THOSE LITTLE THINGS                                                                                                                  Andy Hollifield 10-8-17

Judges 7:15 And it was so, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream, and the interpretation thereof, that he worshipped, and returned into the host of Israel, and said, Arise; for the Lord hath delivered into your hand the host of Midian.

I think this verse probably illustrates the thought I have better than probably any in the bible. I began to think about “those little things” that God often gives us for assurance that we are doing what we are supposed to do. There have been a lot of occasions in my life when I would know in my heart what the Lord wanted me to do but in my mind I still needed some reassurance. What has brought this to mind recently has been making the preparations for our trip to Texas. H.O.P.E. Ministries was asked by the pastor of Ray’s Chapel Freewill Baptist Church in Weaverville, to help their church organize a trip to Texas to take backpacks to school children in the areas that were affected by Hurricane Harvey . This was one of those things that Eric Sams, the pastor, called me up one day and said “let’s go to Texas”. My immediate response was “ok, what for?” It was then that he explained what the Lord had laid on his heart. He said that he would like my help so we could run it under my ministry name and also because I have had some experience with disaster relief trips and organizing projects with my own ministry as well as having been a volunteer driver for Hearts With Hands.

As we begin to make plans to go, due to various things going on, we decided that mid October would be good for one reason because that is when those kids are starting back to school. We settled on the date and before we even had an ad on the radio, the Lord was sending in funds for the trip. Within a few days or a week at the most, Eric had already been given enough to cover the rental truck expense and the fuel. That was one of “those little things” that let us know we were on the right track. Another one of “those little things” was that a church that was in another county, called to get an address where they could mail a donation. I knew the pastor but hadn’t seen him in several years and his church isn’t even one of H.O.P.E. Ministries supporting churches. As we began to mention our trip in different churches that we went into, financial help continued to come in. We even had another local ministry give us nearly 200 backpacks that had already been filled. About 125 of those were filled by a young boy that got a burden to help kids in that area and did a school supply drive. We were going to be working in different areas from Hearts With Hands and that is why the boy wanted to give us some backpacks. The honor of being asked to help finish the last phase of that young mans efforts was a very humbling experience for me. It was also one of “those little things” that helped assure us that we were on the right track. As time went on, we were even contacted by a local home school group about possibly taking school supplies they were collecting down to a home school group in one of the towns we are going to in Texas. Again, we were honored to be asked to transport those items.

As we began to try to get stuff together we began to get a lot of other community support and all of it was not monetary. Eric was able to get a couple of businesses in Marshall to serve as drop off locations for people in that area that wanted to donate items and one of the businesses even started a drive among their employees that has proven very helpful. We also have had some significant help from a few local retailers. One of them, upon finding out what we were doing, gave Eric an incredible buy on school supplies. The other was able to provide us with gift cards to help and also made a donation of supplies. Another one was able to provide us 300 drawstring backpacks. I am hesitant to name the businesses without their permission but will in an upcoming ministry newsletter if they will allow us to. Of course, when you try to do a big project for the Lord the devil is going to fight. As I began to look for the tracts that our ministry keeps, I found only a couple hundred. I searched our storage building more than once opening every tote and box we had, still with no luck. I knew I needed to order more for our Christmas projects and when I called it was looking like I would get them in time for our trip but not in time to put in the backpacks we were putting together. I have ordered from Lifegate Inc. out of Monrovia, Indiana for years but have never received my order in less than a week or two. When I ordered over the phone Monday, I told them I needed them as ASAP but I would take them when I could get them. They never printed them until Tuesday because that was the day I approved a proof they had emailed me with some changes on it. I had told them about our trip and I am not sure how they did it, but my tracts arrived on Saturday by 3 day priority mail. That is just another one of “those little things” that God lets happen just to increase our faith.

We have had several individuals and churches help either financially or collecting supplies or both. As a matter of fact, when Eric’s sister came to the church last week to do a video for Facebook.  She decided that we could use a mobile POD to store the stuff we were collecting in. We have also received donations of baby clothes and other items. Shady Grove Baptist Church in Flag Pond, Tn. even provided us with about 40 backpacks and one of our supporting churches, Pleasant Hill Baptist in Weaverville, has their youth gathering supplies and filling backpacks for us. The youth of Ray’s Chapel have filled a lot of the backpacks for us also. We were realistically hoping to have 500-1000 but now it looks like we will be in excess of 1300 backpacks.

From having done mission work since founding H.O.P.E. Ministries in 2002 and also helping Operation Outreach of Pleasant Hill years ago before founding H.O.P.E., and driving for Hearts With Hands, I have seen quite a few of these “God things” as I like to call them. I even remember once with Operation Outreach, we had a trip going to Harlan, Ky the next Saturday and we had no food to take up there. With a few phone calls and some weak faith on the Monday before the trip, I saw God provide us with a whole 28 foot trailer packed out with food and other items by Friday morning of that week. You just can’t out do God! Every time I see him provide “abundantly above all that we ask or think” I am amazed. Like I mentioned in a recent article, I shouldn’t be surprised when God does it, he said he would if we would ask with faith believing. Nevertheless, I count it an honor and great privilege to be involved in another project where God is just showing up and showing out just because he can. It is also an honor to be working with one of my supporting churches and their pastor to do this. Please pray for us that God will give us safe travels and will put the stuff we take in the hands it needs to be in. Also pray for all the folks in Texas that we are coordinating with as they try to recover and also serve their community. Also, just because God is blessing, don’t quit giving. It isn’t every day that you get to be involved with something the Lord is blessing so much and doing “those little things”to keep us going and encouraged. That is what he did with Gideon, letting him hear the dream of the Midianite. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

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