Questions that Spark Dreams
July 14, 2020
Questions have power. They spark new ideas and challenge old ways. They pave new paths and bring new insights.
When Rev. Laura Heikes was learning about TMF’s Grant Ministry, Jacki Lammert, the director of grants, left her with one question. If money was not an object, what would you do for the Kingdom of God?
It was the kind of question that spurred innovation and excitement. Laura started dreaming about answers and then a surprising thing happened. God brought along resources and people to make one of those dreams possible. It turned out that other leaders at Bee Creek UMC, where she was serving, had the same heart for homelessness ministries as she did. They applied for a TMF grant and they received one.
However, in the middle of this process, she was reappointed to FUMC McAllen. With that one question still stirring within her and new knowledge of TMF’s grants specifically designed for a response to COVID, Laura encouraged her new church to consider applying.
FUMC McAllen is a church blessed with resources and people committed to mission. It is also a church surrounded by vast pockets of poverty. Situated in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, 33% of all Hidalgo County residents and 46% of all children live below the poverty line. Rural neighborhoods called Colonias dot the landscape. Since they are unincorporated, they are beyond municipal boundaries and many homes in these neighborhoods do not have standard services, such as running water. FUMC McAllen had been distributing food to needy families in their county as part of their mission outreach, but the need increased with the pandemic.
When Susan Hellums, the border area mission coordinator, applied for the TMF grant she wanted to be able to serve more families during the crisis and TMF’s COVID-19 Response Grant enabled them to increase their service tenfold. Now, they can reach 640 families weekly and they have been able to expand their reach to the Colonias.
The TMF grant funds stretched their capacity; suddenly, providing 12,000 pounds of food each month to the Colonias became possible. While TMF’s grant provided one resource, the volunteers who had been serving 60 families a week also stepped up to do ten times the amount of work to ensure as many people as possible were being fed.
“I am excited about the things that bring the Kingdom of God to people,” Laura said, joyfully. “FUMC McAllen is bringing God’s grace and mercy to the most vulnerable people in the community. TMF amplified our outreach during this critical time and volunteers sacrificially left their safe spaces of quarantine during a pandemic to feed the hungry. This is proof that nothing can stop the work of the church. Even a global pandemic can somehow increase it by tenfold. That is beautiful and I am thankful for TMF’s generosity, which has encouraged us to dream God-sized dreams.”