What a great gift

Published 9:45 pm Monday, August 12, 2013

“Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matthew 22:40, KJV)

Whether 97-year-old Nancy Williams could accurately be considered “the least of these” or not, she clearly was a person in need of help from caring neighbors. So as part of a nationwide Christian project known as Operation Inasmuch, groups of volunteers from two Suffolk churches spent part of Saturday building a handicap ramp to help her avoid the steps leading from her house and therefore reduce the likelihood of a life-threatening fall as she comes and goes from her home.

Groups from Suffolk Presbyterian Church and West End Baptist Church fanned out across the city on Friday and Saturday to complete a variety of projects designed to fulfill the spirit of the organization’s mission. Other projects included a 25-cent yard sale, hygiene kits delivered to the Western Tidewater Free Clinic, sewing comfort kit bags for nursing home residents and plotting gravesites at the Oaklawn Cemetery.

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Williams’ ramp and the other projects were done at no cost to the recipients.

Among the unique aspects of the churches’ approach to the project were the fact that they encouraged youth to participate and the fact that they partnered across denominational boundaries to fulfill a scriptural imperative.

Getting the youth involved will help teach them the importance of helping others and of being obedient to scripture. And partnering reminds the congregations that Jesus Christ was sent to bless all mankind and calls on His followers to be similarly broad-minded in the blessings they bestow on others.

Prior to the volunteers’ visit on Saturday, Nancy Williams had started avoiding outings for fear of falling on her steps. Without the new ramp, her opportunities to leave home soon would have dwindled to none. But the scriptural caring and compassion of volunteers from two Suffolk churches have given her a little longer to be active.

What a great gift.