Letting the light shine through

By Becky Spell Vann - Contributing columnist
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Does the light of faith and love shine beautifully in you? This story stirred as I wrote messages in Mother’s Day cards and prayed about completing a series of stories about Good Samaritans, both Biblical and modern day folks living among us in Sampson County and beyond. One Mother’s Day card asked a question that made me ponder, “Are you a Beautiful Blessing in this World”?

Three Good Samaritans — beautiful blessings — came to mind like pop ups on my computer. Ruth whose husband and sons passed away and she stayed true to her mother in law, Cathy whose husband passed away and now she spends her days and nights as a care giver, and Mike who served our country, retired after four decades of government service, and volunteers at Tim’s Gift.

Ruth’s story unfolds tearfully, tenderly, and triumphantly in four chapters found in the Old Testament. God took care of Ruth through hard and happy times with her light of faith and love shining beautifully through it all. She married, was widowed, faced a famine, moved to another country with her mother in law, cared for her, gleaned leftovers in fields where Naomi told her to go, met Boaz, got married again, had a son who was in lineage of Jesus, and lived happily ever after.

Ruth could have gone home to her people as Naomi’s other daughter in laws did, but she chose to go whither thou goest and remain true to her deceased husband’s mother.

During my teen and young adult years, I sang ‘Whither Thou Goest I Will Go’ in more weddings than I can recount. Often, as couples pledged their love to one another, my thoughts were centered on Ruth’s amazing love story. She was definitely a beautiful blessing in her world. Her faith lit up the fields she gleaned and home she and Boaz built with love. Ruth is a Good Samaritan I look forward to meeting and spinning yarns with when God calls me Home.

Cathy came to Tim’s Gift in 2009 after her husband passed away and her world was turned upside down. We cried, laughed, talked, and prayed together as she searched for God’s plans for the rest of her life. Watching her grow stronger and bolder in her faith while battling ongoing obstacles blessed me every time we met. Cathy’s humility and honor for Christ her King, when it looked like she would lose everything, made her a beautiful blessing in my world. Through years of waiting and praying, she kept believing there was a job where she could help others and share Jesus’ love.

Today, her services as an in-home caregiver are in great demand. Not only does Cathy sit with family members suffering sickness or situations that keep them captive in their homes, she sings, prays and shares Bible stories, talks and plays games with them, witnesses to them and loves them like her own family. She frequently visits Tim’s Gift’s library to check out books for some of the dear people she cares for. One lady requests books about heaven; Cathy spends endless hours searching our shelves for just the right books to witness to the lady’s hungry heart. Cathy will one day enjoy sharing stories in heaven with Ruth too, for she is a modern Good Samaritan, a shining light of love and faith, and a beautiful blessing going whither Thou sendest her to care for His sheep in need of tender loving care.

Mike is a veteran who loves America and belts out stories of helping people who served alongside him like bullets that surely flew past his head in the heat of battles on foreign soil. After serving his country, he settled in South Korea where he continued service to America working as a supervisor in a government position for four decades. The last two years of his military career took place here in North Carolina (Fort Bragg) where he, his wife, and three children loved calling home. After retiring, he bought a homestead near Clement in Sampson County and settled in with his beloved family. Four years later, they have learned to love our local country living with bountiful blessings often taken for granted. Mike spills stories of their life in Seoul where ten million people lived and nightmare traffic kept people off the roads, especially on weekends. Mike’s wisdom and love for Father, family, and country shine lovingly and faithfully around the prayer table at Tim’s Gift on Tuesday mornings.

He is a modern day Good Samaritan who helps people many would shun or turn their heads to avoid the need at hand, like unto those we read about in the Bible’s Good Samaritan story. Mike’s list of good deeds done for strangers he has met at Tim’s Gift and people God puts in his path grow daily as he lives by Jesus’ example. Opportunities for his good deed doings arise more often than one could imagine. Perhaps, it is Mike’s willing spirit to serve the Lord and help His children in need that makes him shine beautifully to Jennifer, Diane, Sharon, and myself as he continuously helps us and others here at Tim’s Gift. Because Mike is a willing vessel, God fills him up with time, energy, wisdom, skills, and love to do unto others as he would want others to do unto him, to give a helping hand, to go out of his way to do what is needed to help people with their needs, even spiritual needs. Of course, Mike wants no accolades and shifts any glory given to him straight to God.

One day a story will stir to share some of the awesome experiences we have witnessed because of Mike’s and other people’s Good Samaritan deeds. One that touched me deeply happened during Tuesday morning prayer recently at Tim’s Gift. Shared prayer requests almost filled the page as we prepared to lift each person’s situation to the Lord. Mike’s concerned countenance showed when I shared that his neighbor and good friend was at Duke Hospital. After prayer people left one by one, but Mike remained and made a call that got my attention…and God’s! He told his wife he would not be home until late afternoon and explained he was going to Duke to visit his friend. His friend is my brother!

Mike left, Jennifer and Diane busied themselves with tasks at hand, and all was quiet until a little lady walked in and needed help with medical supplies. Diane came to her rescue with adult pull ups while Jennifer shared what we do. I headed to my desk, bowed my head, wiped tears, and thanked God for Ruth, Cathy, Mike, and my brother who is the apple of my eye. I was still and knowing God loves them too for the light of faith and love shine beautifully in each of their lives!

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By Becky Spell Vann

Contributing columnist

Becky Spell Vann is the owner/operator of Tim’s Gift Love Ministry.

Becky Spell Vann is the owner/operator of Tim’s Gift Love Ministry.