The Salvation Army: Sue's Story
Ashland, Ohio -Sue called the food pantry on a Monday morning in a distinct accent, but with excellent English. She had never needed food before in the United States or in China, but this was different. She was calling not only for herself, but for her four friends who also needed food. Each had been stranded at a local university due to coronavirus pandemic travel restrictions and left jobless. Their food reserves were depleted during the weekend, so Sue called looking for help. The 23-year-old international graduate student sheepishly asked if we had food and how would she and her friends qualify for it. When I told her we are happy to help you and your friends, she was overcome with gratitude, asking how could they repay us when they have their jobs back? My answer came from the Holy Spirit. “Sue, you don’t need to pay us back. We’ve got you guys covered.” Sue responded by asking “What is The Salvation Army”, is this government food?” What an opportunity this was to share the gospel in a brief, but powerful message of the grace available through Christ. I said “Sue, we are followers of Jesus, called to be here for such a time like this, to show love through any means that we can. You don’t need to pay this back, it’s paid for.” This is what we are doing across the world. Providing not only food for strangers or neighbors, but more importantly, providing hope through joyfully serving each of these people that call upon us for help.
A university faculty member later reported to us that the students returned to the university blessed by the experience, mentioning how they were treated with love, dignity, and respect.