Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Good Thing I Wasn't a Scammer!

As Care Ministry Coordinator at our church, I have had the privilege these past few weeks of organizing a benevolence effort for some families in our congregation who have been especially impacted by extended unemployment. After identifying and talking to the families, soliciting and counting the donations, and determining the distribution, it was time to purchase the gift cards.

Suffice it to say I have never been so thwarted in my efforts! I had the money. I had the authorization to spend the money. I began to wonder if anyone was going to let me spend the money in their stores! One place required the church to fax an authorization for me to use the church's credit card. I had church checks for other stores, but those are apparently incompatible with retail computerized check-acceptance systems. I finally gave up and decided to use my own credit card and get reimbursed - but then my credit card company got a little worried when I charged such a large amount at a couple of places, even though I had notified them ahead of time.

But the funniest - and to be honest, most worrisome - experience was at a certain store in the mall you can buy the Works for your Bath & Body! To make a long story short, I used the church credit card which had the church's name and the secretary's name on it; the cashier asked for my ID, which of course was my driver license. She looked at my license and never blinked an eye at the fact that the names didn't match. After "checking" my ID, she had me sign the credit card machine and I was on my way. So if your security gets breached, check for unauthorized purchases of lotion and shower gel. Apparently they aren't too concerned about an identity theft ring around the bathtub!

In spite of the aggravation and exasperation associated with the shopping, I can't even begin to describe what a tremendous blessing it has been to be a part of this. It literally sent chills down my legs as one couple approached me at separate times last night to express how overwhelmed they were by the church's loving generosity and by God's faithfulness. They had not even gotten out any of their Christmas decorations because their inability to get gifts for their girls had taken the excitement out of the season. After they received the gift cards for groceries and department stores and supercenters yesterday, they sat at their table and prayed, thanking God, and then the mom said, "Let's do Christmas!"


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quilly said...

Linda -- I've had a couple of similar experiences buying things for the church. I even told one lady, "You have to know I'm not a crook. If I were Id know how to make it look like everything was in order!"

A Stone Gatherer said...

It is better to give then to receive! I'm glad this family was blessed!

Cathy said...

Linda that is so awesome how your church is helping those people. That last paragraph was so sweet. Wonderful!

Patrice and Higgins said...

It's a tough time for some, and I am very glad that youerchurch was able to help some durng this time. It gives me the warm fuzzies!!

About the lack of security on credit cards...my teenagerS use my debit, but often they try to swipe it as credit to see if they get checked and as of right now...never...they have nevered been checked. SCARY!

sara said...

it is just like satan to try and thwart something God means for good. so glad you were obedient and struggled through it!!! what a blessing!!!

CeeCee said...

Your church knows the true meaning of Christmas.

My son swipes my card all the time. What's even more scary is when they don't ask for ID at the bank.

Oh funny about the "identity rink around the bathtub."

Lisa Spence said...

I always thank those vendors who ask to check my ID. It's very few, that's for sure.

What a wonderful ministry! I think it's perfect for you and I know the Lord is using you and your church to bless others with the love of Christ...