I want to share one of many "God moments" with you that happened recently in Panama City, a city still recovering from Hurricane Michael.
Our first night at Mercy Chefs' Beacon of Hope center in Panama City, a little boy of 8 or 9 years old, Jakar, came for a meal by himself. We told him that he needed a parent to come fill out his paperwork. He looked at me with a blank stare and said, "I can't bring anyone." Something about this young boy shook me to my core. He didn't have anyone. He was hungry. He had been left on his own, for whatever reason, and needed my help. We served him a hot, chef crafted, nutritious meal.
Jakar came back the next day with a friend. Then, the third night, during a big storm that hit the area, he finally showed up with his mom, Shayla. She looked like she was in a daze. I went over to say "hi" at their dinner table and asked how she was doing. She started crying and said, "I don't know what to do. It rains in my home."
Shayla shared that, following the Category 5 hurricane, she had lost 2 jobs. The place she had been living was destroyed and she lost her mother. She moved into her mother's home, but the roof was severely damaged. When she went for assistance, she was assured they would put a tarp on her roof. Instead, they put up a piece of plastic that after 8 months has deteriorated. Now, whenever it rained outside, it also rained inside. I listened as the thunder rolled in the background of our conversation, watching the tears run down her face. She had lost all hope.
My heart broke for Shayla and Jakar. So, I prayed with them. I assured her that God loved her so much. He had not abandoned them and, He was going to take care of it for her! I said, "Let me make some calls to see if we can get someone to put a tarp up." I could not imagine that this family was living in a home with rain coming down inside for 8 months. I knew I couldn't let Jakar down and that he needed to see that someone cared. The God of the universe would intervene on his behalf.
This past Sunday, Pastor Roy, a local Panama City pastor had a work team visiting his church looking for a project. In the middle of service, from the pulpit, he asked the team to take Shayla's project. In fact, he walked out of the service to call Shayla and make arrangements. God would answer their prayer. And not with just a new tarp, but a completely new roof! I've just received word and pictures of the team making this happen.
For Jakar and Shayla, this was indeed a miracle of God! The God of the universe cared just for them and put this burden on my heart. This is why we are here, still serving. There are hundreds of children and families, like Jakar and Shayla in Bay County right now, and they need our help.
Thank you for everything you have done to help us progress in our work along the panhandle. I ask that you continue to partner with us as we feed body and soul here in Bay County.
Gary LeBlanc, Founder and President