When the Anderson family watched as firefighters fought to save their house from a devastating fire last week, an unexpected friend stood with them: H.O.P.E. Ministries Disaster Relief out of Grace Fellowship Church in Flint.
“We want to do what the Bible teaches in Matthew, ‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me,’ and in Luke 10 where it says to ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind;’ and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,’” said Jenny Fields, who oversees the ministry with her husband Doug, a retired firefighter. “And ultimately, we hope to lead people to Christ.”
When most people think of church ministries, they might think of choirs or Bible studies. But H.O.P.E. Ministries, which stands for “Helping Out People, Eternally” is a little different.
“We have a heart for disaster relief,” Mrs. Fields said.
The ministry also delivered 4,000 bottles of water to West after the explosion earlier this year, Mrs. Field said.
The ministry and Whitehouse and Flint fire departments facilitated the donation of truckloads of clothes and other necessities for the Anderson family.
“It was overwhelming,” said Rodney Anderson, 21, one of the members of the 16-person household (six adults, 10 children ranging from 15 years to 1-month-old). “We are very proud of the Whitehouse community. We’re so thankful to the firemen and Grace Fellowship.”
For the fire departments, the partnership with the ministry was a no-brainer.
“We fought the fire and we wanted to give back,” said Shawn Bassham, a firefighter with Whitehouse fire department. “We partnered with the church because we saw what this family lost and we wanted to do our part for the community.”
The ministry, which is not quite a year old now, will possibly need more volunteers in the future, who must be willing to be interviewed and agree to a background check, Mrs. Fields said.
The Andersons don’t know where they are going to live in the future, but are having the hotel stays donated at the moment.
“We had lunch together Monday; they’re the sweetest family,” Mrs. Fields said. “The ministry will back off once they get a more permanent situation, but we hope to be lifelong friends.”
If you’d like to contribute to the family, contact Austin Bank and ask about the Kendrick Fire Relief account.