BEing the church is still what God calls us to do today. But what does that look like? One day each week we will hear stories from within our Cross Creek community, of people who are taking intentional steps to BE the church to their community. This week we will hear from Ruth VanGorder and what BEing the church looks like in her life. She currently serves with Project Urge and a ministry called MINO. Here are a few questions we asked and Ruth’s answers:
Can you tell us what spoke to your heart about serving your greater community in this way? Was it the people you would be serving or maybe the cause itself?
Ruth: Years ago my family served with Project Urge and the Bread Run ministry they had at the time. While our daughters were young, we felt led to intentionally provide experiences for them in a culture and community that was different from our own. This ministry provided food and supplies to various organizations in inner city Rochester. We delivered food each week to 10 homeless shelters, women’s and children’s centers, halfway houses, etc. Our children played with and prayed with children who looked and lived differently than they do. We served as a family delivering meals to locations that we would normally never visit. We served for several years and then, sadly, life became so busy with transporting children here and there that we no longer had our Saturday mornings free. I have missed serving within the inner city and surrounding communities tremendously. As we are now empty nesters, I wanted to be more intentional about how and where I served and really begin to listen more intently to the prompting of the Holy Spirit in this. The Spirit led me to again reach out to Project Urge and get reconnected. They sadly no longer have the Bread Run Ministry, but they do continue to have MINO (pronounced Minnow) – Mothers in Need of Others. Instantly I knew that God was leading me to serve with this ministry. As a mom of two girls, my heart is tender to new and struggling moms. I was feeling called to give back. I was blessed to have such a village surrounding me while we raised our girls. I simply felt God leading me to share the blessing with other moms.
This is a very behind the scenes ministry that serves Rochester and the surrounding communities by providing for the basic needs of families in need. I say behind the scenes because I am part of a team of devoted volunteers who coordinate the needs and supplies to help support these families. There are over 300 Social Workers who call us with the urgent needs of these women, children and families. The ministry provides for the basic needs and makes connections to surrounding organizations that can help provide for their other needs. I am able to drive into the city each week and know that I am playing a role in easing the burdens of struggling moms and families. It is not my job to do everything, but with this ministry, it is my job to do what I can and I am happy to know that many, many families are blessed because of each volunteer who serves.
Has this experience changed you at all? How so?
Ruth: I do think this experience has changed me. It has reminded me that I don’t have to LEAD everything. I can use my gifts as an encourager to equip Maria (the coordinator of the ministry) to persevere through the challenges of this huge ministry. I have learned to go with the flow and to arrive each week having no idea what I am going to need to help with. I have learned to kind of love that. In almost every other area of my life, I either plan, organize, create or lead…and with MINO, I simply serve!
Are there any verses that come to mind when you think about serving in this way?
Ruth: There are two verses that inspire me to live a life of service:
“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But, do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’”
“Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am. Send me!”