Ed Rexrode, PC3 New Bern Host Team volunteer, felt a strong leading by the Holy Spirit several years ago to get more involved in his community. He had heard about the Religious Community Services (RSC) soup kitchen that feeds hundreds of hungry people on a daily basis in downtown New Bern. Ed loved the challenge of cooking for a large crowd, so volunteering in a soup kitchen was something that really intrigued him.
On a Wednesday morning before Thanksgiving, Ed served for the first time at RCS, a day that began to change Ed’s perspective of those in need. Before “leaning in” and serving in this capacity, Ed was like many of us who stereotype individuals who are down and out. We craft a tale about how this person came to be without actually hearing their story. In some regards, our reaction is a defense mechanism. It allows us to disengage from the issues facing our communities, which only perpetuates the problem.
Yet, as Ed began to do life with those who didn’t know where their next meal was coming from, he soon realized there wasn’t much difference between him and them. They had merely experienced some life events that made things pretty difficult – health challenges, a loss of a loved one, a company downsizing and cutting staff.
Through his time chatting with the folks who came to eat, he recognized how grateful they were to RCS for standing in the gap with them in a rough season. Ed soon fell in love with the RCS volunteers and daily meal guests. He began to really lean in to those who needed help in his community, and they in turn gave him a new outlook on what an honor it is to help others.
It wasn’t long before RCS recognized Ed’s gift of leadership, and they soon asked him to lead a cook team on the 4th Wednesday of every month. “Volunteering at RCS has been pure joy for me as I’ve been able to serve Jesus by serving others,” Ed said. As a result of making room in his life for others, the Lord gave Ed fresh eyes to see others in a new light. True life was found in Ed giving his life away in service to others.
Story Written By: Jennifer Alcock