By Graham Ries, organiser of Matthew Lunch
By divine design, and divine design only, order will come out of chaos. The Lord has blessed this year’s Matthew Lunch outrageously. Food, clothing and money worth nearly R45 000 has poured in from all over with cash donations ranging from R10 to R3 500 – with both being equally important. One anonymous food donation was 200kg of chicken and another was 200 litres of ice cream!
God has stretched the Matthew Lunch 2014 guest list from last year’s 200 to 376, in two locations. Newton Park Methodist Church are hosting 306 guests and Central for Jesus is giving food and clothing to 70 from the excess of the Matthew Lunch.
The Matthew Lunch, a ministry that is changing lives in Port Elizabeth, is happening at the Newton Park Methodist Church on Saturday,September 20, 2014.
Similar to last year, the guests will be collected by bus but this time from designated locations. 250 people are being collected from Jesus Is Lord Ministries, 40 from West End Baptist Church, 10 are coming through Trinity Baptist Church on Cape Road, two are car guards at the Lighthouse Family Church on Frank Street in Newton Park and four are homeless people who live near the Mercantile Hospital. While not all are homeless this year, all are certainly way below the poverty line.
The generous love of Christ
The idea behind the Matthew Lunch is to introduce people to the love of Christ through His boundless generosity. One of the principles of the lunch is based on the words of Mahatma Ghandi when he said that there were some people who were so poor of spirit that the only way that God could manifest to them is through a slice of bread and a glass of water. The Matthew Lunch does this in accordance with Matthew 25:35-45 and 22:8-10. It is for these scriptures that the Matthew lunch is so named.
Ps Jonathan Galant of the West End Baptist Church had tears in his eyes when he reported that for some people it was so long since they had had a new pair of shoes that they had forgotten their shoe sizes.
In Kleinskool, where Jesus is Lord Ministries is doing an authentic job of sharing the Gospel, there are some people who have not seen the sea in over 30 years. The buses carrying the guests will go via Summerstrand so that these unfortunates can experience the beach and the ocean once more before being taken to the Methodist Church in Newton Park, where, like last year, they will be warmly greeted with fresh hot muffins a hot cup of tea or coffee. Each guest, including those from Central for Jesus will be given a pack of fresh clothing, the same as last year.
There will be praise and worship from Ps Thobile from Blue Water Bay Community Church and a testimony shared by Joel Stuurman – a former convict who is so on fire for the Lord that he is living, breathing proof of the miraculous healing power of the blood of Christ! This man is someone to listen to – he speaks with the authority and boldness of a modern day Elijah.
Children will be given packs of sweets that many may never have seen in their lives along with packs of brand new school tools. These will consist of plain calculators for the younger children and scientific calculators for the older children, along with exercise books, pens, pencils, crayons and more. Each child will be given a geometry set with drawing instruments and a compass.
Last year Matthew Lunch brought 11 churches and three ministries together while this years’ has brought 25 churches and nine Christian ministries together to share one common outreach. This proves that it is very possible for all of the churches of Port Elizabeth to work together.
This article would not be complete without thanking the Lighthouse Family Church for picking up the bill for 306 pairs of shoes from a Cape Town Ministry called Samaritans Feet. Joanine le Roux and Pierre Vivier of Samaritans Feet will be driving up to Port Elizabeth from Cape Town on Friday and will be at the Matthew Lunch on Saturday to give every guest a brand new pair of shoes. For some of these people it will be the first time that they have ever had new shoes.
If you would like to help with the Matthew Lunch, if you have a heart for service or for getting involved in the LORD’s work, please come along to the Newton Park Methodist Church on Saturday morning and ask for either Norma Bellardi or Graham Ries and they will find something for you to do.