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Blessing others is greatest blessing

Blessing others is greatest blessing

Blessing others is greatest blessing

4 December 2017

The generosity of volunteers who gave in their own time of difficulty touched the hearts of Captains Lincoln and Leanne Stevens last Christmas.

By Naomi Singlehurst

Just days before last Christmas, the Corps Officer at Inala Salvation Army in Brisbane, Captain Lincoln Stevens, received a phone call asking if he could come and pick up some bags of food that workers from a small business had put together.
When he arrived the staff were sitting in a circle. Captain Stevens smiled and introduced himself, but was greeted with blank stares in return.
“The boss got up and showed me where the bags of food were,” Captain Stevens recalls. “I said ‘thank you’, handed her a certificate and turned around and thanked all the staff. It was still a bit of a cold reaction, but I just smiled.”

Two days later, the Inala Salvos had arranged to hand out all the food and toy hampers that had been donated over previous weeks to community members in need – around 110 food and toy hampers in total – with the help of corporate volunteers.
Captain Stevens continues: “At around 8am the corporate volunteers started to arrive. We don’t always know where we are getting the corporate volunteers from as it is arranged from our divisional headquarters.

“One group of eight came in and I thought some of those faces looked familiar. I asked where they were from and one of the guys said ‘we're from the business you came to on Tuesday to pick up the food we had put together for you’.”

And then the full story came tumbling out.
Just minutes before Captain Stevens had arrived to pick up the food on the Tuesday, the workers had been asked to sit down and were told the devastating news that the business was closing immediately; that they no longer had jobs and that there was a very good chance that they would not be getting final pay-packets or entitlements.”

It was less than a week before Christmas.
Captain Stevens says: “I was shocked and so sorry. I asked if they had any idea the business was closing down but none of them had any idea at all. One guy explained that their volunteering had all been organised through the company they worked for; but even when they lost their jobs, they had decided that they would all still volunteer to help the Salvos help the less fortunate in our community.
“My heart just went out to them,” Captain Stevens says. “Losing their jobs so suddenly was awful. I’d been in that position once before in my past and it’s very frightening. It’s very daunting – so I could just really relate to how they must have been feeling, and also the fact that it was Christmas time, and many still probably had food to buy and last-minute presents to buy and now they had no income.

“And what really touched my wife Leanne and I is that even in their own time of pain they all got together and said ‘you know what, we’ll still go down there because it’s the right thing to do’. And we were very fortunate that they still did come because we really needed the help. We thanked God for them.”

The volunteer team soon busied themselves along with the other volunteers, handing people their hampers. Some also fired up the barbecue and prepared sausage sandwiches.
 “As I walked around I was so blessed to see the smiles on their faces and see how much fun they were having even though they had all just lost their jobs two days before,” Captain Stevens said. “Here was a group of people in a really unfortunate situation (through no fault of their own) who were still prepared to help the Salvos and serve the less fortunate people.”

At the end of the day, when they had all finished helping pack and clean, the Salvos Inala team gathered them together and thanked them for their help.
Captain Stevens says: “We explained that we would like to help them in some way and then gave them all a gift voucher which made most of them cry. They were really very grateful for that, but said it really was helping others that had done them the most good. I think even they were surprised at how good it felt to help others. 

“Sometimes we forget just how much joy there can be in giving to others.”


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