You don’t have to travel to faraway lands to be a missionary for Jesus Christ; all you need is a jar of soup to give to those who are hungry. The Arden Street Ministry of the Arden, N.C., Church began September of 2019, with three individuals walking through downtown Asheville, N.C., passing out lunches to the homeless. The 30 lunches consisted of sandwiches, chips, boiled eggs, homemade cookies, bananas, and water bottles. Within 45 minutes, the food was gone.
The Arden Street Ministry is an ongoing, active ministry involving individuals from different denominations, and some who claim they don’t want anything to do with organized religion. All age groups participate in passing out food, from young teens to those in their late 70s, taking Jesus’ Word to heart, “For I was hungry and you gave Me food to eat.”
There are volunteers from all four of the local Adventist churches (Arden, Fletcher, Hendersonville, and Mills River). To date, more than 840 lunch bags and 250 soup jars have been distributed in Asheville. With the weather getting colder, the ministry began collecting coats, warm clothes, gloves, socks, blankets, sleeping bags, and countless hand warmers that are given each week with the food.
Along with delivering food, the group offers to pray with their new friends, asking for specific concerns to bring to the Lord. The homeless rarely share their real names, but they do share their prayer needs. Housing, health issues, reuniting with family members, opioid addictions, and mental issues are just a few of the prayer requests.
“I love your shirt,” said Gypsy, a vibrant and outspoken street friend. “Your group really lives up to your shirt message.” On the front the message is simple, “Servant of Jesus.” On the back, the words, “We are His hands to serve those in need,” really resonates with people.
In October, they began adding five Glow Tracks to the lunch bags. They have since passed out more than 2,000 tracks. Members pray every time they pack these small pamphlets, as they have the potential to change lives with their message.
“I am thrilled to see so many respond to us,” said Gail Bremner, Arden member. “Every Friday, the minute the van opens up with food and clothing, they gather around and start choosing the supplies they need.”
“It’s a thrilling feeling to make soup and sandwiches for so many each week,” shared Marji Strickland, a Methodist friend, who for years has been praying to be part of an active ministry feeding the homeless.
The group asks for prayers that the Lord will supply a truck for their ministry that can transport the food, water, blankets, and all the coats and clothing each week to Asheville. And, more importantly, they ask for prayer for their new homeless friends.
Carolina | February 2020