Day 24 – I Love My Community (my favorite night of the month)

I love our community. This little town has won my heart. Growing up in California was great, but there is nothing like small town southern living. When I first moved here I didn’t understand why people kept waving at me when we passed eachother in our cars. Surely they thought I was someone else. I found out fast that people in the south are just friendly. They will invite you in, feed you and offer to help in anyway. I just love Galax. 

Four years ago I led a lifegroup over the summer called Servolution. It was based on the book by the same name http://www.servolution.org. This book changed the way I thought about serving others. We had free yard sales, handed out water bottles at parades, handed out popsicles at the park and flip flops at trailer parks. We collected and handed out supplies to local flood victims, we loved our community and looked for ways to serve. We also hosted our first free community meal. The first meal was nerve racking. The idea was to have it the last Wednesday of the month, when the Soup Kitchen didnt serve and when some people were waiting on pay checks, assistance and food stamps. As a teacher I understood how hard the end of the month could be. We wanted to have the meal by having people in our church donate all the food and supplies. The early stages were rough. I worried about everything. Would anyone come? Would we have enough food? Would people come back? I planned and planned. I walked around Galalx passing out flyers and inviting everyone I came in contact with. I learned very quickly that I had absolutely no control over theses meals. We always had plenty of food, plenty of help and plenty of people. What I didn’t realize was how special and important these meals would become. The Bible says that we should meet together and encourage one another. And that is exactly what the meals have become. We have been having these meals on the last Wednesday of every month for four years now. We have served everything from hamburgers to tacos. We have served on Christmas, New Years, in all kinds of weather. We have always had enough food whether there was 50 people or 400 people. We have had birthday parties and baby showers at these meals. We have sent home food and delivered meals. We have laughed together , cried together, eaten together and strengthened our community. Through it all God has taught me so much. I would love to tell you all about it but it would take a years worth of posts. The most important thing I have learned is that when you serve your community and come together in food and fellowship you are serving God also. Although many physical and emotional needs have been met over the years at the community meal, I can’t help but be overwhelmed by the friendships I have formed with both members of my church and members of the community through these meals. I look forward to seeing them every month and hearing about their life, both good and bad. The sense of community grows stronger when you meet together, lift up eachother and meet eachothers needs. You can put a price on the frienships I have made at these meals. According to Dictionary.com, a community is a social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government, and often have a common cultural and historical heritage http://www.dictionary.com/browse/community These meals have taught me so much about the true meaning of community. Community is listening to a mother talk about her son who has been getting into trouble and sending her home with a plate to feed him. Community is the friendship you form over coffee and the letters you receive from people. Community is the family who sits down and eats together at the meal with no TVs, cell phones or distractions. Community is the young mom who needs clothes and diapers as well as a hot meal. Community is giving people the chance to serve and give back even when they were the ones being served at one time. Community is watching kids get excited about serving (and eating the desserts). Community is feeding 400 people at the Thanksgiving Meal with people from all over our area. Community is throwing birthday parties and baby showers. Community is moving families and blessing others. The free community meals do much more than feed people. It strengthens the community and strengthens my faith in God and serving others. I encourage you to come eat and serve with us sometime! I might even save you a piece of cake. (Given to me by a friend last week. A reminder of what is truly important to me and where my passion is to serve others and this community) 

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