Hope Ministries is thankful to all of our volunteers! From time to time, we like to share special stories of volunteers who find unique ways to support our ministry to homeless and hungry, men women and children.
Loren and Alberta Kalkwarf
Loren and Alberta Kalkwarf of Garner were inspired when their granddaughter returned from a church missions trip to Hope Ministries. Hearing her talk about her experience led them to consider what they could to help our ministry. So Loren rigged up his tractor and trailer, included a sign announcing plans to “collect clothes for the homeless in Des Moines,” and entered it in local parades in Garner and neighboring communities. That was just the beginning! In the past 18 months, Loren and Alberta have delivered 25 loads of clothing to our Hope Donation Center! We thank God for mission partners like the Kalkwarfs who have a heart for the hurting and invest their retirement years in such a worthwhile endeavor.
Mark Cary’s eulogy of his father-in-law Jay Brown
It is not possible to tell the story of Jay Brown in one service or even one day. His life, like yours and mine is like a book with many pages. Admittedly, some of you may be more familiar with Jay Brown than I am. Many of you will have known Jay longer than I have. If that is the case, then I am confident that your life story is richer and fuller as a result. I know mine has been.
For those of you who do not know me I am Mark Cary and I have had the honor of being Jay’s son in law for 28 years. In addition to family gatherings for holidays, birthdays and just for fun I spent a fair amount of time with Jay fishing and hunting and just talking during the last 28 years.
Jay Browns’ life was filled with friends and service to others. The Jay Brown I know was a wise man, a strong man, with strength and character inside that many men never possess. Jay was a man of quiet strong faith who continually demonstrated that faith in real world actions. A familiar sight in his home was Jay sitting in his reading chair with his Bible in hand. When Jay prayed you could hear humility in his voice and his words were those of someone who has spent a great deal of time in prayer. Jay made it an every day part of his life to give back. He lived out his faith for many years through volunteer work for his church and for Hope Ministries. Even when he could no longer hunt or fish you could find Jay with reliability – serving others at Hope Ministries. I remember him telling me, in his own way about his work for the church and his work at Hope Ministries. He shared simple brief stories about the men he knew at Hope Ministries. He talked of sharing his faith with them and trying to be an encouragement to them.
In the past three days I have come to the conclusion that one of the things God wants each of us to do at times like this in life – is to think. Naturally, we morn the loss of someone very dear to us, we remember, we celebrate his finished work and return home to his maker – and we think. We think about many things. If you’re like me we think about family, friends, the pages of our lives thus far and also – the brevity of life.
The final chapter in the life story of Jay Brown was written this weekend, his faith, his love for his Lord and service to his Lord and to others on this earth came to an end.
For you and me - the pages of our lives are still being written.
Jay was always planning ahead to make sure things were taken care of. Looking back over the last year or two – now I realize that his conversations with me about Hope Ministries were strategically planted seeds – planning ahead if you will – he wanted to do what he could to ensure that the work would go on. As a result I plan to give serious consideration to how I can give back more and where I can serve the Lord and others more – consideration with action.
It is my belief that Jay more than anything else would desire us to continue growing in our faith, to walk humbly and obediently with our Lord and to put our faith into action for others.
Today while we morn, remember and celebrate, on behalf of Jay Brown, someone I respect, admire and love very much I invite each of you to join me in the thinking process as well.
I want to encourage you today – as I believe Jay would encourage us – to think about how we will carry on – in service to God’s Kingdom and to others. To put our faith into action.
Knowing Jay – that would bring joy to his heart – and in keeping with his wise efficiency in planning ahead – ultimately to our own hearts as well.
A Volunteer Who Lives from His Heart
More than a decade ago, Jay Brown walked through the doors of our Door of Faith facility at its old downtown location and asked to volunteer. Today, he holds the title of second longest-lasting volunteer!
Retired as senior vice president of finance at National Traveler’s Insurance Company, Jay says he volunteers at Door of Faith because he feels the love of the Lord there. “Everyone is so kind in thanking me every time I come and as I leave. I feel the appreciation of the residents.”
Jay never tires of watching men grow and mature in their walk with Christ. “I like to see the change over time in their outlooks on life and in their attitudes. Their hearts are hardened at first, then I get to see them soften over time.”
Each Thursday, Jay helps prepare, serve and clean up the evening meal alongside our residents. Though he knows it would get done without him, he says a staff member’s comment years ago keeps him going. “He told me, ‘Your just being here is MORE than what you do.’ That stuck with me.”
Steve, a member of our STAR recovery program, looks forward to Jay each week. “Jay always has a kind word for me, and his quick wit and sense of humor have put laughter back in my life. When I was nervous about being assigned to be breakfast cook, Jay told me, ‘I know you’re gonna be just fine.’ Those words of assurance meant a lot!”
Do you have a kind word and time to share? Visit www.hopeiowa.org to get started or simply call (515) 265-7272. Remember, “just being here is MORE than what you do”!