind. The importance of this paycheck was critical. After that day’s work party, I went home and dropped to my knees and cried out, ” Lord Father, I need your help. I need to know you are here.” I had no more facade left in me. I had hurt a dear friend and severed a friendship earlier that day. I said, “Lord, I am not myself anymore. I am a man lost in worry, and pain. Lord, where are you?” With my face buried in the carpet and my voice gone from crying out, I was an exhausted, broken, puddle of a man left on the living room floor.
Minutes later, the phone rang. Reluctantly, I answered. It was Pastor Jeff calling to thank me for helping at the work party. Immediately he sensed the strain in my voice. Concerned, he asked me what was wrong. I filled him in on my financial situation. Pastor Jeff said, “Let’s pray that you get some physical and mental rest tonight.” After we prayed, I thanked God and Pastor Jeff. He ended by saying,” Come by the Church Monday, and bring your bills.” Sunday I was scheduled to greet. I went to Church and greeted everyone with hugs, smiles and handshakes. After service, Ron Reese gave me food from the pantry. When I went home and unpacked the canned goods and various groceries. As I put them away, I realized I was smiling, and for the first time in a long while, I wasn’t wearing a masked smile. I felt the Holy Spirit rush over me, and knew that God had been with me. I had no worries that Monday was going to work out just fine. Monday, I met with Pastor Jeff. Bills in hand, we made a plan. He explained what the Deacon Benevolence Fund was and why it is there.
My bills were paid because of the people like YOU! I made it through a very, very hard time in my life. Now, I can proudly help others with my donations, my pledge, and certainly my heart. I thank you all. I look forward to being a part of Seattle First Pres. and our future together.