This year's Mercy fundraising luncheon was a HUGE success! Mostly due to the tireless efforts of Mercy Volunteer Table Captains, who worked so hard to invite guests and share their passion for our organization! We also couldn't have done it without generous sponsorship by Fred Godbee!
Fun was had by all, hearts were touched, and bellies were filled with food and laughter as guest speakers and patients reminded us why the work of The Mercy Ministries is such a vital puzzle piece to the overall success of our growing-in-health community!
Dr. Geoff Conner kicked off The Mercy Ministries' Doing S'More Good Love-In-Action Luncheon Thursday, November 30th, at the Vidalia Community Center. He began by recognizing local dignitary, Georgia Representative Greg Morris, and then he shared why he is simply compelled to pour his own life out to the work of Mercy, and why it is so important to support the work being done by Mercy to stomp out the unhealthy cycle of poverty in our community.
"Proverbs 21:13 says, 'If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too shall cry out and not be answered.'"
Giving is the first step to receiving our own needs, as the patients in this video (shown to luncheon guests) have now learned, and will go on to pay-it-forward in years to come.
Following the moving testimonial video, a blessing was prayed over the food by a Mercy Medical patient, Alicia Sosa, and interpreted by Dalila Sandoval, Mercy's Bi-lingual Medical Assistant,
"Thank you for putting me in the path towards The Mercy Ministries & for everything they've done for my health and well being. Thank you for the donors. Without their generosities their resources would not exist. Lord, please help them continue their work because there are still so many who need them, Lord ...."
Following the heart-warming prayer, a meal of salad topped with grilled chicken, stewed apples, cranberries and walnuts was enjoyed by luncheon guests, along with a s'mores cup dessert and sweet tea, supplied by Meadows Health.
Next, Carly Benton, Executive Director of The Mercy Ministries, spoke about sowing and reaping as personified in Galatians 6:7-8 of the Bible. "Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life."
She continued, "Not only can we not reap what we do not sow, but if we haven't sown it, God cannot multiply it .... You see, we want to God to multiply [our harvest] and then we'll give it away. But God says, 'Give it away, and then I'll multiply it.'"
Carly went on to say as she began to practice giving in faith, first in her own life, she then watched God multiply her efforts .... and we've seen the same thing happen at The Mercy Ministries this past year.
As you have all partnered with us to sow, this year alone, we've seen 28 Mercy University graduates and 43 patients who have obtained a job and/or insurance and are moving forward into 2018 in self-sufficiency! No less than 52 people achieved significant "WINS" and 90% of our Work Life graduates have obtained and kept their jobs!
What's more? Mercy has seen 3 salvations ... three sweet souls who now have restored lives and a guaranteed place in eternity in Heaven with us (that we know of --- but look to next week's blog for an update on that number from our Patient Christmas Party!).
What an accomplishment! Carly went on to share that for just $83/month YOU can sponsor one patient to have access to all of the health, dental, medication and educational resources available through The Mercy Ministries.
It is true, today so many are suffering it is hard to tell where to best give. It can also seem like your giving a little won't make much of a difference at all, so why bother? If you feel this way, please read a blog we recently shared about sowing and reaping here.
But getting back to the luncheon, as guests were finishing up their meal, Mercy shared another video sharing the testimonies of three lives that were greatly impacted by Mercy in 2017. There was barely a dry eye in the room! You can view it now on our website's homepage.
Next, Clint Hutcheson, Pastor of The Mercy Ministries and Director of Mercy University, introduced Mercy patient, Derek, and his grandmother, Madge. They shared his testimony of how Derek was, in his own words, "an absolute wreck ... clinical depression, suicidal, and felt like a tremendous burden to my grandparents [who i had been living with since my divorce] as I could not control my seizures or my depression."
Madge went on to say they couldn't afford Derek's medications, as they were living on a fixed income. They spent money they didn't have on experimental seizure medications that did not work, and they were feeling pretty hopeless when they finally found Mercy when a friend saw an advertisement on television about The Mercy Ministries.
Derek said he has used every aspect of services offered by The Mercy Ministries. Today, he is back to life, able to support himself, and working! "It makes me feel like I'm actually contributing to society again .... YAY!!!"
Tearfully, his grandmother, Madge, shared with the audience her biggest fear was dying and not being able to take care of Derek. But the biggest relief of all has been "seeing a smile" on Derek's face again!
As the audience continued to wipe tears from their eyes, retired Georgia Senator, Tommie Williams, stepped to the podium and shared about his trip to Israel and how the story of The Good Samaritan hit close to his heart as he passed the actual spot where the story originated.
"The greatest story every told, the story of The Good Samaritan, is about how to be a neighbor. Mercy Clinic performs all those tasks. They take people in, bind up their wounds, provide transportation .... and help people get jobs ..." He went on to say Mercy is not just about giving them medicine for one day. "It's how can we get you back to society, contributing? There is no better place to give [than Mercy]."
Williams recognized those who were REALLY stretching their faith by giving towards this year's Leadership Challenge Gift, which were TruAx Veneer and River of Life Outreach, donating a sum total of $15,000! He concluded by saying, "Mercy does as good a job at Mercy as any place I've ever been!"
Finally, it was time to Put God's Love In Action! Luncheon guests were given pledge cards by each tables' Table Captain, and an
opportunity to learn more about The Mercy Ministries.
Our hearts were overwhelmed as we saw hundreds of people extending their faith, and we anxiously pray and await to see God pour his blessings back out onto those of you who are helping us do more good in 2018!
In keeping with our promise of a 1-hour luncheon, at exactly 1:00 p.m., Dr Conner dismissed by saying, "I am so proud of this community. I cannot believe the turn out today .... For a community this size it's just striking. If you haven't attended a 60 Minutes With Mercy tour, please consider doing so in the near future.
Feel free to watch a complete video of the event.
If you'd like to donate your end-of-year giving
to The Mercy Ministries, click here.
Thank you for helping us
Do S'more Good
and have a wonderful Christmas!
Enjoy photos from the event below:
(Photos above and below by Logic4Design by Eric Love, and some by Casey Hutcheson)
Thank You Treats handed out by our patient volunteers,
pictured in the green t-shirts...
Patient Volunteers handed out s'more gifts to our guests...
Name tag check-in tables made it easy for guests to find their table...
Sissy Warnock, Clinical Coordinator for Mercy Medical Clinic, helps prepare plates in the kitchen before guests arrive...
Mercy staff members, and Mercy Board Chairwoman, Dale Clark, prepare food for guests before they arrive...
Jessica Thursby, Mercy Dental and Mercy Volunteer Coordinator, along with Anna Shaw, Mercy Front Desk Coordinator, prepare food in the kitchen before guests arrive...
260+ of Toombs, Telfair, Treutlen, Tattnall & Montgomery County's finest filled the room for this year's event thanks to the hard work of our Table Captains who invited for weeks leading up to the event...
Mercy Staff, Meadows Health Community Wellness Staff & Mercy Volunteers all helped prepare food before guests arrived...
Mercy Staff members (& GiGi Reddy, a long time volunteer) pose for a group shot, wishing you all a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS...
Mercy's "little southern Mexican," Dalila Sandoval (WHO WE LOVE SO MUCH) smiles this big every day ... because that's how good it feels to come to work every day knowing we're making a difference in people's lives.
THANK YOU for helping us be able to do that!
All Our Love ...
Until Next Year!!!