Missions in the area you live can be every bit as rewarding and fill his Great Commission the same as traveling around the world. I’m Milli Chapel and I am so glad you’re taking time to read how God has worked in my life and I want to share just how easy it can be to do missions. It’s as easy as collecting shampoo.
I was leading a small but energetic youth group in a city where homelessness and hungry people were on most street corners. I bet your thought is of a large city in devastation, no I live in a mid-size city in Montana. However, the effects of various addictions and low wages are plentiful.
My first encounter with Homeless Teens was in a small farming town in California seeing this devastation first hand The numbers for this issue is vast, over 1 million Homeless Teens in America. A large number of them right here where we live.
Let’s Get Started
The youth group would ride around with me here and there and see me handing out meal cards and talking to the people, I’m known for pulling over and just handing stuff out the window. Always be mindful these are God’s People and our neighbors. I will talk about that type of street ministry in my next blog.
It Only Takes Heart
The Teens said, “I wish I could do that” my reply was “why can’t you?”. We discussed how to impact the Teens in our area. Which resulted in Operation Blessing Bags. We started asking for donations of shampoo and other toiletries people had collected from trips, you know those cute travel size ones. We also created a list of items the teens thought they would want if they were in that situation. I did some more research online also. We bought Ziploc bags(the gallon size) and had a very special time packing and praying over who would receive the bags.
Prayer is Important
Prayer is as important as the act of love, it touches the lives of those praying and reaches the receiver before they touch a bag. The Gideons also have a program for Teens called “The Life Book,” as a church group you can order them for free for distribution and this became a big part of our bags. The group would put a sticker and card in each bag with my contact info and wrote a message to the receiver. One of the ladies at church offered to knit caps and that eventually became socks and scarves made by many people.
We loaded a box filled with the Blessing bags into my car and we were ready. We began with the casual handing out of bags at the areas where teens in need and the homeless hung out or hid. As my confidence and the kids’ confidence grew, we began actual outreach (aka. Local mission trips) on a regular basis.
From Words to Action
See it wasn’t a huge event with months of saving and planning but rather putting action into place. Faith and Love fueled this mission! God made provision for all that was needed. I encourage each of you to step out your front door and look around, there is something to do that needs to be done. There’s a neighbor who’s ill or elderly, or you can read the Bible at a Senior community center. If you need something less public to start, clean out your closets and drawers and find a church or non-profit, that can be the first step to finding what God has in store for you!
*Here is a link to a Blessing Bags Checklist, we modified ours to fit Teens and cut costs.