Like most of you, we are now in the midst of the pandemic, which is COVID-19. In these days of uncertainty, we cling to the promises found in God’s Word in Psalm 91:1-2: “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.” We pray that you and your loved ones are well. We wanted to take just a few minutes to update you on the different events, projects, and disaster response efforts HWH has been a part of the first three months in this new decade.
In January, we had our volunteer appreciation party. This was a great time together with volunteers to celebrate what God had accomplished through their sacrificial giving of time in 2019. We so enjoyed looking back on the last year while having a great meal and time of fellowship. We spent the rest of January recharging from the previous year as well as preparing for this new year. We had many volunteers come to the warehouse to aid with our large annual mail-out. This was a huge task and we could not have accomplished it without their help.
We started February off at the Smoky Mountain Jubilee in Pigeon Forge, TN. We were excited to be a part of this special meeting, meet new pastors, reconnect with familiar faces, and see some snow! While my wife and daughter held down the fort in TN, I was able to go to Florida to meet with the folks at Harmony Baptist who make our John & Romans pamphlets that we add to all our food boxes. It was so wonderful to see the process from start to finish and be able to personally thank them for their mission efforts. I then continued down to Panama City, FL to meet with pastors about holding a tent revival in the same community we were in when the 2018 Hurricane Michael brought such devastation to that area. Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 outbreak, we had to cancel that meeting for this spring.
Also in February, we partnered with our local community by providing “Box of Hope” food boxes for our local Asheville City School social workers to give to students in need. We also had a group of adult students assist in sorting and packing sweatshirts and hoodies for the Western Carolina Rescue Ministry in downtown Asheville. We are thankful for the assistance of two Christian Schools: Wilmington Christian and Reynolds Mountain Christian. I had the privilege of preaching chapel at Wilmington Christian and collecting supplies they had collected for HWH. Then, a group of students from RMCA joined us at our warehouse for their missions project day!
March seemed to last longer than January and February combined, didn’t it? On March 3 very early in the morning, deadly and devastating tornadoes came through the Nashville, TN area. When I woke up with the news of what devastation occurred, we immediately began to plan and prepare to help. The following day we had 2 tractor-trailer loads and equipment trailers in motion for Tennessee. After one blown tire, we finally arrived and began distribution at several churches in Mt. Juliet, TN and in Nashville, TN. On 3/9, we had over 30 volunteers packing food boxes for the third load of supplies to leave on 3/10. We were able to distribute hygiene kits, baby supplies, adult diapers, and over 1,200 food boxes. On March 13, I was a part of the Emergency Management Covid-19 task force meeting. We have then continued to meet almost daily to prepare, plan, and protect our community to the best we can. We were originally scheduled to host the annual WNC Potato Drop on March 14. However, the event was canceled due to the virus. Since the schools have moved into homes, Hearts With Hands has provided 400 Boxes of Hope to our social workers in Asheville City Schools and the Buncombe County School System. In addition to the food boxes, we have provided boxes of diapers, formula, baby food, paper, crayons, markers, colored pencils, pens, pencils, and more for students in need. There are over 500 students recognized as homeless or displaced in Buncombe County alone. They especially need our prayers during this difficult time. In addition to helping our schools, we have been able to offer PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) for our Emergency Management Team, EMS, and Fire Department. We continue to give Box of Hope’s for our Asheville Police Department. We were able to give them 150 this month to distribute throughout our community to homeless, those who are displaced, and the elderly who are home bound.Although we are still in the midst of this pandemic, we trust in God’s sovereignty and faithfulness. He will see us through! We are praying for you and your loved ones to stay healthy and safe. As we step into this next quarter of the new decade, we begin to pray even now for hurricane season, beginning on June 1. On April 2, Colorado State University released their annual prediction for the 2020 season and they are calling for an above average season. We pray even now that God will calm the sea and protect our coast. Thank you for your continued love and support for Hearts With Hands.
In His Service,
Dr. Greg Lentz, Director