Inasmuch in 2020

Enid, Oklahoma has been recognized as the Caring Capital of the Cowboy State.  As such, Enid joins Sumter, SC, Fayetteville, NC, South Western Region, CT, Danville, VA, Fort Collins, CO, Knoxville, TN, and Santa Clarita, CA for having been dubbed centers of compassion for their state by the Urban League. All these cities have something else in common: a local Operation Inasmuch Affiliate helped them grow into centers of compassion.

“It all began in 2012,” says Luke Thomas of Enid’s Samaritan House.

“One of the churches in town did this one day blitz of the community with all sorts of compassion ministry projects.  This ministry named Operation Inasmuch trained them to reach out into the community. Other churches heard about this Inasmuch Day and within a couple of years there were Inasmuch United Enid events twice a year where hundreds of church people from dozens of congregations were mobilized all over the city helping people in need.”

But it didn’t stop there.  The churches were empowered by these collaborative efforts and soon formed an Operation Inasmuch affiliate that now organizes each Inasmuch United event in Enid.  The affiliate also trains new churches every year to join in and serve. A couple years later Enid Operation Inasmuch began to equip some of the veteran Inasmuch churches to release their people to volunteer in the community on an ongoing basis through their Inasmuch Life process.  The organization then helps the churches by acting like a matchmaker between church and compassion ministry, bringing willing believers together with people in need year round to serve them and help them solve their problems.

“To say that Enid is a different place today because of Operation Inasmuch’s ministry would be putting it mildly,” says Thomas with a broad smile on his face.

Undoubtedly, some of  Thomas’ smile is due to the success of the Samaritan House where he is the Executive Director.  Sam’s Place — as it is affectionately called after its namesake, the good Samaritan — provides a place to live for 30 men who each have two chronic illnesses and were homeless.

Thomas and his meager staff of three manage the hotel-like facility. They also provide transportation and other basic services to their “family” as they refer to the men who live at Sam’s Place.  “These men had nowhere else to go when they came to us,” says Amber Nelson, a social worker at Sam’s Place.  “And we are privileged to serve them in Jesus’ name.”

As Thomas tells it, in the fall of 2012 a group of volunteers came from Eastminster Presbyterian Church during the Inasmuch United Enid to prepare and serve dinner to the 30 residents of Samaritan House.  The volunteers were so impressed with the men who live there and the care Sam’s Place provides that they came back the following month. It is now going on seven plus years that the same volunteers have been serving dinner at Sam’s Place.  Thanks in part to the organizing efforts of Enid Operation Inasmuch, there are now 20 congregations who send volunteers each month to serve dinner.  “And there is a waiting list of churches wanting to help,” says Thomas shaking his head.

“Here is the best part,” says Thomas, “every benevolent agency in Enid has a similar story to tell!  They are all more than fully staffed with volunteers. No, not just volunteers, but extensions of our staffs, people who practice compassion ministry truly as a lifestyle.  And that’s why we have been recognized as the Caring Capital of Oklahoma.”

(NOTE: This is a fictional — but visionary — story about where the Compassion Revolution could be in the year 2020.  Actually, it is derived in part from the story at Parkridge Harbor which can be viewed here.  If what has happened already with Operation Inasmuch is a sign of what is to come, then this story is more truth than fiction!)

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