Love in Action: Arizona Church Adopts Local School
By Mykaela Alvey
Over the summer, East University Church of God in Mesa, Arizona, decided they would adopt their local elementary school for the coming school year. The church started collecting and accepting donations of pencils, crayons, markers, backpacks, glue, facial tissues, disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer, etc. to help the students and teachers through the coming school year. Their goal was to have the items collected in time so the students and teachers could use them beginning the first day of school.
Pastor Larry Young says that the adoption of the local school started because of the church’s desire to reconnect with their community. He says, “Our church (like many other churches) had grown older, and over time our focus began to move inward. But with a new pastor and a new vision, our congregation was ready to not only reconnect, but also to serve however we could.”
Because much of the congregation consists of senior citizens, they knew that helping their community could not involve only projects that were more geared toward manual labor. “We can’t run a soup kitchen or build homes for the homeless,” Pastor Larry explains, “but what we can do is love people.”
The congregation chose to collect supplies for Whitman Elementary School. It seemed like a good option because the school is composed of a high percentage of low-income students, and Pastor Larry’s wife works there as a special education teacher; she would be able to ensure the supplies were distributed where they were most needed.
The school has greatly appreciated the blessing. Pastor Larry says, “The school now knows that they’re not alone. Someone cares and loves them enough to help. Students now have the supplies they need to begin the school year.”
He notes the church’s efforts aren’t limited to supplies. In the future, they hope to provide extra clothes for the students and “goodie baskets” for the teachers.
Pastor Larry says of the experience so far, “[This] has breathed new life into our congregation. It has reminded us why God has us in this community in the first place. We are to be a blessing to our neighbors. Yes, our neighborhood has changed. Yes, we have gotten older. But God still has a plan for us! We just have to listen and remain faithful.”
East University Church of God reminds us that we all have the ability and skills to help our community, even if we think we’re too old, too young, or under-qualified. Everyone can help make someone’s day a little brighter by being the hands and feet of Jesus to their neighbor.
Anderson University alumna Mykaela Alvey is a funding US missionary based in Greenwood, Indiana. A freelance writer for three years, she loves crafting stories of hope and healing.
Learn more about the Church of God at www.JesusIsTheSubject.org.
Feature (top) photo: Some of the school supplies East University Church of God collected this year.