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Meeting Needs

With the Mega Millions lottery jackpot being so high this week I overheard many conversations on how people would spend the money if they won. I even entertained a few grandiose daydreams myself!  I noticed that most peoples’ hypothetical plans for their winnings involved doing really nice things for other people.  And let’s be honest, with that much money it makes sense to not just spend it on yourself.

The safety net of millions of dollars emboldens people to dream big and give big. It’s nice to be able to facilitate that kind of a blessing.  However, as I heard these conversations on the charitable work people would do with a jackpot it occurred to me that God’s provision is not limited to lottery winnings.  He has everything at His disposal.  But while a hypothetically fat bank account might give us the courage to take risks and be generous, so often in the real world we hesitate to do big things because logic dictates otherwise.  I’ve noticed that following logic and following God often take us down different paths.  And sometimes, because we feel like we can’t accomplish anything big we don’t even try to do something that is within our means.

We can’t all win the lottery and donate millions of dollars to a cause. However, with the money and talents we do have, plus a bit of faith, God can multiply our efforts exponentially and in ways that defy logic.  “Go big or go home” can be a counterproductive mindset if all God has called us to do is show up.  We don’t need to have all the answers before we begin.  It can be scarier, but the adventure is worth it.

I have a friend who is living an adventure like that right now. Her name is Maiya and she is leading a life that defies logic.  Her willingness to just show up has been blessed daily in tremendous ways.  Over the summer Maiya left a job that was no longer the right fit.  Parting ways with her employer happened quickly so Maiya didn’t have another job lined up.  However, there was provision from a severance package, and Maiya peacefully embraced the opportunity to slow down and enjoy life between jobs.

Maiya’s idea of enjoying life does not revolve around pedicures and eating chocolate cake all day. Instead, she began driving into Charlotte each morning to feed the homeless and see what needs she could meet.  Through these breakfast conversations she heard their stories.  As expected, there are people who are on the streets because of devastating addictions or mental illness.  But for all of those stories there are also stories of people escaping domestic violence, people looking for employment, or people who lack the support of a loving family.

With the Lord blessing her efforts, Maiya began to receive donations of clothes, food, blankets, and other items. She also made connections with local restaurants, picking up food that would otherwise go uneaten.  Out of the trunk of her vehicle a new organization, Need Meeters CLT, was born.  It exists, quite literally, to meet the needs of the people that Maiya and other volunteers encounter in the Charlotte area.

One such person, named Jason, is currently living in a tent while he attends online classes via his smart phone. Because of Need Meeters CLT he has had practical needs met—like food and clothes, but he has also begun attending church and starts a job tomorrow!  It’s not just about hand-outs, but rather connecting people together.  What began as Maiya serving breakfast to the homeless has turned into an exhilarating network of people helping people with Maiya serving as a facilitator.

I stopped by her house today to chat and drop off some items. I listened as she rattled off names and clothing sizes and other miscellaneous tidbits about her upcoming week.  She chuckled as she mentioned that she should start writing this stuff down so that she doesn’t forget anyone.  Donations are beginning to take over her garage, but they get turned around quickly to those who need them.  Maiya frequently remarks about how she tends to have the exact items that are needed each day.  It’s amazing how God orchestrates it all!

She talks about the people she meets like they are actual people. Not statistics, not vague “homeless people”, and not untouchables.  Rather, she gives them dignity just by recognizing they too are people created in God’s image.  I admire how excited she is to do so because I confess it’s an area difficult for me.  Seeing someone on the streets makes me uncomfortable and I don’t know what to do even if I do feel sympathetic to their needs.  I am grateful for Maiya and others like her who do have a heart to minister to a group of people that I haven’t figured out how to actively serve.

I think there are others like me who feel similarly—we recognize that there is a need but we don’t know personally what to do about it. Maybe we have resources to give but don’t know who to give them to.  That is the beauty of Need Meeters—they find out the needs of people and fulfill them from the supply of donations that keeps coming in.

So these days Maiya is working part time as a teacher in a refugee school, and driving around the Charlotte area meeting needs. She is curious to see how this ministry will continue to evolve, and she has faith that God will continue to supply her own personal needs as well.  Though her current season defies logic, Maiya keeps pressing on fearlessly.

It is good that there is a diversity of passions and callings, otherwise we’d be tripping over each other to just meet one of society’s needs and ignore the rest. Maiya has certainly found her niche—have you?

Beyond serving the homeless and less fortunate there are so many needs waiting to be met in the world! Encouraging one another, physically volunteering at charitable organizations, donating to various ministries, rescuing victims of trafficking, providing jobs to those who want to work, taking care of the disabled, etc.  Most of us don’t have an endless bank account or boundless energy, but we have what we have.  And what we have, when multiplied by God’s goodness, is actually just exactly the right amount to make the difference that God has called us to make.

 

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For anyone who is interested in hearing more of Maiya’s stories she writes daily on Facebook and Instagram (@needmeetersclt) .

https://www.facebook.com/NEEDMEETERSCLT/

Anyone local who would like to donate goods, you can contact her on social media or send me a message and I can connect you to her. There is also a go fund me page to help with expenses like gas, insurance, fruit from the grocery store, and other miscellaneous needs of running an organization.

https://www.gofundme.com/needmeetersclt

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