Trisa came to the church office well after CityHeart had closed one afternoon. There was no one in the front office at the time, the staff were on a conference call and Trisa had wandered into the building and was in the front hallway looking for someone to talk to . . . I had come up from the CityHeart office to get documents from the printer and found her there. She signed in and then sat down to wait for some attention. Simultaneously a member from Eternal Joy passed through the front hall and asked if she needed help. I overheard the brief exchange as Trisa was asking to talk to “the pastor,” and I went over to see how I could assist.
Most visitors to the church office asking for “the pastor” usually end up at CityHeart, at this ministry we established long ago to connect with just such visitors, it’s why we’re here and it’s our mission to help!
Trisa spoke very quickly and was telling a story about her 91 year old aunt who had just died, and her cousin who was coming up from Florida for the funeral. She made it very clear that she was NOT asking for money. Then she started talking about Hurricane Michael, which had just ripped through Florida, and about the victims down there, and about taking up a collection of items for the victims. Again, she repeated she was not asking for cash, but more times than not, these stories usually end up in a need for a cash donation.
Trisa was really rambling on, not very clearly, she was emotional but seemed VERY sincere. I patiently listened and it was more than a few minutes before I was finally able to piece her story together. Aunt Wanda died in Florida and was being brought back to Dayton. Cousin Candi, who lives in Florida, will be in town for the funeral, and then will go back to Florida. Candi had come up with a memorial idea, in lieu of flowers, to collect feminine products and personal toiletry items for hurricane victims. She asked that they be placed into a women’s purse and brought to the funeral home, to be taken back for victims in her area.
Trisa says that it’s all in the obituary for Aunt Wanda, and we can check in the newspaper if we doubt her story. It was not really clear if she was asking the church for help because she couldn’t afford to put a donation together herself, or if she was just trying to get more donations for the collection . . . but she kept saying to check the obit, and even in this unlikely circumstance, I truly believed her story.
It really DID seem like a great idea, so I went down to the CityHeart office where we keep such things, and put together a bag full of toiletry items for her to take. When I came back up and handed her the bag, she was very happy with the donation! She was sure to have me include a business card for CityHeart and my own name, for the purpose of an acknowledgement. Very thoughtful.
But as is usually the case at CityHeart, we really don’t need or expect any acknowledgment other than the smile on her face, the hug we shared, and the understanding that God sees all, and rewards are in heaven!
Final note – a few days later I did remember to check the newspaper, and “bring a purse filled with items for hurricane victims” was noted just as she had said. God Bless Trisa, God Bless Candi, and their desire to honor Wanda’s life in this way, their reward is already in Heaven!
By Kris Sexton, Executive Director