How different would our community look if we had more people who were being led by the Holy Spirit; to seek out and pour into the lives of those living in poverty or the homebound? What difference would it make in their lives? Or would it make a difference? Many adults and children in our community hardly receive a smile or a friendly gesture on any given day, much less prayer or guidance in what could be a relationship with Jesus. With the world being full of hurt and constant grief, where are they supposed to find hope? There are plenty of people that walk by them each day without acknowledging them as people who are in need of a Savior. His Storehouse Ministry has changed for many people in Spartanburg.
His Storehouse Ministry is a ministry of Church at The Mill created over a decade ago. The idea behind the ministry was to provide daily essential items to those who could not afford to purchase them and welcome these people to the church for a time of fellowship and encouragement. Over the years, the ministry has evolved to fit the changes of the lives of those that are served. Now, the ministry has transitioned into having volunteers deliver the bags directly to those who need them. Through this intentional delivery strategy known as EMBRACE, volunteers have the opportunity to learn more about the emotional, physical and spiritual needs of the people as they serve and minister to them.
Mike & Mary Loftis have been volunteering with His Storehouse for three years and have embraced many neighbors in need. Each relationship has turned into being more like extended family rather than just someone they see and serve once a month. Many neighbors call the Loftis’ just to check in to have a conversation or if they are in need of assistance. The couple says, “it is both touching and humbling that they feel comfortable enough to contact us with a need.” The neighbors often seek guidance from the Loftis’ for certain needs beacause many lack family or friends that offer Biblical wisdom. In their effort to serve, Mike and Mary try to provide recommendations, solutions and pray with them for wisdom in their circumstances.
From the beginning, they chose to serve as a couple. Over time, it has helped them learn and appreciate each other’s skill and gifts as they minister to others together. At one time, they served over 30 neighbors in need which took teamwork and coordination to deliver at a consistent time as neighbors needed their bags every month. Many neighbors have to completely rely on the ministry for the delivery of items that they are given each month like toilet paper, toothpaste and deodorant because of circumstances like being home-bound or having financial issues. It’s been humbling for the couple as they receive prayer and verbal praise to God from their neighbor’s and that has shown them the fruit of their hard work – that the people see Jesus.
Belinda is one of Mike & Mary’s neighbors that they serve. At a recent cookout hosted at Church at The Mill for neighbors, she read a poem out loud that showed her gratitude to the ministry and volunteers. Belinda wrote, “I also want to recognize and thank Mr. Mike & Ms. Mary for when they brought bags out to my home they were concerned and kind. They would talk and ask me questions to see what was on my mind.” She continued to share how the ministry has been a blessing in her life; like a rainbow in the sky. The ministry has put many people in her life who have cared for her and have concern for her physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. It has provided genuine care that she had not received from others. For Belinda, the ministry provided more than just a care bag; it provided the great blessing of extended family members.
Mike and Mary are a great example of what it means to be the hands and feet of Jesus as they take the church to the community in an effort to provide the need for one-on-one discipleship. Mike says, “many think that in order to do mission work that one must board a plane and fly to a distant country. While foreign mission work is essential for spreading the gospel, there is much that can be done in this community to spread God’s love. By volunteering with His Storehouse, you are able to assist in providing household needs, but, more importantly, you can demonstrate God’s love to others and build a lasting, meaningful relationship with a neighbor.” The His Storehouse Ministry encourages volunteers to completely rely on the Holy Spirit to lead them as they go into the tough parts of our community to share hope. Join the ministry in telling and showing them that they are worthy by praying with them, hugging them and showing them the love of Jesus. Embrace a neighbor in need and be the change in their life.