Today's post comes to us from CARE for AIDS Board member and advocate, Michelle Slatton.
As we trained for our CARE for AIDS meal packing event, the supervisor told us that the sign of a successful event was if everyone left with lentils in their shoes! Packing against the clock would result in the scattering of lentils across the floor and into our shoes. It became a personal goal to make sure the contents of my shoes reflected success!
Last Sunday, over 300 people from our church - from 6 months to 83 years old, gathered to pack over 50,000 meals for CARE for AIDS clients. CFA had been the mission focus at our church for the month of November. Over the course of the month, our congregation learned about CFA through stories of the CFA founders, through the eyes of a young girl whose mother was a CFA graduate, and through the grateful hearts of CFA clients. The packing event gave our church a tangible and immediate way to respond and connect with CARE for AIDS.
We all had a vague idea of what we were in for “packing rice and beans.” Walking into the room, set up for the event, we were handed hairnets and learned that the first shift would be packing 30,000 meals in an hour, indications that this was serious work. Each of the 12 - twelve foot long tables had a table leader and all the necessary equipment to pack the meals. It was quite impressive to see how intentional each step of the packing process was, including the accommodations made for the youngest and oldest to make valuable contributions to the process. Many of the five and under group dated the bags before they were packed or added the nutritious Himalayan Salt to the lentil, rice and dehydrated vegetable mixture. The team running the event filled the room with music, leading the cheers for each box completed, and challenging the tables to a three box competition. Pictures of CFA clients’ children ran across the screen reminding us that healthy parents can raise their own children.
The packing event provided an opportunity for us to talk as families about people who are shunned or ignored and how Jesus always went TOWARDS the people who everyone else went AWAY from. We all received prayer requests from CFA clients that gave us the opportunity to move towards those people in Kenya who everyone else is moving away from.
So you might wonder if our event was a success… I took off my shoes when I returned home after the event and smiled when I saw the lentils fall on the floor.