31 Days of Hope starts a ‘gift from the heart’ movement

When Earl and Lynelle Adams pulled up to Starbucks in Kenner and announced they were buying coffee for themselves and for the vehicle behind them, the man at the drive-through window told them this had been going on all day.

The two were thrilled because this had to mean Day 1 of their church’s 31 Days of Hope challenge was in motion.

“We’re excited,” Lynelle said. “We’re amazed by the amount of people who are getting involved beyond the church and social circle.”

Nov. 24 was Black Friday for shoppers throughout the nation, but it was “Buy someone coffee. Pay it forward” Day for this 60-member, nondenominational Lord’s House Community Church in Luling.

“This year, we have an amazing opportunity to share hope and the love of Jesus with those around us,” says the church’s Facebook page on the challenge. “For the next 31 days leading up to Christmas, we will focus on a different Christ-like behavior and provide a challenge to share hope to those around us. We encourage you to participate and be a part of something special this Christmas season.”

Other challenges have proven equally successful, including “Buy Someone Lunch” and “See a need and fill it.”

The Facebook challenge page has become a community of people sharing their experiences, as well as selfies with the people who have benefitted from their kindness. The heartwarming stories recount buying lunch for a friend not seen in a while or just paying for the lunch of the next person in a fast food drive-through line.

“We had people praying for their waitresses,” Lynelle said. “My daughter-in-law prayed for someone at Sonic.”

Earl proposed the Facebook challenge, but the 31 days of Hope challenges have been a year in the making by the church’s leaders and members.

“We didn’t do it to get members or praise,” Lynelle said. “It’s about doing something for people other than just shopping for someone. It’s about making someone feel good.”Throughout December, the challenges will range from sending an old fashioned letter of hope and encouragement to someone by mail to bringing a meal to a single or busy mother to bringing canned goods to a local food bank.

But Lynelle says her favorite challenge is coming on Day 30.The Adams – and a few helper elves – will deliver a “Christmas Gram” for a $5 donation with all proceeds going to a family in need. To schedule one, call Lynelle at (504) 491-8732.

“If someone asks we deliver the gram to someone, we’ll go there in our elf outfits and sing,” she said.

Their kindness will further extend to this month’s collection of blankets, sweaters and socks at First National Bank USA that will go to Luling nursing home residents.

For the Adams, both senior pastors at the church, their heart runs deep into helping the community and people they love.

“We wanted to minister to broken families,” Lynelle said. “We wanted to support that in our own community … to be a lifeline. We wanted to do ‘life’ with people and that’s what we’ve done.”

They wanted them to feel at home and with family at the church whether it was problems with children, family, finances or pain of loss.

“We do the whole thing,” she said. “We don’t care if you’re from our church or not. It’s not about the four walls. It’s about building the kingdom of God.”

And, what made the 31 Day of Hope special to them, was it was something everybody could get on aboard with.

“There are so many people without family and friends like widows and singles,” Lynelle said. “This way, you can be a part of something. You feel like you’re a part of a bigger thing and what you can do for somebody else.”

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