Covenantal “Reverse” Offering… Telling the Story

On the first Sunday of Lent, every Hazelwood member/family received $20 as part of a Covenantal “Reverse” Offering; a gift from Hazelwood to be gifted to others. This gift was to be considered as part of God’s covenant with each of us. Their part in the covenant? To give it away. There were two conditions set: 1) Use this gift for good; 2) Tell the story. Each member/family was encouraged to match the $20 and give $40 away.

The stories of how these reverse offerings have been used are beginning to come in

  • First Choice for women/men. Pregnancy counseling and parent teaching (especially fathers).
  • Cowan School lunch fund. The lunch fund pays outstanding lunch charges off at the end of a term. Students begin a new term with their lunch debt paid.
  • Muncie Mission. I had a brother who was an alcoholic. He checked in to the Mission. They helped him to throw the alcohol aside. He turned to the Lord. Has been a great and loving brother since.
  • Winnie’s Kids.
  • Hazelwood. A gift to the church.
  • In the Hazelwood Newsletter 2.14.24 was a letter from Motivate Our Minds Volunteer Coordinator Mary Dollison. Within the letter was an invitation to become a volunteer. I have an interest in becoming a volunteer and went to the MOMs building. The reverse giving plan was explained to the staff of MOMs and a donation of $40 was made in the name of Hazelwood Christian Church.
  • The person I chose to give the reverse offering to is 91 years old. He has needed a front tire for his car for over a year, but could not afford to replace it. Every 4-5 days he has to put air in his front tire … I gave him not only the $20 from the reverse offering, but also gave him $40 for my portion. A total of $60. He was very touched that the church would be willing to help someone in need. He was very grateful.
  • Received an email from Rev. Eric with information about the Boys & Girls Club of Muncie – to see if the Missions and Benevolence Team would be interested. I contacted Patrick Donahue to learn what their needs were and he told me they needed snacks for 200+ students. I realized I had $20 + $20 and decided this is where I would share my gift.
  • [We] have served at the Christian Ministries Food Pantry many times. It is humbling every time. Sometimes someone will ask if we have anything sweet. Sometimes we have something that is frozen that has come from one of the grocery stores. No telling how long it has been frozen and it does not look very inviting. Sometimes I am embarrassed to offer it to them. So, I got an idea when my daughter was selling girl scout cookies, that wouldn’t it be nice to give each person a box of girl scout cookies as a treat. They will be handed out when Hazelwood serves their week in March.
  • I saw a young woman at MITS. She was trying to find a place to stay. I asked if she tried the YWCA. They were full… She said she came from Oregon to Muncie to stay with an acquaintance. He was abusive. So she stayed at A Better Way but was kicked out for smoking past the midnight curfew… I put her up for the night [at a local hotel], gave her the reverse offering + matching $20, Sue Errington’s “help” brochure with contact numbers, and Hazelwood’s number. So, a heads up that the church might be hearing from a gal that has been on the move from Ukraine to Germany, to Oregon, to Muncie who is bilingual in Portuguese and English.
  • I value education so much that I chose to donate to Tri Kappa Sorority. They give out several scholarships each year and have contributed to several community projects, such as Children’s Museum and others.
  • I thought and prayed for several weeks about what to do with the $20 reverse offering and finally decided that going to the local YWCA was where I wanted to give it, specifically to either a new victim of domestic abuse or a teenager aging out of foster care. Because of privacy issues, the Y is not able to give names, however, I was told of a 19-year-old girl living there. She is working about 3 days a week part-time at a local Wendy’s. I decided she was the one…
  • I’ve just received an ending to my “Reverse Donation” story. As I’ve told you before, I’ve had a hard time deciding who to give the money to ($40). Last Friday, I gave my home care nurse the $40 & told her to get something nice for her family for Easter. She seemed very happy to receive the money. I told her why I was giving it to her. Today when she came to see me, she seemed excited to tell me the rest of the story. It seems that she has a friend who lives in Selma. Her friend’s house had only minor damage, but the friend’s grandmother’s house was pretty much destroyed. My nurse bought essential things the family will need. They were very grateful for this help.
  • We have donated towards a small group in our Cowan town called Blackhawk Closet. The Blackhawk Closet is a small program run by two Cowan School parents who share a common interest to help, support, and connect our community. Each month, they provide opportunities for anyone in our school district to have access to hygiene products, gently used clothing, and sometimes food. We are excited to support this great cause!
  • After sharing the story of how God produced the miracle that made it possible for me and my family to live and grow up in Muncie, we proceeded to draw a number from a plastic bag to assign the envelope from the church and my added $20 to one of the attendees. I had written on a card a note saying, “I am from Hazelwood Christian Church. This gift to you was initiated by our spirit of reverse giving for your basic needs only. Let’s thank God for inspiring this initiative for you.” I commented verbally on the concept of “reverse giving.” I refrained from asking for the name of the old man who was the recipient of the gift, but at the end, he came to thank me and said, “I can definitely use this gift for good basic needs.” Another attendee commented on “how God has been good for me.” Another lady yet from the 8 attendees appreciated the concept of “reverse giving.”
  • Recently, while we were volunteering at the Christian Ministries food pantry, we overheard a woman talking with the intake person. She was there for the first time in need due to a recent change in her living situation. Her daughter left her with 3 children and then disappeared. These children added to the others already living there made a total of 12 people living in the household. The workers there scurried around to give her extra food. We looked at each other and immediately agreed this woman needed additional help. We handed her the $40 and she immediately started to cry. She turned to the woman with her and said, “I told you God would take care of us.” She hugged us both on the way out while continuing to thank us.
  • An international graduate student at BSU has encountered very significant family issues that caused her to have to return to her home country prior to the end of the semester. Although she has arranged to be able to finish her degree remotely, she is facing much financial uncertainty and great personal stress. I had been thinking about how I could help a student and was moved that she was the one that I wanted to help. She is a person of great faith, but she is facing many difficult situations.
  • We called A Better Way because we have given to them before. They said they were out of bath towels and dish cloths. We added our money and we donated several towels and dish cloths. They were very appreciative.
  • I helped a single mother of three daughters who is relocating to Indiana from South Dakota.

Thank you to those who have shared these stories!