By Graham Ries, the event organiser
On September 21 several volunteers will treat 200 (or more) broken and homeless people in Port Elizabeth to a day of royal pampering.
The guests at the so-called Matthew Lunch will be collected by bus from various pick-up points in the city and taken to the Fountain Vineyard church in Walmer Heights where they will disembark onto red carpets and be welcomed into a tent where they will each receive a fresh muffin and a cup of hot tea or coffee.
In a nutshell, the intention is to seek out the lost and the homeless, the destitute and the lonely, and for one day, treat them like the kings and queens that they are in the eyes of the Lord.
Guests will be given a ‘welcome pack’ made up of a fresh towel, a guest soap, shampoo, toothbrush and toothpaste, a toilet roll and a packet to put their old clothes in.
Then they will visit another tent where the men will have the option of a haircut and the women the option of a complete cut and style and blow dry or braiding. Guests will also enjoy a hot shower and be given sets of fresh clothing.
The church auditorium will serve as a dining room where the guests will be served a slap-up three course meal, suitably cooked for their appetites so as not to make them sick. They will each receive a copy of JOY! Magazine and their contact details and work experience will be taken on specially prepared forms so as to create CVs for them which will be put up on a website for employers to browse and download. One never knows who is out there in the crowd. The organiser was himself destitute once and that is why this is happening.
Worship and testimonies
As the day goes on Pete Gooch of PE Burn24 will arrange live praise and worship music and various testimonies will be shared with the guests. We have DeWet Swanepoel who is currently walking around South Africa carrying a wooden cross. He will have walked between 1 500 and 1 800 kilometres by the time he meets the guests! Tanya Cochrane will share how God turned her life around from drugs in such a spectacular manner that there is a documentary being made about her testimony.
We have already been given 200 bibles free of charge – one for each guest. God has been absolutely awesome in providing for this outreach and in organising the whole event. You can read much, much more about it on the website at www.thematthewlunch.co.za (where there is a 17-minute video of the organiser’s heart behind it all) and you can also keep up to date with us on our Facebook Page.
In the words of Pastor Dave Pedersen, it is in the Lord’s heart to give broken, despairing people a day of dignity and grace to help ignite hope to dream again. The Matthew Lunch could be an appetizer for change, a seed of a new life and as such it is also an expression of spiritual warfare, pulling down strongholds of poverty, pride, low esteem & bondage.
During the day, the various testimonies that are given will be recorded, along with some of the praise and worship music, mixed and burned to CDs which will be given to each and every person that helped and to those guests that leave contact details with us. It is our hope that these CDs will be played and will in turn sow seeds to bring in the lost and hopeless. Also, a short 5 to 7 minute movie will be made, with interviews with some of the guests and some of the crew, as well as strangers we encounter on the streets of Port Elizabeth, and it is hoped that these DVDs will find their way into churches around Port Elizabeth – and indeed the rest of South Africa – and prompt them to get involved (in PE) with the Matthew Lunch 2014.
These lunches will in turn pave the way to something called The Paul Project, so named in honour of the Apostle Paul, which seeks to join the various ministries of the many churches of Port Elizabeth together in order to increase each other’s resources so that we effectively have one church of Port Elizabeth.
We do need funds to pay for some people’s accommodation and their petrol and so on, along with a few other things – but God has made sure that most things have been given freely…
We need as many on board as is humanly possible – there is an immense amount of work to be done. If you would like to get involved in this outreach please contact Graham on either 041 365 0868 or 073 879 5602 or e-mail him on firstname.lastname@example.org.