The Pulse

GFC Community,

During yesterday’s message, we looked at Matthew 6:1-4 and how Jesus calls His followers to be marked by open hands and open hearts. As a tangible opportunity to respond to what Jesus says, I shared about a ministry called Restore Ukraine that is currently seeking to mobilize resources from East TN (primarily clothing) to send to the city of Kharkiv to meet the overwhelming needs of the people who live there. We invited any who desired to donate their coats and/or shoes on the spot or to run home and bring those items back before 4 pm.

The response was overwhelming. I found myself just flabbergasted at the volume of donations when I walked into the church building yesterday afternoon. We couldn’t fit it all in one hallway! Bags of clothes were being shoved into meeting rooms and various nooks and crannies. Multiple families, unplanned, gave their afternoon to help us receive and bag donations when the amount far exceeded what we were expecting.

This morning, our staff met with Yaro Hnatusko, CEO and co-founder of Restore Ukraine, to help load the donations into his not-big-enough vehicle (there had to be multiple trips). The items are being organized and housed at the Goodwill Donation Center in Kingsport. They will be shipped to Ukraine at the end of the month, where they will be inventoried by Restore Ukraine staff and distributed to those in need. Even though the items will arrive in springtime, Yaro said the clothes will be useful right away and will also help prepare families for next winter.

Seeing all these bags on bags on bags was such a beautiful picture of the generosity of our body. Still today, I feel so humbled and so grateful to be a part of this community! There’s nothing like the local church. Truly. And this response was a window into just how much our people desire to show love to those outside the walls of GFC.

We’re no longer accepting donations, but if you’d like to learn more about Restore Ukraine and how you can help, you can do that here. Let’s keep giving ourselves to building a community to reach a community…for His glory.


P.S. Speaking of reaching, we have a team in Kigali, Rwanda, right now training a small group of pastoral leaders that our church has been investing in over the past year. Please pray for protection, for wisdom, and for impact this week. May Jesus be big!