SERVING THOSE IN NEED
by Flexon and Carolyn Turner
Flexon and Carolyn Turner have been serving faithfully in a number of volunteer capacities at McKernan since they moved here from Fort McMurray. Recently I asked them to share a little of their story about how they became involved in one particular ministry, Alpha. As you read their story, you will see how they are keeping in step with God’s Spirit.
When we lived in Fort McMurray, we attended Fellowship Baptist Church. In 1994, a visiting pastor shared a message about the responsibility of Christians to not only serve the church congregation, but also the entire community. He asked key questions: "If your church were to burn down, could you go into the community and receive help? Would it be remembered as a church that helped the community in any way?” In response to this challenge, the church launched a committee to address needs in the community and to bring about social action. We were invited to join the committee. The first action by the committee was to start a Soup Kitchen.
At first the Soup Kitchen offered a midday meal, one day a week. Not long after it started, I, Flexon, became the director. In addition to coordinating activities, I was responsible for getting out in the community and letting other churches, community leaders, businesses, etc. know what was going on. The ministry soon grew from one day a week to five days a week and offered meals to about 100 people a day. All the work in the Soup Kitchen was done by volunteers from various churches as well as people not affiliated with any church, but who were willing to get involved. The goal of the Soup Kitchen was to feed the homeless and introduce them to Christ. Local, provincial and federal leaders became aware of what the Soup Kitchen offered, so we
soon became involved in other activities. Here are some examples:
We helped people who experienced disasters such as forest fires, apartment fires, floods, etc.
One volunteer offered to prepare income tax forms for the patrons (Hazel Lee, who also attends McKernan).
Soup Kitchen volunteers helped with the Christmas Day dinner hosted by the Catholic Church.
Another ministry called the Centre of Hope was launched to offer support to the homeless and to give them a warm place to go.
The Soup Kitchen participated in an annual silent auction fund raising event. Carolyn assisted with this special event that was a highlight not only in the church, but for the community as well.
The most memorable part of the ministry was seeing some people’s lives change as they transitioned from being homeless to becoming productive members of society. Some people found employment or returned to school; others simply invited Christ into their lives. It was amazing to see how the community came together! The Soup Kitchen continues to serve the people of Fort McMurray because of the many, faithful volunteers who are very special people!
When we started attending McKernan Baptist Church, we were searching for a practical area of service. When we heard that the Alpha Course was being offered, we thought we would like to help. Alpha is a tremendous program of outreach and evangelism and an opportunity to see others come to know Christ.
Our passion for service has also led us to develop a relationship with Flexon's home church, Bolans Wesleyan Holiness Church, in Antigua, one of the Caribbean Islands. This church has started a Soup Kitchen which provides meals at the church and takes meals to shut-ins. It is at the ‘baby stage’, but we consider it a privilege and a blessing to be involved. We have visited the church twice, once in 2010 and for Christmas 2011. We were very grateful for the tracts and booklets Pastor Sam provided for us to give out during the Christmas dinner held in Antigua on December 18th, 2011.
We look forward to continuing our partnership with the Soup Kitchen in Antigua and serving in the Alpha Ministry at McKernan Baptist Church.