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Operation Cooperation Stories: "More Than Filling Tummies"


The tummies are full, and the dishes are cleared away from the table. The last staff encouragement luncheon at Mountain View has come to an end. Throughout this year, a group of GFC volunteers have lovingly prepared monthly lunches for the entire school faculty. Our friends at Mountain View have feasted on homemade soups, savory casseroles, healthy veggies, and scrumptious desserts. As I look back on the work that went in to serving all those meals, I have to admit that I’m tired from the labor…but what a harvest I have gathered!

 

This is my second year coordinating a wonderful group of volunteers in an effort to encourage the Mountain View staff. Before I became a full-time mom, I was a full-time teacher, so I know firsthand how emotionally taxing the job can be. Others I volunteer alongside agree, and the common thread in why we love serving on this team is a sincere desire to spur on those who work tirelessly in an often thankless environment. One of the volunteers once told me that if a teacher goes back to the classroom a little more patient and a little more kind after having been served a yummy lunch, his/her patience and kindness has the potential to reach far beyond the classroom out into our community.


After the food is set out on the tables each month, I get the privilege of sharing a meal and sharing life with those who come through to eat. What I have begun to learn is that these luncheons are about a whole lot more than food! Sometimes I sit back like a fly on the wall and listen to the conversations. I hear about frustrations and struggles; hopes and goals; roadblocks and irritants; achievements and celebrations. I pass these stories along to the volunteers, and we act as prayer warriors lifting up the needs. Many staff members seek me out and ask for us to pray because they know we love them and care about what’s happening on their battlefield. I’ve been asked to pray for students who are struggling and family members who are hurting. Others seek me out simply to say, “Thank you.” It might be for the cup of coffee; for the delicious treats; for the yummy recipe; for the unexpected door prize; or for the listening ear. They tell me about how much they look forward to the monthly events and about the extra excitement that buzzes in the building on the day we show up. I hear about forgotten lunch boxes that weren’t missed because we provided a meal. I hear about the teacher’s family who got blessed with dinner because of our lunch left-overs. These are just a few examples of how our simple meals have touched lives in big ways.
 

Just as I hoped it would be, Mountain View is proving to be the perfect place for me to serve and make an impact for others. What I hadn’t bargained for was it becoming a place where God would make an impact on me. He has used this serving opportunity as a stop on my journey to grow my faith. I’m pretty good at getting things done by myself, but in doing that, I often don’t allow others to help. One of my volunteers told me that when we do that, we steal the joy from others who want to serve. So by making my needs known, others get to share in the blessings by giving of themselves. 
 

God never intended for us to live this life alone, and He never intended for me (or you) to do all the work. He wants us to be available to be used and then sit back to watch what He can do. Each time my volunteers say, “Yes,” to my requests, they are God’s instrument in humbling me and growing my faith that He will meet my needs. When I look at my work through that lense, I see that a lunch fills more than their tummies; it fills my soul.



Dina Drey


                                  

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