Friday, April 16, 2010

Needs a little vanilla...

The City Rescue Mission of Lansing is a faith ministry. What that means is that we do not have any "steady" sources of revenue, i.e. grants, federal/state funds, etc. All our services are provided solely by donations. Bottom line: people choose to give.

What this also means is that sometimes we come pretty close to scraping the bottom of the barrel, but we never have. As our executive director likes to say, "We make people aware of our needs, and if they feel God desires them to give, they do."

A few weeks ago, Roger, our director of operations needed to go make a run to one of our supporting churches. This church keeps one of our yellow "Mission barrels" in their lobby. There are a few churches and organizations in the area who host these food collection barrels for us. Volunteer drivers or our director of operations will make a run out to empty them as the need arises (see our website homepage,, for video).

This day, Roger happened to notice, as he was picking up the bags from the barrel, a bottle of vanilla was laying all by itself. He tucked it into a bag, and as he left the building to continue his errands, he thought about that bottle of vanilla. It's not a usual donation; most items we get are boxed or canned goods. He wondered just how they were going to use that solitary bottle of vanilla.

As he arrived back at the Mission and began unloading, Kevin, one of the cooks, walked past from the kitchen.

"I'm heading out to the store, Roger," he said, "I need to pick up a bottle of vanilla."

Imagine his surprise when Roger reached into a bag and handed him the vanilla. Such a small, ordinary thing that symbolizes the amazing experience of relying every day on the Lord's provision. Whoever gave that bottle could hardly imagine it would arrive at the perfect time. But that's what God's timing always is, perfect.

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