As the common area began filling up there was a frenetic rush of energy. Not knowing what was about to happen, I knew something was about to happen. Being a graduate People Watcher boy I was in for a treat. The first thing I noticed was the happy, smiling faces. Watching the attendees greet their friends made me feel welcome! Funny how that works. Next, I smelled an enticing mélange of herbs, meats, and sugary treats. All this took place before the “program” began. I’m very comfortable in my own skin and among unmet friends as a rule. Yet, I was not prepared for the Discipleship level of friendliness and acceptance. This is a very special group of people. Very special. The ambiance of peaceful and soothing music wafted throughout the room. It toggled between being background to coming into the foreground.
Once Dr. Monica Hunter, co-founder of the Discipleship with her husband, Brian Hunter welcomed and addressed the group it was officially go-time. She began by sharing that there will be a celebration of birthdays, anniversaries, or any other thing noteworthy occasion. As we began singing happy birthday there was an extra dose of closeness in the air.
As I shared earlier, I didn’t know what to expect. I wondered if this is church lite. Is it a time of fellowship? Is it a time to drop the facade and connect with my God and fellow believers? Or, is it a time to be still? It was actually all of the above.
It was awesome. I sat next to a lovely couple celebrating over 40 years of marriage. A young man in high school with his mom who is from Romania. She shared with me how personal faith is not encouraged in her original home country. When she shared that with me I felt very close to her. It made an imprint on my heart. It reminded me of the good that can be had when you have good in common. Unfortunately, we don’t hear about that too much these days. The news highlight reels loop what divides us instead of what knits us together.
A brave young man stood up and shared about his transformation from a mere year ago. It was powerful. What made it so was not what he shared. It was that he shared. You see, culturally speaking, a man and in this case, a black man was sharing candidly about where he was heading. The light in his eyes. I wish we could bottle that and sell it on Amazon. What’s great is that the source of the light in his eyes is free to all of us.
Up next was an encouraging word from Loria Willoughby. She is both powerful and practical. What an incredible combination. She challenged us. Made us laugh. Made us think. She reminded us to not sell ourselves or our God short. The bookend that sandwiched our time with Loria was the praise and worship leader, Leonard. He is a Special Education Teacher. He has a strong, silent confidence that can only be found by spending time with the Lord. He ushered us into the presence of God.
I observed roars of laughter, wiping of tears, several exhales, and hugs. If I had to sum it up in two words I’d choose Love and Acceptance. I thought about how many of us are craving what flowed freely in this room. The hub that holds this all together is The Fruit Of Our Hands Ministries. The Fruit Of Our Hands Ministries meets the physical, spiritual, and soul (mind, will, and emotions) needs of the community. It’s expressed through mental health counseling, life, health, and educational coaching (to name a few), food and lifestyle items distribution, a clothing store that donates to men and women that are in need of clothing for job interviews, and much more. The people who speed past this complex have no idea of the gem that is shining right up under their noses. Not to sound like a broken record, but, it’s almost easier to share with you what it isn’t versus what it is. It’s not cliquey. Is that even a word? You know what I mean if you’ve ever dawned on the doorsteps of a church for the first time. It’s not a church. It’s not only for lost or broken souls. It’s actually for people that want more. More purpose realized. More self-mastery under the hands of The Master. More fellowship. A safe place to belong. A haven. A lighthouse. More of God’s presence in your life. More peace. More love and more joy. Hey! I did actually share with you what it is.
Discipleship is held every other Sunday from 10 until around 12. For more information feel comfortable calling The Fruit Of Our Hands Ministries at 951-289-9808. The Fruit Of Our Hands is located at 7000 Indiana Ave, Suite 114 Riverside, CA 92506
If you’d like to help expand our vision feel comfortable using the donate button on our home page. Or, you can email me, Jacqui Dobens and I’ll get you in touch with our admin in charge of donation and sponsorship onboarding. You can reach me at: Media@FruitnHands.org. If you are interested in giving back to the community or have a child in need of volunteer hours, feel comfortable reaching out to me and I’ll get you in touch with our team member in charge of volunteer scheduling.
Lastly, if you’re interested in attending Discipleship you must RSVP as is the case with all the programs at The Fruit Of Our Hands Ministries.
The Fruit Of Our Hands Ministries co-founders Lisa DeGennaro and Dr. Monica Hunter invite you to register for any of the services, coaching, or counseling that will positively impact your life. If you are in need of any new and gently loved trendy outfits, come visit us at Treasure Shop.
Treasure Shop proceeds fund the services, coaching, and counseling provided by The Fruit Of Our Hands Ministries. The Treasure Shop is located at 7000 Indiana Ave Suite 110, Riverside, CA 92506. Its hours of operation are 10 am – 5 pm Saturday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. The store is closed on Sunday and Monday.