As I was finishing up the process last year to join the Diaconate*, an opportunity presented itself to begin working with a congregant. The congregant had come to the Diaconate seeking financial assistance and emotional support. At the first meeting, my Diaconate partner and I learned that this congregant was dealing with the loss of job, a great deal of debt and a tremendous amount of emotional upheaval within her family. And she was doing it all as a single parent to her two children. It became rapidly evident that there would be no “quick fix” to the problem. In fact, the real question was how were we even going to help her and her family stay afloat? In looking back on my first official meeting with a congregant under the Diaconate’s care, I’m sure that the Lord was blessing me by throwing me into a situation where I was so clearly inadequate for the task at hand. Her needs seemed so great that all I could do was cry out to the Lord for his help. And perhaps it’s because of the intensity of the storm that she found herself in that this congregant was and has been so eager for prayer and so open to looking at circumstances in light of her relationship to God. My Diaconate partner and I have been working with this family for about 9 months now and it has been rewarding to see how the Lord has shown his love, his mercy and his provision to her. Ever so slowly, the crisis has stabilized and we are starting the process of bringing Diaconate assistance to a close. The transition will be slow and the family will still have ongoing challenges to work through even after the helping relationship is near an end, but how different things look on this side of the journey! *The Diaconate is Redeemer’s ministry of mercy addressing the needs of those in our church family experiencing hardship. The Diaconate is our response to God’s calling to be merciful and to love and care for one another in practical ways. If you need practical assistance, please call the Diaconate Helpline, (212) 726-1334.