When praises go up, blessings come down

When praises go up, blessings come down
November 22
04:00 2017

By Busta Brown, The Chronicle

“This reminds me of how things use to be when I was coming up; it was about community. And even churches were community based.” Richie Rich of Winston-Salem said those words with passion when I asked him about the beautiful work Praise Assembly Church Ministries was doing this past Saturday at Bethesda Center for the Homeless.

He continued coming from his heart about the importance of the church in the communities. “I think the word community means come in unity.” He then looked around at the Praise Assembly Ministries volunteers serving meals to the homeless. “With situations like this, everybody is on one accord. No race, everybody is one in the spirit.”

I walked inside an area where a DJ was playing holiday music, everyone was enjoying fried chicken, yams, green beans, ham, potato salad, dinner rolls, and even banana pudding cake for dessert.

I truly enjoyed fellowshiping with the residents at Bethesda Center, I felt the spirit of love and appreciation in the room.

I met a woman whose husband had died in 2005, yet she was in good spirits, while enjoying her meal. “Coming here today takes some stress off me. What Praise Assembly is doing today makes me feel like someone cares about us. I feel complete.” I asked if I could give her a big hug, she smiled and said, “Of course, Busta Brown, I appreciate all that you do as well.” That caught me off guard. I got a little choked up. I was truly honored.

As I was walking outside to speak with more residents, I caught up with Reverend Sheppard and Minister Paulette Ingram of Praise Assembly Church Ministries. “We want to do the work of the Lord, to serve. That’s what our church is all about,” said Ingram. Sheppard joined in. “For the past 12 years, we’ve been coming out here to Bethesda Center.”  Praise Assembly uses their food pantry and clothes ministry to support the communities in Winston-Salem and international ministries, which sends food and clothes to Africa.

I finally made it outside where some of the residents were eating and talking about the NBA, so I joined in to brag about my Golden State Warriors – I’m from the Bay Area. One young man asked me how long I’ve been in North Carolina. I said over 23 years. He laughed and said, “Busta it’s time for you to become a Hornets fan, my brotha.” I laughed and told him I’m working on it.

I also met Lacey Vanderveen. She was dropping off some very nice blankets and comforters. “I came to keep the people warm, and spread the love this holiday season.”

I went back inside to get a plate. As I stood in line, I heard some beautiful comments; One man said, “The food tastes good and so does the Word of God. We really need this kind of love from our churches,” and I agreed. As I continued bonding, it was time to bless the food, and the minister in charge asked one of the residents to do the honors. That says a lot about the leadership at Praise Assembly.

When I got to the front of the food line, the love kept coming. I was greeted by the volunteers and members of Praise Assembly Church Ministries, as they served me some delicious food. One of the ladies said, “We love blessing the community and reaching their needs. I feel so blessed.” I felt blessed as well. You can see more interviews on our YouTube channel @Winstonsalem Chronicle.

Last year, the ministry produced about 700 pounds of food. Praise Assembly Church Ministries (PACM) provides fresh fruits and vegetables from their community garden, Garden of Love and Faith.  PACM was founded 24 years ago. Shortly after they moved to their current location 3254 Kernersville Road, they decided to plant a community garden to help those in need in the area. The garden, which is roughly 1/3 acre, is host to a large array of fruits, vegetables and herbs. Produce include beans, squash, okra, corn, tomatoes, Swiss chard, pumpkins, watermelon, beets, cabbage, collards, sweet potatoes, sunflowers, and more. 

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