Twelve Days of Christmas
This Christmas join us in a celebration of people who are a blessing each day of the year.
Day 1: Courtney's Story
Courtney’s smile brightens our kitchen at River City Ministry as he serves where he once received services. We met Courtney as a kid, just 18, and on his own, no job, no home, no hope. In the absence of family, River City Ministry became the loving support Courtney needed to build a life. And what a life he lives for the Lord! Courtney starts his day at 6am in the River City Ministry kitchen prepping for breakfast and lunch. His afternoons are spent sharing joy with shoppers as the top bell ringer in Central Arkansas. Courtney will tell you that nothing is better at the end of the day than to return to his own place, bills paid with a little money saved. You are a key part of this story. Your support in whatever form...financially, as volunteers and prayer warriors is perhaps the greatest blessing of all.
Day 2: Jonda's Story
“Some days, I go home at the end of the day and feel great in the knowledge that I was able to play a part in making a difference in someone’s life. Other days, I go home and wonder if I made any difference at all. The only real constant at RCM is CHANGE. We roll with the punches, we meet people where they are, and we do the best we can and leave the rest to God. I feel blessed to work with a group of people who remind me I can leave the outcomes to God.”
Jonda Dixon Pieper has worked as a social work case manager since 2011. She has worked to house THOUSANDS of individuals and families during that time, and always while showing Christ love. Her gentle and patient spirit is a blessing everyday.
Day 3: Steven's Story
“It’s a might fine day” is the greeting you will receive each time you see Steven Davidsson. When Steven first came to RCM he was living in a tent, by choice, and had no desire to change. He had rejected a world that had given up on him. God never abandons us, and His people are not of the world. River City Ministry is God’s family and Steven found that to be faithful. He found a place and people he could believe in and trust and then reconnected with his God. I always think of Steven as the spirit leader of our team, wearing a RCM 5K T-shirt EVERY day and greeting all he meets with a hug and a reminder “it IS a mighty fine day”
Day 4: The Little Children
Jesus said, “Whoever receives one child like this in My name receives Me”. It is a blessing to serve the beautiful children who come to River City Ministry for a warm lunch. Jesus knew how precious children are in His kingdom. These sweet little faces remind all in our community of the innocence and purity of God’s love. Any day children are in the “big room” there is a lightness that all can feel. Children are truly one of God’s greatest blessings.
Day 5: Marilyn's Story
The volunteer. The greatest blessing to our work at River City Ministry. And, there is no greater volunteer than this lady right here. Ms. Marilyn plans, prepares, cooks, and serves breakfast and lunch everyday at RCM on an entirely volunteer basis.
Let that sink in.
She is at RCM before the sun comes up everyday, working for hours in a hot kitchen preparing food for hundreds, receiving bulk shipments of food to be stored and inventoried. To say it is hard work doesn’t do it justice. To say she is simply a blessing, doesn’t do her justice. She is the hands and feet of Jesus, caring for his children, showing His love. We love you, Mrs. Marilyn.
Day 6: B. Wright's Story
B. Wright has been at River City Ministry since the beginning. He came to this place like many in our community, struggling to stay sober, stable and to just survive. B. Wright is a living testimony of how a love for the Lord and a purpose can change lives. B. Wright’s name says it all...be right! Just be right with the Lord, others and with your purpose and the JOY with follow.
Day 7: Bernadette's Story
“River City Ministry helped a frightened, homeless country-girl find her way back to God, gave me a safe place to study and develop the walk with the Lord I now enjoy.
After being homeless for two years in Texas I came to Arkansas. I became homeless in Arkansas after just three months. I would sit in the ‘big room’ and study the Bible, and participate in the devotionals. From there I started volunteering in the food pantry and helping answer phones in the front office. I then started helping check messages in the Medical Clinic and setting appointments.
Today, I am a part-time volunteer/employee as the medical clinic coordinator. Not only am I serving with River City Ministry through the mentors who have encouraged me and held me accountable, I am now on the Board of the Arkansas Homeless Coalition.
I once thought I had to be stable to help the least of these, but the Lord had a more humbling journey in mind. I had to walk the walk before I could talk the talk. River City Ministry is helping me to grow and do the Lord’s work.”
Praise God! We love you, Bernadette Rene Reynolds. So glad God sent us the precious gift of YOU.
Day 8: Our Neighbors
Our neighbors are the heart of River City Ministry. It is a blessing to serve them, and to be in community with them. Some we meet and serve only for a brief period. Others, we have known for as long as we have been part of the River City Ministry family. That is really what we become, family. Just like all families, we have ups and downs, we all have different roles, we share conflict, sorrow, joys and our lives. The beautiful tapestry of people God weaves together in His kingdom is indeed a blessing.
Day 9: Steven's Story
“River City Ministry is the first place I’ve been where I’ve had real freedom to discover who I am. I came to River City to serve, and instead I found a loving community, people who love me enough to see my brokenness and help me use it. I’ve grown, and though every day is still a struggle, I know that I have a support group who loves me enough to see me through whatever comes my way.”
Day 10: Debby's Story
If you have ever visited River City Ministry, then you know who this is...Debby Millar. She is the first face that greets our visitors and she is the glue that binds our little family together. Here is what Debby shared about her experience at RCM.
“My first experiences with River City Ministry came through need. It was a time in my life that I needed help, support and a place to belong. As I got to know the staff, I learned that these were people who truly cared, and I began to open up and trust. I began volunteering in the food pantry, and a couple of years later, I was hired on as staff. Over the past ten years, RCM has been there every step of the way through all of life’s ups and downs. I consider myself lucky to have not just a job but a family”
Day 11: Duane
Duane is a great example of how God can continue to grow us, even out of our comfort zones or beyond our perceived limitations. Our God is limitless and His people are too in their usefulness in the Kingdom. Duane’s story is one of possibilities, found family, and service. Duane currently is a full time volunteer and staff member in our Dental Clinic as our X-ray technician.
Day 12: Carol, Mike, Steve and Angela's stories
Ms. Carol Ezell is a blessing to EVERYONE who meets her. Just ask anyone of the thousands of dental patients served each year in River City Ministry’s dental clinic. Carol and her spouse Dean have devoted a huge part of their lives to our medical services at River City Ministry. Dean Ezell has acted as our Medical Director and served as a regular practitioner in our clinics. Not only have they provided no cost medical services to thousands in need, Ms. Carol brings a joyful spirit and cheerfulness to our RCM family each day as a staff member. We often talk about it is not what you do but how it is done...Carol does it all in love which is the real blessing.
Mike Lynn has been working as part of our inner City Ministry team since he first interned with Greg Sublett, working as a mentor to inner city youth. He now is using his degree in accounting as our Grant Manager and Accountant. God often sends us blessings with many talents and abilities. I love that at RCM everyone can grow and find multiple was to serve and be a blessing.
Steve and Angela are long time friends. There story is long and complicated. But, like everyone’s story there is so much beauty to be found. Through it all they have been together. That kind of love and resilience is truly a beautiful thing.
2 Corinthians 5:17–Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.