Giving back to the community with Cape First's Perfect Gift
Monday, December 19, 2011
Many spend the holiday season trying to find perfect gifts. For Cape First Church, the Perfect Gift is about meeting needs. This is the second year Cape First has done the Perfect Gift. In October, members were asked to submit requests for people they knew were in genuine need. They were asked, "What would the Prefect Gift look like and why?"
"The Perfect Gift is an idea to give back to the community to people with genuine needs in their lives." said senior pastor Gary Brothers.
Over the past few months, the pastoral staff prayerfully sorted through the requests to see what could be met. Cape First in Cape Girardeau, Cape First Remix, House of Hope in Cape Girardeau, and their campuses in Sikeston, Mo., and Marble Hill, Mo., selected one member in need and presented them with their Perfect Gifts during Sunday morning services.
"We fulfill the greatest needs we can meet," said Jennifer Smith, media director at Cape First.
The stories of each recipient were told during Sunday services.
At Cape First's main campus, assistance was given to 6-year-old Alexis Jenkins' family. Jenkins was diagnosed with cancer at age 3. It went into remission twice but returned again this past August. She was given specialized treatment that is only done in three hospitals, with the nearest in Cincinnati. Her family was given a check to help with transporting her.
Alexis was unable to attend due to her treatment. Her great-grandmother, Glenda Wren received the gift on behalf of Alexis and her family. Wren, was overwhelmed by the generosity, and said she believed with God they can get through anything.
"It's hard to put it into words," Wren said. "The love that motivates giving is what's really important, so are the prayers of a great church family."
At the Sikeston campus, Brooke Turner was given a headstone to mark the grave of her late father. Her younger brother had a kidney transplant so her family was unable to purchase one. Turner's stepfather turned in the request to help her achieve closure.
At the Marble Hill campus, Rosie Wiesler was provided with a medical alert system so she could maintain her independence at age 85.
At Cape First's House of Hope campus in south Cape Girardeau, Fran Cease's family was provided with money for coats and winter clothes to replace what was lost in a move. They were also provided with assistance for gas and transportation.
Joy Johnson of Cape First Remix, had lost her father, job and home earlier this year. She was given a Christmas tree complete with ornaments and gift cards for her children.
Cape First decided to help needy members of the community rather than continuing to produce Christmas musical programs. Brothers explained their past programs cost money. The church decided to spend the money that would have gone into musicals, to help people with genuine needs instead.
"People like being a part of giving. Those who are not in need participate to help those who are in need. Everyone is blessed and lifted up when they join together to do something positive for someone else," Brothers said.
Brothers said he has seen a ripple effect from the Perfect Gift. Members will come and ask about the needs that were not met and find ways to meet those needs. According to Brothers, it is part of a culture of generosity that has developed at Cape First.
"The Perfect Gift is another expression of church. We are to be generous, give out, identify and fulfill real needs," Brothers said. "We are told to be imitators of Christ. Everywhere He went, He met people's needs. We may not be as good as Him, but we are to be like Him in as many ways as we can."
This culture of giving is one Cape First practices throughout the year. Cape First has a large food distribution center, offers counseling, has an after school computer lab for children, does mission projects around the world and throughout the community.
"We are to be God's representatives on earth, not just to give at Christmas but all the time," Smith said.
For more information on Cape First Church visit, capefirst.org.
Cape Girardeau, Mo.
Marble Hill, Mo.