When the truck arrives, the lines begin to form on Nelson Street, circling the parking lot of the church. As the pandemic continues to ravage our country, a common sight has been that of long lines as people wait for the most basic of human needs – food.
One local ministry has witnessed it firsthand. As the scarcity of food becomes dire, it has been able to send out a lifeline through the utilization of a program made possible by the federal government called Farmers to Families. It has been the source that has aided in bringing to pass a vital part of the vision of the ministry of Miracle Tabernacle Prayer and Praise Cathedral. Located on Longview’s south side, this ministry is working to fulfill a huge vision given since its inception to help feed those who are hungry, as well as to clothe the naked.For the past few weeks and as the federal program continues, the ministry of Miracle Tabernacle, led by the church’s Bishop Dr. John L. Lawson Jr., has been in the position of distributing boxes of nutritious food to any in need who have been hard-hit by the current economic crisis. It has played an invaluable role in stepping in to fill a critical void in these crucial times. The distribution is made without regard to income or other eligibility factors.
Asked about the significance of this opportunity, Lawson commented that “we have prayed. We wanted to do something for our own people in Longview. We thank God for this opportunity. Feeding the hungry is what Jesus was about.” Continuing, he said “A couple of times, Jesus fed the multitude, once of at least 5,000, and on another occasion feeding more than 4,000, not counting women and children.”
As he loaded the trunks of vehicles of grateful recipients, Lawson emphasized the sacrifices that are sometimes necessary for the benefit of others. “This is Wednesday night. It is our usual time of praying and teaching, but the sacrifices being made to feed the people of my city mean a lot to me.” As part of this commitment, he prepared to make the trip to the Dallas-based distribution site. “I can also now get my own U-Haul truck. They have made a way for me to personally drive the load from Dallas to Longview myself.”
Participating in the distributions are ministers Cliff and Tina Harris of Gilmer, whose ministry is The Tabernacle of Gilmer Outreach Center. They have been at the forefront of organizing and coordinating these efforts. Tina says for them, it is the challenge of Matthew 25, paraphrasing, “When I was hungry you fed me, when I was naked you clothed me.” She also stated that they have been able to help more than 6,000 families in the Longview, Gilmer and Diana area.
Miracle Tabernacle Prayer and Praise Cathedral will continue to hold future distributions as the food boxes are made available. Other dates and times will be announced.