(ADAM VOGLER) [Order this photo]
In this week's Ministry Focus, Hillis shares some of the organization's highlights from its first five years.
Q: Tell us a little about yourself.
A: I moved to the area 13 years ago with my husband and two sons. In May 2012 I received my B.S. in Mass Communications from Southeast Missouri State University, but I can honestly say it was the 20-plus years break between my college studies that God used to prepare me for my position at Love In the Name of Christ.
Q: How long have you been a member of your faith?
A: I was raised in a Christian Lutheran family, baptized as an infant and confirmed as a teenager. It wasn't until I was in my early 30s that I truly accepted the Christian faith as my own. Since then I've experienced many things in my life, some very painful, but I can honestly say God has been faithful in his promise to carry me through the difficult times and rejoice with me in the good times.
Q: You started working with Love INC in 2007. What are some of the ways the organization has reached out to the community since then?
A: Our mission is to mobilize the collective church, matching people in need with Christians who can help. In our five years of ministry, we've coordinated over 23,000 hours of volunteer service, providing everything from transportation to lawn work to minor home repair, with a wide variety of tasks in between. We've also helped our 25 partner churches coordinate ministries to distribute items like clothing, bedding and furniture.
Q: What's the greatest joy you've experienced in the ministry?
A: I love to see people from different Christian churches work alongside each other as they serve. When the Lutheran ladies collect crockpots for the kitchen ministry that is housed at a Catholic church but is coordinated by a Methodist, I see how focusing on showing Christ's love in practical ways can cross over doctrinal boundaries. Just imagine what God could accomplish in our community if all of our Christian churches worked together instead of just 25.
Q: What's the greatest challenge you've experienced in the ministry?
A: There are two things I find very challenging about my position at this ministry, and they both involve the people we serve. The first is when we have to tell someone that Christ's church is unable to help them because no one has stepped forward to provide the service or item they need. The second is when they choose not to accept the resources we have available because they don't wish to follow our accountability requirements. It's hard to see someone with great potential accept a lower quality of life than God desires for them.
Q: Love INC will be holding a course on money management soon. Can you tell us a little about this and who this course is designed for?
A: Managing Your Money is an eight-week financial education program based on God's Word that teaches the basic principles of budgeting. It combines formal education and one-on-one budget counseling, all within a framework of personal responsibility and accountability. There also is an opportunity for participants to earn vouchers for items they need, ranging from gasoline to haircuts.
Q: What other events does the organization have coming up?
A: We'll be celebrating our first five years of ministry at our annual dinner on Feb. 21, "Pray the Way." God has done great things through his church, but he's definitely not done with us yet. We're excited about announcing the vision he's placed in our leadership's hearts for ways to increase our ability to walk alongside the people we serve as we speak God's words of hope and encouragement into their lives.
Q: What's your favorite Bible verse and why?
A: God has given me different verses to meditate on at different times in my life. Right now I'm a bit obsessed with Psalm 5:3: "In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning, I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation." It's truly amazing to me that the God of all creation hears my every prayer. He certainly doesn't answer me in ways I think he will, but instead goes far beyond my wildest expectations. Seriously, how cool is that?