My husband and I have been volunteering and leading outreaches for nearly nine years. We've always felt the call to help those less fortunate because, at various times throughout our lives, we were the less fortunate.
During these years of service we felt that God was leading us to do, and be, more. Ed returned to school and received his 'Associate of Ministry' degree and is continuing his education today. My gifts lean more towards the organizing and administrative work of outreach events. In early 2020, as the pandemic hit and church buildings closed their doors, we were struck that so many of God's children thought those structures were the church instead of the body of Christ. Our work has always been connected to the churches we attended so we knew it was time for us to step out in faith and BE the church. We said "make a way God, and we'll follow" not knowing where we'd be called.
After a series of events that could only have been 'God directed', we sold our house and belongings in Pennsylvania and moved to Texas. Once here, we volunteered with a couple who has been feeding the homeless in Houston for many years. They opened our eyes to the plight of so many in our surrounding areas and we knew why we were led here.
We knew nothing about starting a 501(c)(3) charity but every doubt we voiced was answered by a new connection to someone who could help guide us. So we kept following and learning. Now we needed to give our organization a name. Our work has always been inspired by Matthew 25:35-40
'For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you
gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed
clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison
and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and
feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you
a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did
we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least
of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
We knew that whatever name we chose it needed to reference this verse. The Bible also tells us that Jesus is the light and the way, and we want to help others find His light. So "Matthew's Light" was born.
We have a lot of work ahead of us to implement the ideas and goals we have to make Matthew's Light a self sustaining charity but we have faith that God will make a way. Until then, we will rely on the charity of others to help us, help those in need. It's up to all of us to love our neighbor as ourselves.