Even the least of them

Renee Ann Smith —  November 23, 2010 — 6 Comments

Today Deb Hunter and Emily Joyce talk about service and giving back. So if you’re an email subscriber, come to the blog and read their stories. You’ll be glad you did!

The Hunter Family

Matthew 25: 40 sums up Jesus’ view of service, “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it for one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it unto Me.” He promises special rewards for those who meet the needs of the most vulnerable among us. And my first guest has taken Him at His word!

Debbie Hunter and her husband Joe have spent most of their adult years working in ministry. Joe is part of the team at the Christian radio station, Sound of Life in Poughkeepsie, New York. He impacts lives for God as host of the Cup ‘A Joe Morning Show. (You can read his bio here.)

I first met Deb when she was the Administrative Assistant at Northern Dutchess Christian

Deb and Joe with NDCS students

School, where I taught for nineteen years. She’s the kind of gal who is always active in church ministry–usually as a youth leader and part of the worship team. Deb led our students on eight trips with Habitat for Humanity. Joe recently returned from a trip to Ethiopia with Compassion International. I think they’ve taken other short-term mission trips, as well. I’ve lost track at this point!

They have three children: Kelly, 21, who is finishing an Equine Science and Management program at SUNY, Morrisville, Kevin, 16, and Kyle, 15, who are both enjoying high school.

In Deb’s life, God used a bad situation to reveal a new avenue for service: Both Deb and I lost our jobs when NDCS unexpectedly closed its doors in early September of 2008. With her husband in full-time Christian service, Deb has always had to work and panicked at the thought of her five-person family surviving without a second income. But God immediately supplied a temporary job and then provided financially while He allowed her some time at home. He then led her to a new position in a community-based non-for-profit agency.

Deb’s New Opportunity in Her Own Words:
“Right now I am working at The Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie. In February they opened a new program for young mothers. The girls come to us either pregnant or with young babies. I’m the Assistant Supervisor in this amazing program and am so thankful that God led me to this job!

I think all of life has prepared me to work with these girls. All the years of being a mom, a youth leader, and a counselor at NDCS have prepared me to help these girls. The girls come from horrible backgrounds of physical abuse–some drug abuse, some alcohol abuse. I have to be careful in what I say to them about my faith. However, I have had the opportunity to talk with them when they ask me questions on how I deal with things or how they can find peace. A couple of the girls go to church. One day, one of the girls mentioned that she loved the music at church and loved to sing. I was able to bring her a CD of the music, which she plays in her room. I’m eager to see how God is going to use me here.

Right now the young mothers are all in one house. (We will be opening another soon.) Then once the girls move to their own apartments, they live by themselves. The apartments are sponsored by The Children’s Home, so we are still there for support if they need it. However, the goal is to get them to live independently.”

The Children’s Home states their mission as “improving the lives of at-risk children and their families in the Hudson River region.” Follow this link to view their website. Once you see the children’s faces, you’ll want to consider giving to this organization or another like it in your local area. Their website affords easy access to information on how to give.

Before we let Deb go, I also asked her to share a few of her life’s most special moments with us:

Biggest Life Lesson:
“The biggest lesson I’ve learned–it should be the easiest one but I am stubborn–is that I have to wait on God’s timing and NOT mine. Patience is not one of my virtues, and I am always trying to help God along?!?!?! That only leads to frustration. But like I said, I am stubborn . . . “

True Life Romance:
“Joe and I actually met through my dad. Since Joe was a medical salesman, my dad would see him at the hospital and at church. My family ‘adopted him,’ which meant he would always be around when I came home from college. As far as him being ‘the one’ . . . I wasn’t immediately on that page! I did not like him because my parents were pushing him at me saying, ‘What a great guy’ etc, etc, etc. I was actually dating someone else. That guy (smart person that he was!) broke up with me because he really felt that Joe and I should be dating.

It took us a while to pull it all together. But in the end, God showed me that Joe was the one He had chosen for me!”

Most Precious Memory:
“Some of the most precious memories of being a mom involve leading my children to Christ. Another, would be their baptism. It is during these trying teen years that I look back on those memories and realize that there is hope! We will weather the teen years and come out on the other side!”

Another friend who has recently found a new way to serve others is Emily Joyce. I met Emily through an online community for women bloggers called The Secret to Success Is Support. Emily shares her faith journey and inspires others at her blog Scribbles from Emily. You can view her site here. (Be sure to check out her lovely wedding photo by clicking on the About Me button!)

Emily has decided to use Christmas shopping as a way to give back to others. She writes, “During the Christmas season, I’d like to take the income [from my blog] and donate it to a worthy cause. Food for the Hungry has always been close to my heart, ever since I first heard of the child sponsorship program when I was eleven years old. They work in the ‘hard places’ around the globe, supplying emergency aid and teaching life skills to help the poorest of poor provide for themselves and build a better community. Not only do they tend to real physical needs, but they start churches, evangelize, and encourage believers in their faith.”

Emily runs several affiliate stores from her blog and promises to donate 100 percent of any profit made during the holiday season to Food for the Hungry. She is inviting any interested bloggers to join her program, Give a Gift that Gives Back, by linking to this special page on her site. There’s even a button to post on your site.

And any of us can shop through Emily and know that her profit will be going to help others. Right now she’s selling inspirational cards and gifts through Dayspring and books and music through Amazon. Click on the button below to visit Emily’s stores.
Shop Now

Operation Christmas Grace: At my church this Christmas season, we’re collecting gifts for the New Faith Family Care Center, which is part of the Capital City Rescue Mission in Albany, New York. This ministry helps women and children change old patterns and transform their lives through a year-long residential, transitional program. They gave us a Wish List containing personal care items, cleaning supplies, personal hygiene items, toys and clothes for kids, and more. If you are in the Albany area, follow this link to their website to see how you can help!

How about you? What are ways you are giving back? Please feel free to share in the comments section below. And did you know that I answer your comments? So you can come back to see if I or anyone else has commented on your idea. If you know Deb and/or Emily, please leave a word of encouragement for them.

Have a great Thanksgiving! Blessings!

Renee Ann Smith

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I teach literature in a Christian high school by day and write inspirational fiction by night. I love to share heart-touching quotes and stories here on my blog. So glad you stopped by!

6 responses to Even the least of them

  1. Wonderful post, Renee Ann! It’s a privilege to meet Deb and Emily here. Their stories are amazing examples of how God can work the best out of hopeless or impossible situations and make something of lasting beauty and value! This has really blessed me going into Thanksgiving. Thank you so much!

  2. Great post. Thanks for sharing all the stories with us.

  3. Mrs. Hunter…ahh, Mentor to confused teens is how I remember it! To this day she is hands down one of the strongest most vital people that God ever placed in my life! He knew what He was doing when He crossed our paths!
    I loved this piece Renee! I am confident that God is going to use her in this position just as He used her in my life!
    Love you Mrs. Hunter! Thanks for all you did for me back then!

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