CCS Benefits from Longtime Partnership with Widows Harvest
Matilda Green, Staff Writer
Widows Harvest Ministries (WHM) is a Chattanooga founded ministry designed to care for widows. Andy Mendonsa, founder of Widows Harvest Ministries, says James 1:27 inspired him to start up a ministry for widows: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” When asked what the importance of caring for widows is, Administrator and Coordinator of Widow’s Harvest Ministries, Lisa Eames said, “it is because the widows are who get ignored. They have nothing, but that’s who we are. We are nothing without Jesus.”
WHM was connected to Chattanooga Christian School starting in 1993. Gary Lindley who just retired after this past year, initiated the relationship by connecting the ministry to the Bible program at Chattanooga Christian. Students would go and visit the ministry weekly at most. Later, when Bible Teacher Mrs. Beth Dotson expanded the Community Service from merely part of the Bible department to a brand new, separate program at CCS (a required class for high school seniors), CCS’s relationship with WHM became more focused and specific.
Currently, High School Community Service and Student Life Director Karen Smoak facilitates how CCS connects with Widows Harvest Ministries. “It’s about learning that service is worship; we are called to do so, [serve others] but through that, we are blessed immeasurably in serving others,” she reflects on the definition of service. “I think that’s the beauty of serving others is that we see that Jesus served us in his death on the cross we see that there’s greater gain in giving than there is receiving. Service is worship. Let this be a lifelong habit.” During the 2017 CCS Homecoming, CCS raised money for Widow’s Harvest. Smoak explains where the money came from: “the sell of the T-shirts provided the bulk of the money, but then we do “three dollar Thursday” and that brings in several thousand and then just generous donations from others.”
However, most of what CCS does for Widows Harvest is sending high school students during the school day through the required senior class, Community Service. High school senior Matthew Adams explains his typical day with the ministry: “it’s usually a house in the inner city; a lot of them are right by McCallie. We’ve mowed grass, we’ve cut down trees and hauled brush and worked on roofs, it’s all hands on work, it’s really fun…. I never really realized how much of a need there actually was for that type of work.” Adams even said he would like to pursue something similar after high school: “I’m definitely gonna to keep up working with this type of ministry because I really like the outdoor work.” Along with yard work, the ministry cares for widows through a weekly Tuesday prayer meeting. Smoak says, “There’s always food. Panera donates...they sing and they pray and then Andy gets there around 11:30 and he does a Bible study with them.”
Any reader interested in attending the weekly Tuesday morning prayer meetings can get in touch with those at WHM at 423-266-0260 or firstname.lastname@example.org . By speaking with the ministry, you can also schedule volunteer days for yard work and house repair. If nothing else, Dotson encourages everyone to be advocates for widows in his or her respective communities and churches. Visit http://www.widows.org for more information.