In less than an hour, the Amesbury, MA church gathered a team to help create an emergency weather shelter for the homeless at their church. (Pastor Brian Gonzalez, left, with always ready medical cadets)
On February 2, during a cold snap, when George Odell, elder at the Amesbury, MA church, approached the mayor’s office regarding one of their community service ministries, Mayor Kassandra Gove cut to the point, “Our biggest need at this time is shelter for the homeless from these extreme temperatures.”
“We’re not ready for such an event,” said Odell, “but I’ll talk to our pastor.”
Ready? That’s an Adventist state of being, whether we’re getting ready for Jesus’ second coming or preparing to help others’ physical needs. In less than an hour they had gathered a team, with Frankie Vasquez, SNEC community services director, Pastor Danny Velez, SNEC youth ministries director, Pastor Eric Almodovar and his team from the Lawrence Spanish church, Pastor Jose Medina from the Merrimack Valley church, and medical cadets Nery and Rafa Otero, and Nancy and McDavid Rodriquez.
ABC manager Lucy Rodriquez and her team and SNEC president Bob Folkenberg and his wife, Audrey (SNEC stewardship, planned giving, and trust services director), joined the action by donating blankets. Mattresses were on the way. The local Dorcas Society was ready. Local volunteers established a warm meal plan, and soon they had enough volunteers to keep the church open as an Emergency Weather Shelter.
Local authorities designated the Amesbury church as an overflow shelter. When Sgt. Champagne from the local police department visited, he expressed praise and joy at their set-up and went out to bring the homeless to their makeshift shelter.
In the end, there was no need for anyone to come. However, a readiness movement was born. Think about it: Get ready. Nothing seems to happen. Disappointment. But a movement is born. Sound familiar?
Amesbury church members and volunteers were ready with warm food and smiles.
Makeshift beds filled the church!