This weekend, The Salvation Army Laotian Corps conducted chapel as they always do every Sunday morning starting at 11:00 a.m. In addition to the beautiful worship, opening prayer and offering, they prayed over sacks of sweet rice, jasmine rice from Thailand, oils, flour, water, coffee and other supplies that lay at the foot of the alter.
During the last service within the month of January, this congregation will bring food to the alter to be prayed over and utilized to feed the church family and the community throughout the year. I held back tears as one by one, each member of the Laotian Corps went up to the alter until they had all gathered and Captain Ken Phiouthong led them in prayer. He thanked God for everything in their life, the good and the bad. They prayed a blessing over the food and that it would meet the need until this time next year.
In speaking with Captain Neva Phiouthong, she said all of the food presented at the alter lasts the year and feeds thousands. She went on to say that throughout the year, majority of their church members bring in even more supplies so this corps never has to spend a dime on food.
After the service, everyone gathers downstairs and enjoys a freshly prepared lunch together. These meals are lovingly prepared by the members of the church and can include chicken, noodles with vegetables and sticky rice. The food was glorious but what I enjoyed the most was watching the sense of family all around me. There was laughter, there were smiles, plenty of hugs and unlimited amounts of respect and honor. Captain Neva leaned over as we were eating and shared with me on one of their church members who was a refugee from Cambodia. I saw her sitting with a group of ladies smiling and laughing as one of the other ladies relayed a story. Captain Neva said that this woman didn’t speak any of the languages around her, yet she came week after week and loved being with everyone. This really moved me yet didn’t surprise me because when it comes to God, there really is only one language. Love! And this is what’s displayed here on any given day. There is unity, there is thankfulness, there is honor, there is respect, there is appreciation and there is love. A love for one another; a love of Christ and all that He stands for.