Medford Members Serve as God's Hands

July 20, 2015 | Amy Meythaler

God often speaks through impressions. When His people listen and respond, amazing things happen.

In Medford, Ore., the homeless population is significant. From standing on street corners to pushing carts through parking lots, their presence is quite visible. 

As winter was approaching, Laura Mancía, Valley View Church children’s ministries director, wanted to get the children and youth of the church involved in a service project. “I prayed for just the right project, and I felt impressed to focus on the homeless," she says.

Mancía knew the homeless in her area were going to need warm socks, gloves, hats, hygienic supplies and food to make the cold weather more bearable. She formulated her ideas and presented the project to the church family. Her plan was met with overwhelming support.

Soon church members had arranged and collected enough donations to fill 20 bags. Items included socks, gloves, hats, hand sanitizer, hygiene supplies, food, water bottles, first aid kits, flashlights, rain ponchos, hand warmers, Bibles, Christian literature and much more. Additionally, Valley View’s Good Neighbor ministry, which delivers fresh and healthful food to those in need living in the Rogue Valley, provided fresh fruit. The next step was to obtain bags.

“We wanted a sturdy bag to put these items in,” says Mancía. “I then remembered when my husband [Walter Mancía, Valley View Church pastor] and I were at a ministerial conference in Arizona, we were given a bundle of It Is Written reusable grocery bags. These were the perfect witnessing bags to use for the project."

One Sabbath afternoon, a group of more than 20 children, youth and adults gathered to assemble the bags. The following week, three teams distributed the bags to some of Medford’s homeless population. 

“The very first bag we delivered was to a man walking through a parking lot,” shares Mancía. “It was a rainy, overcast day, and this man looked destitute. My husband approached the man and asked him if he’d like some food. The man was filled with gratitude. As he came to our vehicle to receive the bag, the man said he was hungry and wet. My husband told him there were socks and many other items in the bag. As this homeless man tried to hold back his tears, I will never forget the words he kept repeating: ‘How did you know?’”

Through the work of the Holy Spirit, the Valley View Church young people were directed to just the right people. It is Mancía’s prayer that these men and women who received the bags will be blessed and find comfort and peace in the Word of God.