For the fourth year in a row, LifeGuide’s “Share the Blessing” campaign was a great success! We would like to thank those who participated and shared their story with us; it was great encouragement.
As a reminder, at Christmas (2017) we sent $50 to fifty of our clients and asked that they give the money to an individual or family who was in need of an unexpected blessing. We would like to share some of the stories with everyone.
- Through Share the Blessing, I was able to help the needy residents of my hometown (Berlin, NJ) through the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. The money will help someone with their electric, water, sewer or grocery bills, and also give access to a food pantry. What made this special to me was that my mother and father started the “Berlin Chapter of St. Vincent de Paul” when I was a child. I feel I am honoring them and the work they did in the Berlin area.
- I was able to help a friend that I used to work with at a health food store. The Blessing was helpful because this gentleman is 84 years old and lives in low-income housing. He is alone, hard of hearing. He still talks of his great love for his parents that he lost years ago. At his age, he still goes out filling applications for a job; he used to drive tractor trailer and wants to do that again to get some extra money. His age and hearing are against him. This friend was so appreciative of the $50! He thanked us numerous times and gave us hugs & kisses. We told him to thank the Lord! What an honor to participate in your “Share the Blessing” campaign.
- Through this, I was able to help a single mother buying Christmas gifts for her kids. I combined the $50 with an additional $250. It also included food. It was at the WalMart in Hagerstown, MD. The blessing was helpful for the recipient because her ex-husband does not help her with anything. She said he is a drug addict and has not been in touch since leaving them 2 years ago. She started crying when I told her I was buying the cart for her and her family; I did as well. She was with her mother-in-law. She is trying to get her son to go to rehab (again). It was very sad. It was one of the most special things I have experienced. We always give to local charities but never gave face to face to someone in need. I got very emotional at the counter and again at home when telling my wife. This was an amazing experience for me and I will definitely do it every year. We are so blessed to be in a position to give back. Great idea!
- Through Share the Blessing, I was able to help a couple that has/is facing cancer, loss of income and financial setbacks beyond what is normal. A family member had their financial backing to start a business and then absconded without repaying any of the loan. It was helpful for them because they now had free, unaccounted for money for over the holidays. Every penny is carefully rationed out normally – clothing bought at consignment or thrift stores, no nights out or extras. Any “extra” money goes to therapy, dental bills, Rx, etc. It was special for me because I love to give and hope to always be able to. This was extra special because it was so personal. Christmas, such a joyful time, is especially difficult to face when family members have dealt with medical and/or financial challenges. Depression has been a by-product for this couple, as they see what they had hoped for in later life diminish. This monetary gift helped them know that others care and God is able to help them meet their needs through sources that are unexpected. He is the God of surprises! As the recipient said, “God is good.”
- Our Sunday School class weeks ago helped someone, unknown to us, but our teacher got to know this person, who had nothing. Our class had helped financially & with furniture. That situation came to mind, & we gave the money to our teacher and he gave it to this person who will be very grateful for it. The Blessing was helpful for the recipient because they had nothing, no furniture, no money. It was special for us because it was given to someone who was living without anything – also we knew their situation was destitute. Thanks for the opportunity and your trust in us.
- Through Share the Blessing, we were able to help a woman who was widowed at 50 but has remarried, who attends our church. She has had a lot of loss in her life including difficult family relationship dynamics (ie., a mentally unstable daughter). She’s been in a season of emotional darkness for a number of months due to the strain of these relationships, yet she continues to serve others. What made this special was her response. Here it is: “You had me standing in the middle of my kitchen, crying my eyes out last night. Your kindness was unexpected and undeserved. But it touched my heart as I have been struggling to see the Light in the dark. God is so patient and merciful and He truly did use you to bless me.” We wrestled with (& prayed about) where the $50 should be given as we know several who could benefit. This woman’s response was a touching confirmation of the decision. We hope this story blesses you in return.
- I was able to help “Marie.” It was helpful because Marie hasn’t been able to work since a fall that broke her hip and messed up her knee replacement. During hip replacement, her pelvic bone broke. Osteoporosis has slowed the healing process for her. Also, her funds have dried up. The money at this time of year added to the Advent spirit: hope, peace, joy and love.
- With the Blessing, I was able to help “Jimmy.” It was helpful because it allowed him to groceries at the supermarket. What made this special for me was that I was able to pick Jimmy up (he currently doesn’t drive) and take him to Weis and fellowship with him as I have several other times. He was very thankful for the groceries, and for the fact that I (we – wife & I) still are thinking of him even though he stopped coming to church, and we haven’t seen him in a while. It was a blessing for me to surprise him with a phone call that I wanted to come pick him up and go get some groceries. It’s a long story of how God orchestrated things that ultimately brought Jimmy to our church. A man named Steve who comes to Caring Community Church saw Jimmy at Weis and he looked like he had no ride. Steve offered to take him to his apt. in Hummelstown and through that kind gesture, Steve and Jimmy became really good friends, and Steve eventually brought Jimmy to church. Jimmy is struggling with the whole church thing and stopped coming. I had reached out to him with an encouraging card I sent to him back in October and after this follow-up of taking him for groceries, he mentioned that I might see him one of these Sundays coming up. I told him “I hope so!” That’s the short version of how I think God is working in Jimmy’s life, and there is another God story to tell of how God is using Steve in Jimmy’s life and others that have loved on Jimmy!
- Through Share the Blessing, I was able to help “Pam.” The Blessing was helpful for her because she had big hospital bills. Her husband died on Sept. 25, 2017. They were struggling financially for some time…I’m sure it was appreciated. I (at age 93) was glad to be a part of your effort to impact the community.
- Through Share the Blessing I was able to help two men who have just moved from rehab to the Harbor in Shippensburg. I was praying about where to give the money when I ran into a friend at the post office. She runs the Harbor; it has 12 step meetings for struggling people and this year she took a step of faith and bought the building, allowing her to house people on the upper floors. Often people leave rehab and have nowhere to go to go; this gives them a further step of transition. Two men had just arrived that week, had not found jobs yet and were without food. Their need was obvious. I had already decided to add $50 to the amount I had been given and, when I found there was a second man, I got my family in as well, and we were able to give two $100 WalMart gift cards to these men (she did not recommend giving them cash). I know LifeGuide is about growing money and I thought this was a pretty nice multiplication in an 8-day timeframe! This was special for me because when I hear about the drug crisis I feel sad but don’t know how to help. This gave me a way to respond in a practical way to help someone finding a new path. Thank you for giving me a nudge to bless some men in my community.
- We were able to help a married couple with an almost 1-year old daughter. They are struggling financially and possibly facing eviction. We were able to provide $60 worth of items for their daughter that they weren’t able to buy themselves. The Blessing was helpful because they were able to give their daughter some items that she needed but were not able to provide. The wife is a woman with whom we’ve been building a relationship and it was nice to bless them in this way. It was helpful in this situation to be able to say we were given money to bless someone; then the family didn’t feel indebted to us but instead felt blessed through us.
- Thanks so much for passing along the money and card so that I could give it to someone else. Yesterday, I was sitting in the hospital with the wife of a BIC pastor as he was in surgery for bladder cancer. I thought of all they have gone through over the last months and the many trips they have taken from their home to Philadelphia for numerous appointments and your letter to me came to mind. I am gratefully passing the blessing along to them to use for whatever their needs are over this time. Thanks for allowing me to be a part of it.
- Through Share the Blessing, we were able to help a dedicated grandfather who was now able to have money to buy Christmas gifts for his twin grandsons. He is a solid volunteer at New Life Community, (always doing things quietly behind the scenes). He is faithful to give of his time and talents. New Life has been tight on funds and has not been able to express their gratitude to this man for countless contributions to others. It was special to see a man’s face light up with thankfulness because he was now able to bless his grandsons for Christmas. Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to participate in this campaign.
- I did not have a very interesting experience in giving the $50 blessing. I thought and thought about with whom to share this gift, and I came up empty. I checked with the Deacon board at my church, but they told me that they have a policy against giving cash. Finally I decided to just go to a nearby small neighborhood. As I drove through trying to decide which house to visit, I saw a place with an open parking spot and a sign that said “____ Family.” Family sounded good, so I knocked on the door. An older woman met me and I explained that I was on an unusual mission. I explained to her the instructions you had given, handed her the card and envelope, and wished her well. She was surprised and pleased and wished me a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
- We decided that we wanted to match the $50 so we gave $100 to a young couple that attend our church in Dillsburg. We are sure that the Blessing will be helpful to them since they have five children, two of which they adopted from China. In December they shared their story of being led by God to adopt. They researched various agencies and felt they were being led to adopt from China. They had no savings to help with this plan but relied on God to provide, which He did. They were blessed with funds from various grants and individuals. We were happy to bless a family that has given of themselves to bring two children into their home.
- I was able to help a woman with three children and her husband who are living in a motel after arriving in Central PA from the Northeast. They relocated here because of job opportunities. The Blessing was helpful because it assisted her with a down payment needed to rent a place to live. She was a peak season hire for the company where I work. Even though I never met her in person, I talked with her many times daily for six weeks. Without prying into her personal life, she shared a bit of her life with me – the struggles as a Haitian immigrant, three children ages 14, 8, 2 months, relocating here from New England, her husband finding a job in Central PA, working for several months in a new environment, leaving her baby with a friend while she worked, and knowing her daughter’s thoughts of living in a motel. After receiving the gift, she sent a card to me thanking me for the money and was most gracious for it even though it was totally unsolicited on her part. Thank you for the opportunity to brighten someone’s day.
- Through Share the Blessing, I was able to help my coworker who has been very tight with money since her boyfriend lost his job. With only one income and two children in daycare, they were behind on their rent and faced eviction. It was helpful because she was able to put it towards her rent for the following month, or put it towards other necessities (food, diapers, daycare costs, etc.). What made this special for me was that my coworker had confided in me about her rent and possible eviction and no one else knew. She also told me about a few other things she could not afford b/c of money issues. One incident in particular – she and two other coworkers were going to go in together and get their supervisor a gift for Christmas. When she told the one coworker that she could only contribute $10 because of her budget, that coworker cut her out of the gift; so the two others gave the supervisor a gift and it looked as though my coworker didn’t want to give/participate. She was very upset, almost in tears. At that point I gave her the $50 and she had to leave my office because she didn’t want to cry in front of me. She hasn’t spoken to me about it, but before she left my office she said she knew I truly cared about her for giving this to her.
- We were able to help our neighbors, a family with four children. The mother is a stay-at-home mom and homeschools the children. With one income, there is financial struggle. The Blessing was helpful for them because it helped with Christmas for the children. What made this special for us was that we added to the gift ($) and there is always a blessing when we give to others. I love how you present this to us. It gives us a way to help others. Wonderful idea!
- Through Share the Blessing I was able to help “Mr. Brown” and his wife and family. He is crippled and they have a handicapped daughter. It was helpful for them because they just moved into another home and they will have to buy a few items for it. The wife was working and he was very grateful when he received it. They are needy. We have a food pantry at church and they come to that pretty much each week. I had asked my pastor and his wife to go with me, as this family lives in Maryland and I had no idea where to find the Browns, and I believe they enjoyed the trip as well. Thank you.
- With this blessing, we were able to help a neighbor and her son. She is a single mother with a son who is mentally challenged and also has Asperger’s Disorder. She has now been terminated from her job due to her health: extreme diabetic, obese…so many health issues too numerous to mention. My husband and I have tried to be supportive of her not only financially but also taking her to doctor appointments, showing her love, patience & empathy. This woman loves God, always has a big smile, a beautiful faith and through all her troubles feels extremely blessed. A great idea & blessing to all!
- Through Share the Blessing, I was able to help a widow who was feeling lonely over the Christmas holiday and her birthday. We never met before but I learned about her through a mutual friend who has been discipling her. The blessing was helpful for her because she was able to purchase some “nice things.” Later, in person, she shared that she needed some household items – lamp, pans, etc. I have had the privilege since to see and chat with her at church on more than one occasion. She opened up and shared her story with me and I was able to share mine with her. I enjoy hearing stories of how people (giver & receiver) are blessed because of this opportunity. I think it encourages us to do this more often!
- We wanted to let you know what we are doing with their $50. We have not done so YET, but are planning to give it to a single mother in our church who is raising two daughters.
- I was able to help a man named “Kurt”. Several years ago, Kurt was addicted to drugs, committed a crime, and spent time in state prison. In prison, he found Jesus, which transformed his life. He is now a trainer. He has had some additional tough times in his life, including the death of his wife and a recent breakup of his marriage. He had major surgery, is recovering, and trying to get his business going. He is in a tough spot right now. Kurt and I talk a lot about our faith, and how we can share our faith in Christ. He has helped me a lot understanding that the Lord is actually near. He is extremely active in his church and maintains a substantial faith despite his personal and financial troubles. When I gave him the envelope today, he welled up in tears. He is a very well-spoken man, but stated “I can’t articulate anything right now.” After he regained his composure, he said this is “another example of the Lord’s way He is moving in me in spite of me.” He said, “This is more fodder for my walk in powerlessness.” It was so good to give something to a brother in need. Giving is what Christmas is all about after all, isn’t it? Thank you for letting me participate in this Share the Blessing. Keep it up. Thanks for everything. I hope you can use this or at least find some joy in the blessing of your good thoughts, and good heart.
- We were anxious to receive our “Share the Blessing” envelope. We got it in the mail on Wednesday as we were on our way to do some shopping. The first place we went was to New Hope Ministries, hoping to find someone in need there but the bulk of their clients had been there already. We then went to Mission Central with the same purpose. Again, no one. We decided to try again the next day and just continue with our errands. As I pulled onto the busy Carlisle Pike, I drove past WalMart. I said to my wife that I had been thinking of hanging out near the Lay Away section. She said it sounded like a great idea. There was no traffic coming and I made a U-Turn and we went back to the store. Just as God had stopped the traffic, he found us a parking spot. It was the first one next to the driveway in front of the store. We went in through the garden section and checked on a few items and then headed toward the Lay Away area. As we passed the toys we noticed two women in front of us. One appeared to be mentally challenged and the other seemed to be a caregiver. They were discussing how much money the one we later found to be Jackie had to spend. She was loud and we heard her talking about not being able to spend $5 for some reason and how she had $15 for something else. I looked at my wife and we decided that we had been led to this woman. I approached them and said, “Ladies, we overheard your conversation and we would like to help.” My wife had the envelope and told her that we had $50 to give her. The caretaker (we didn’t get her name) asked if we were kidding and she took a step back so we could talk to Jackie. My wife said the caretaker just stood there with her hand over her mouth. Jackie was very approachable and was in disbelief too. She said she had something in the car that she could give us. We told her that wasn’t necessary. She asked where the money came from and we told her we got it from an angel. She was excited that it came from an angel. My wife asked for a hug and she gave her a bear hug. The caretaker hugged her too and was very grateful. We said God bless you and walked away. We were too overwhelmed to shop there and we left immediately. What a powerful moment we had. It was hard to keep from tearing up. The experience stayed with us all evening and will stay with us for years to come. In fact, we are planning to do it again next year with our money in honor of each of our grandchildren. God led us to that woman. As I said there was no traffic for my U-Turn, we found a great parking space and we basically went directly to Jackie. We “found” her within ten minutes of entering a busy store. This was certainly a God Moment. I don’t know how we got selected but it truly was an honor to be part of this program. May God bless you and your endeavors.
- This year as part of our retirement adventure we began serving as a host family for foreign students at Dickinson College. We were paired with a young girl from Hanoi, Vietnam. She is a freshman at Dickinson and had just graduated high school last summer. She is very bright, speaks flawless English, and works at the college 20 hours weekly as part of her financial aid package. She spent Christmas with us (5 weeks) while Dickinson dorms were closed. We included her in all family activities including the Christmas Eve service at church and she enjoyed being part of a Christian family. In a way we became part of her Vietnam family as she cooked for us, pork belly, spring rolls, etc., and attempted to teach me a little language. We gave the $50 to her for her to use however she wanted.
“Share the Blessing” is not part of LifeGuide’s advisory services, but a campaign where participation and sharing of stories is voluntary. For information about LifeGuide’s advisory services, please refer to our ADV-Disclosure Brochure.