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Spreading Thankfulness

It started with an envelope. “My momma only gave to two organizations—one of them was Nashville Rescue Mission,” said Kristy.
“Growing up, I remember seeing the envelopes. I asked her about them a couple of times … but she never said much about what they were.”
Kristy’s mom took Matthew 6:1-4 to heart. “She was never one to brag or tell others about who she gave to or how much she gave. My mom was faithful and loyal in giving. For years her act of service was supporting the Mission financially.”
“I guess that’s why it meant so much when she started going with me to serve at the Mission all these years later,” recalled Kristy.
“I wasn’t used to seeing her on the front lines. I heard a lot of talk about giving and tithing as a kid, but I never saw it lived out. As an adult, I felt it was important to put my faith in action and instill this same value of serving in my kids.”
As a mom of five, Kristy worked hard to remind them that “to have a friend is to be a friend” and to follow the Golden Rule of treating people the way you would want to be treated. An opportunity to put her faith into action came during her first time volunteering at the Mission. “I served dinner with my church. That experience changed me—I just had to share it with my family and my friends. It was all I could talk about.”
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“I’ll never forget the first time my momma went with me,” said Kristy. “It was hard on her seeing so many people in need. They moved her to the end of the serving line because all she could do was cry. Then she met Miss Maple. Once these two ladies started serving alongside each other, my momma didn’t just shine Jesus … she ignited Jesus. Now that she’s gone, this is a memory I will treasure forever.”
Kristy’s mom passed away two years ago following complications from a surgery to remove a tumor.
“Volunteering during Thanksgiving last year was hard, but I did it to honor her memory. We had some wonderful times serving together.”
Honoring her mom meant carrying on the tradition of ‘shining Jesus.’ “There are so many broken people in this world,” said Kristy. “Many of them are staying at the Mission. I suspect they don’t hear loving words very often. God put it on my heart to be a friend to those in need. If I can bring someone hope or love for even five seconds, five minutes, or an hour … count me in.”
“I’m in awe watching Kristy serve our guests,” said Joy Plank, director of volunteer services. “She makes eye contact with each person. She flashes them a huge smile. She gives them a gentle touch—either by placing her hand on their shoulder or shaking their hand. She makes a genuine effort to connect with each guest and to treat him or her with respect and dignity. The value of that is priceless.”
Thanksgiving has always been a favorite holiday for Kristy and her family. It is the one time of year when her entire family comes together. It is a day filled with love, laughter, and thankfulness. “Each year my momma would ask us to write down what we were thankful for on a paper tablecloth she would put down,” recalled Kristy. “Then during dinner we’d go around the table and read what each person wrote. It was a great reminder of our many blessings.”
“This year we are going to have some new traditions,” shared Kristy. “One is going to the Mission to spread thankfulness. Last year was the first Thanksgiving without my mom. It was tough … but being at the Mission helped me through it. I also think this year we’ll bring back the tablecloth—but instead of paper, we’ll write it on a cloth we can keep to remind us of all our blessings.”


 
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