The answer is: they don’t. That might seem like a strange way to begin an article about our starter kit ministry, but it’s the truth. Pots and pans alone cannot change a life. Rather, as our starter kit ministers will tell you, lives are transformed when God makes His faithfulness known in the simple interactions shared by Love INC teams and those they serve.
Every month teams from local churches use the resources at Love INC to bring dishes, pots and pans, utensils, and other kitchen essentials to our neighbors in need. They help unpack the boxes and make conversation. The teams laugh and weep with our neighbors, hear their stories, and pray with them. As one starter kit minister from Libertyville Covenant Church says, it’s a chance to serve people “in a tangible way and face to face.” Nothing can diminish what a beautiful thing it is when believers put themselves out there in service and, to their surprise, find that the Lord has chosen to use them in transforming a life.
That being said, the stories you hear most often from these teams are stories of how God has used the starter kit ministry to transform them. Tricia, another minister from Libertyville Covenant, says that “…the outreach is reversed. We get the blessing in ways we’d never imagine.”
Kim, a minister from Gurnee Community Church, was candid about her feelings of nervousness and sadness when she witnesses the kind of real need in our community. But she had the most to say about her sense of gratitude. “The experience has helped me grow in stepping outside my comfort zone, and [I have] more confidence in relating to folks/praying out loud.”
About the people she has met, she said she feels “honored to meet these folks – some of whom have been really amazing & they really give you a perspective – not only on your own life, but what others may be going through.” Kim reflects on when neighbors have opened up and talked more. She says, “they’ve been amazing to talk to and hear their stories of courage and perseverance.” Delivering kits is truly a humbling and powerful experience as ministers encounter the way that God has been showing his faithfulness in the lives of those we serve. As Tricia says, “Every client is unique and each has their own story to share.”
If your heart is stirred by this ministry, then we encourage you to get involved! It can be intimidating to take that first step, but these stories show that God is encountered through service, through stepping briefly into the lives of those with a different perspective. There we find God transforming us and showing us that He is at work in this community and in the lives of people we may never have met otherwise.
Be encouraged to step out in faith see how the Lord may use you to transform someone’s life…or use them to transform yours.