The Core Group is what we called the original folks that started the work at 34th and Boston, later to be named Lubbock Impact. This group had a unique variety— at least half of us had come on behalf of a sister church in order to help launch this work. Jeff and L’Anna were part of that group, and quickly rose to be leaders within the Core. Many titles and duties fell their way, but most know Jeff as the first head of the Board of Directors and L’Anna as the mastermind to the soup kitchen.
Working alongside L’Anna was great; organization energizes her! But after a few years anything can grow tiresome, especially when it is as emotionally and physically draining as this ministry. I noticed that she began to be distracted. Then I realized that her heart was with another ministry.
Her heart was with foreign students–especially those from the middle east.
Jeff and L’Anna raised three amazing adult kids and one of them, their daughter, was in the middle-east. Knowing her daughter’s mission and thinking daily about her life, L’Anna became especially interested in the foreign students that attend Texas Tech. Through personal encounters and activities at church, she was helping foreign students in many ways. After all, the effect on the Kingdom of Christ is multiplied many times over if a foreign student becomes a Christian and then takes back to their country not only their education and skills, but their Christian beliefs.
So I thought we were losing L’Anna. Then it happened….one Wednesday evening we were watching as the volunteers greeted our clients entering the dining hall. A man, a child and a hijab. There was indeed a woman under the hijab…..but all I saw was the scarf coving the head and neck of this lady.
And there you have it. The day that the Muslim family came to the soup kitchen. L’Anna interacted with the family in the way that she greeted and chatted with all of our clients, and then they sat and chatted some more. Fast forward several months later and you find L’Anna in the birthing room as this young mother gives birth to her second child. Later still, when Jeff and L’Anna crossed the ocean to visit their daughter, they took with them pictures and gifts from this Muslim family to give their Muslim relatives. Unheard of rapport between the families; Jesus-driven love that stretched from one young daughter through her mom and dad to a foreign family in Lubbock.
Ironic part of it all? This Muslim family wasn’t even hungry. They mainly came to the soup kitchen for an outing and to see about the med clinic.
Psalms 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
Translation…Be all about Jesus…and He brings you Joy.