If seven is a lucky number, then the Jones family is in for a real treat this Christmas … as this will be their 7th year celebrating Christmas at Nashville Rescue Mission.
“The first time I volunteered at the Mission was when I was a school teacher,” recalls Melanie. “We brought a group of teachers and their families to serve. I have two children who at the time were young, and I was concerned about them volunteering in the kitchen. I guess to calm my fears, I was introduced to Sven, one of the kitchen staff, who took time to talk with us and explain what to expect. I didn’t know it at the time, but from that moment on, our lives were forever changed.”
Daughter’s Emma (15) and Gabby (12) are so close they’re like twin sisters. Both are excellent students and their parents couldn’t be prouder of them. “Each year we have the opportunity to hear testimonies from the different menworking in the kitchen. They are so powerful. I love that my girls listen and remember these men and their stories. Our kids have learned how to listen, not judge, but instead love the people we meet at the Mission.”
“It’s really hard to put into words what kind of impact our volunteering has made on our family over these seven years,” said Melanie. “Sven is now a member of our family. My husband Nick thinks of him as the brother he never had. He will be coming to our house for Christmas this year. My children have had the opportunity to watch him grow into a strong man of God.”
According to Melanie, it wouldn’t be Christmas without Nashville Rescue Mission. “We could seriously skip the presents and go straight to the Mission on Christmas morning. When we go there, we want to treat the guests and everyone we meet like royalty. But what’s even more amazing is that we are made to feel like royalty in the process. It’s such a beautiful picture of God’s kingdom.”
While the Jones family volunteers at other times throughout the year, Mother’s Day tops their list as another favorite day to serve. “The Mother’s Day luncheon is really special,” said Melanie. “It is a wonderful day of loving on the women and children, but especially the moms. I can’t imagine the battle these women face and it’s an honor to love on them and encourage them to have hope.”
Whether they are cutting vegetables, serving food, carrying trays, filling cups, or even folding clothes … the Jones family feels incredibly blessed by serving those in need.
If you’d like to bless others with your time and service, visit nashvillerescuemission.org/get-involved.