In an effort to follow in Jesus’ footsteps, the Mount Vernon Baptist Church Women on Mission group is striving to be good Samaritans. Just as the Samaritan did not wish to pass by the injured man beside the road, these women feel they need to minister to the homeless, many who they pass on their travels.
Melissa Ezzell is the member of the Women of Mission group that shared the idea with the ladies. She found a similar idea on the Internet on a website called Pinterest.
Ezzell said she, as well as many others, feel so uncomfortable when they come to an intersection, such as the off ramp on I-40 in Warsaw, and see a homeless person asking for help.
“You feel so uncomfortable and have mixed emotions about what to do when you see someone that is homeless and asking for help. You do not feel giving them money is appropriate because they may use it to buy cigarettes, alcohol or drugs. But you feel so guilty if you do not do anything. You are not being good servants of Jesus Christ,” asserted Ezzell.
She explained that she found an answer to her dilemma on the website. “The idea of the Blessing Bags just popped out when I was on the Pinterest website. I felt that this might be the answer to what to do about helping the homeless in our community,” noted Ezzell.
The women have made 24 Blessing Bags already. Women on Mission director Margie Hill shared that Sampson Sheriff Jimmy Thornton had told her here we many homeless in the area. “‘Often there are people that we see every day that may be homeless yet we do not even recognize it, that’s what the sheriff told me. When Melissa brought this idea to us, the ladies jumped on it and ran,” expressed Hill.
The group plans for those ladies who are willing to take Blessing Bag and keep it with them in their vehicle. When they see someone in need, such as a homeless person along the road, they will share the bag with that person. They are also leaving a few bags at the church for the pastor to use when someone comes needing assistance. “We have talked with Sheriff Thornton and told him we would like to provide Blessing Bags for his deputies to carry with them. When theycome upon someone that is homeless, they can share a bag with them. They know where many of the homeless are staying,” stated Hill.
Cyndie Flatovich, Women’s Missionary Union director at Mount Vernon, said she was excited about the project the group has taken on.
“This is just one project that these ladies and the other mission groups here at Mount Vernon do. But this one is special because it meets the needs of both the homeless and the needs of those who want to do something but do not know what to do. We are a mission-minded church and that is what we are supposed to be doing. That is why something like the Blessing Bags are so important. They will help us to spread the news that we care about them but more importantly that God cares for them,” expressed Flatovich.
Just some of the items included in the gallon bags are: deodorant, a wash cloth and body wash, lotion, socks, bottled water, toothbrush and toothpaste, chewing gum, snack crackers, tissue, a flashlight and a salvation tract.
As a part of the women’s contribution to Operation Inasmuch on Saturday, April 28, the Women on Mission plans to invite Thornton, or his designate, to come to the church so they can present to him Blessing Bags for his officers to take with them on the road.
“We plan for this to be an ongoing project,” explained Hill. “This is what we are all about — doing missions. We want to keep missions as our focus as we strive to lead others to know Jesus Christ as a part of their lives,” stated Hill.
The Mount Vernon Women on Mission donated the items for the Blessing Bags themselves. The group numbers around 20 ladies from the church that is located on N.C. 403.