The Missio Dei

Cheryl Mansell
Program Director
Seven Baskets Community Development
A non-profit ministry of the Greater Ohio District of the Wesleyan Church

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Feeding hungry children. Answers for a truth-seeking high school student. He has a mission. He calls us to take action.

I have always loved the name God gave us for this mission He set before us over 5 years ago now. Seven Baskets. To us it has meant that with God there will always be enough resources to carry out His plan to minister in a variety of ways to the communities where He has placed us. But a few weeks ago I took notice that an individual interpreted the name as a food (basket) ministry and I have watched God work in ways I could never have imagined.

I was in the checkout line at our local grocery. The cashier was handing out little bags of snacks, proclaiming “The manager wants us to get rid of these.” Before I left the store I handed her one of my business cards saying “If the manager ever has any items that he needs to get rid of that could be used for weekend meal packs for children I will be happy to come get them.”

She looked at my card. “Seven Baskets! I love this! I love that you are feeding hungry children!” I drove home in tears thinking to myself, “Oh Jesus, you clearly have us on a mission to feed your children – spiritually, emotionally and physically.   

The mission of God. Yes, God cares about the physical needs of his children.
— Cheryl Mansell

Two weeks later I received a call: “Recently you left your card here. We have some food items we would like to give to you if you could use them. There is one problem. We can only give away $500.00 worth of items per week. Would you be able to do a pick up this week and next?”

And just like that, God has been pouring out blessing after blessing on His mission of feeding hungry children. A wonderful servant-leader stepped forward and offered to manage the weekend meal program. A meeting with the Mid Ohio Food Bank has allowed us to partner with them and purchase items at a very reduced rate. In just 8 days nearly $2000.00 was donated by several individuals for feeding children and the promise of other resources to follow. The number of children in need of weekend meal assistance has quadrupled since the school year began. And on top of all of this, very generous food baskets have been provided for 21 families during the Christmas season.

The mission of God. Yes, God cares about the physical needs of his children. 

And they ate and were satisfied. And they took up the broken pieces left over,

 seven baskets full. Mark 8:8 (ESV)

Over a bowl of soup and some cheese sandwiches it became clear that God sent a truth-seeking high school student to the table. She has been volunteering in our after-school program to obtain her service hours. Transportation afterwards has been a challenge for her so I have been driving her the 4 miles to her home. But at 5:00 p.m. it often took 45 minutes to get her there which was making it difficult to get back to the Seven Baskets House in time for Bible study. So I pitched an idea: “Could you stay, help me get the meal ready, earn another service hour and then I will take you home after the study?” She agreed.

We have been studying from the book of Mark, discussing the identity of Jesus. She began to ask questions. Big questions. Hard questions. It became evident that she was seeking truth. As I drove her home that first week she said “Both my parents are Jehovah Witness. They have told me that I can decide what I want to believe. But it is so hard to know what is true. Can you help me?” She is so hungry for the truth. God clearly sent her to our table!

And again, I hear Jesus saying, “Feed my children!”  

Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. John 8:32 (ESV)