A NEED TO ADAPT.
Eleos began as a ministry focused on a specific geography. We didn’t have a series of programs in mind – we had a community in focus. In fact, that’s why we named the ministry éleos. We didn’t know exactly what we were going to do, but we knew how we wanted to do everything God put in front of us. Éleos is the greek word for mercy. It describes a posture more than it does a specific activity. That’s the one thing we’re committed to never changing. Everything else is on the table. As needs change, we want to be flexible enough to adapt and move towards our neighbors in mercy.
Over the past 7 days every one of us has experienced a massive shift in our world. This shift has created new needs and demanded adaptability like never before. Our community is no exception to that. Our students lives were flipped upside down virtually overnight. Some of the changes are obvious, while others are less apparent. Like every other student, ours were forced to begin learning online. Like every other student, ours were forced to be quarantined. LIke every other student, ours were forced into a totally new rhythm of life.
But unlike most students, many of ours became parents to their younger siblings overnight. My wife (Joy) received a facetime call this afternoon from a student (bawling her eyes out) asking if she could bring her younger siblings to our house because she was trying desperately to feed them, keep her house clean, and get her homework done and she just couldn’t hold it all together. More of our students than not are in that same scenario. Many of our students are not living in a carefully developed schedule that their parents are holding them to. Instead they are left to create their own rhythm while parents are fighting hard to keep their jobs and continue to put food on the table. Which leads to another difficulty – food! Thankfully the schools are continuing to provide breakfast and dinner for students, but that still leaves many of our students to walk nearly 1 mile to the nearest food pick-up site. (School regulations will not allow us to pick up food and drop it off at their homes… believe me we’ve been trying!)
What does this mean for Éleos? We have to adapt. We can no longer meet for:
- After School
- Open Gym
- Lead Project
Instead we are:
- Tutoring virtually through Google Meet.
- Writing students notes of encouragement.
- Walking with students to food pick-up sites.
- Coordinating meals for elderly neighbors in Nicholtown.
- Collecting and distributing dry goods to any of our neighbors in need.
- Delivering birthday treats to students on their birthday 🙂
Here’s how you can continue to support Éleos as we adapt and serve our neighbors during this critical moment.
- Please continue to give. While our strategy is shifting, we have many fixed costs and operating expenses that haven’t changed. We recognize this is a financially uncertain time for many and your generosity in the midst of that is not lost on us. We’re so grateful for the ways you’ve continued to support our ministry initiatives through this season.
- Provide meals or dry goods. We have turned a little free library into a food pantry, and we’re beginning to stock the eleos co-op with dry goods for the same purpose. We are also in communication with the neighborhood association developing a list of our elderly neighbors who are more vulnerable. We’re going to be coordinating meal drop-offs to their homes along with notes of encouragement and scripture.
- Pray. We have created a prayer guide for those of you willing to join us in prayer. I have attached that below.
A Prayer Guide
Prayer for physical safety.
We're praying that the Lord would provide safety for the families in our community - specifically the older and more vulnerable individuals in our midst. May the God of mercy keep them healthy during this season.
Prayer for perspective.
All trials provide an opportunity for a fresh perspective. May the students and families we serve feel seen and cared for by God and His people. May they not feel overlooked one bit. May they feel like they are priority number one for the household of faith, because of the priority of our heavenly Father. In God's economy, the vulnerable and marginalized are front and center. May it be so with us, and may it be seen and experienced by our community.
Prayer for neighbor love over individualism.
Moments like these become an opportunity for a survival mentality that leads to individualism and self-centeredness. May the Nicholtown community lean in to its potential for thoughtful, merciful, neighbor love. That's a difficult thing when we cannot be proximate to each other, but may the Lord lead us to thoughtful ways of serving each other with wisdom and love.
Prayer for progress w/ school work.
It would be so easy for our students to get behind during this season of e-learning. May we be an encouragement to them and a tangible resource to help them stay on top of their homework. May they utilize the time they have to get their work done, and bring their grades up.
Prayer for peace
This season will no doubt bring internal and external chaos. It's easy to think that life is spiraling and there is no doubt a temptation to spiral with it. May the God of peace give the Nicholtown community internal and external peace. May each person lie down in peace, trusting God alone makes them dwell in safety. May they all fight for peace within their community. May they reject the enemies temptation towards violence and chaos during an unstructured and panicked time.
"Eternal God, in whose perfect kingdom no sword is drawn but the sword of righteousness, no strength known but the strength of love: So mightily spread abroad your Spirit, that all peoples may be gathered under the banner of the Prince of Peace, as children of one Father; to whom be dominion and glory, now and for ever. Amen."