The Manna Mesh
The Brown Bag and Fred Jordan ministries have joined their teams to further serve LA’s homeless community. | Tomber Su/THE CHIMES
Among all the flowers of spring, a new student group called Manna Ministry is blooming.
The ministry intends to fulfill the calling God requires his followers to convey to his children in need by showing the love of Christ in the immediate community, on Skid Row and beyond.
unite and serve
Over the course of interterm, leaders from Brown Bag and Fred Jordan decided to unite and have volunteers serve the homeless under one ministry to clear up the difficulty of choosing between the two ministries offered through Spiritual Development Ministries. Student leaders combined their ministry to provide not only spiritual needs upon the homeless and low income, but also physical needs.
The integration of Brown Bag and Fred Jordan was something Anamika Gurung, sophomore art major and now leader for spiritual care and graphic design, voiced near the end of fall 2015.
“We combined with Brown Bag, because both of us worked with homeless people and had very similar ministries with our own unique twists. Like with Brown Bag, students could donate their meals and they’d pack brown bags, but then Fred Jordan had that special relationship with the mission in Skid Row,” Gurung said.
Gurung understood the complication faced by students who desired to be a part of either ministry. She sought to alleviate this dilemma by combining the strength of each ministry into one, with the help of Adam Kuo, junior business marketing management major.
“It was an opportunity that we knew we couldn’t pass up in having the two ministries unite as one, with a common ministry mission in mind,” Kuo said.
Gurung and Kuo easily convinced Joshua Shirey, junior biblical studies and philosophy major and a previous leader of the Fred Jordan Ministry, in the call to join forces, mainly because Shirey seemed to share the same thought.
“It was almost like a confirmation of what we envisioned, and a sign from God that he had this in the works for a merger to happen,” Kuo said.
selecting a name
However one of the difficulties for the new ministry, Gurung mentioned, was selecting a name to represent the ministry in the best regard.
“We had another name we were considering [and] I was ready to put that on the info night posters. And I was working on them that day, and I skyped my parents in Nepal… and I told my parents the name, and my mom’s instant reaction [was not in favor of the name, due to its poor use of the verb],” Gurung said.
The name for the ministry began as “The Homeless Coalition,” which did not capture the heart of the ministry. Gurung’s father suggested the name Manna, which is inspired by the circumstance in the book of Exodus.
“The reason we named ourselves Manna, because we very much don’t want to dichotomize between the fact that we need to care for people physically and spiritually when it comes to volunteers and opportunities,” Shirey said.
continuation of visiting
The mesh between the two ministries allows the continuation of visiting Skid Row on the Fred Jordan Mission as well as the preparation of bagged meals.
“So far, we’ve only [gone] to the Fred Jordan mission. However, we are looking to partner with ministries elsewhere within the local community, so that we are able to have a Fred Jordan outreach one week, and a local ministry outreach the other week,” Kuo said.
Manna Ministry will provide two types of outreach, which will vary each week. Manna wants to take part in helping the immediate neighborhood with connecting with the homeless spiritually as well as providing for them physically. Manna also desires to serve those in need beyond the local LA community.
“We’ve really been trying to find more opportunities to send students [locally], because everyone goes to LA, but homelessness is becoming a bigger [deal] in Orange County, locally, and no one really helps there. And the hard thing is there’s no one to partner with, there’s no big missions, there’s no big churches, there’s just a newer thing,” Shirey said.
OVERSEAS OR LA
Manna will become involved with the church Hope Central Watts. The ministry will also take part in Love Buena Park, which is an event where business partners like Chick-Fil-A and Big Air Trampoline will host and take part in helping the local community. Otherwise the club meets every Tuesday at 9 p.m. in Sutherland 115 and on Fridays at 12:45 p.m. by the Flour Fountain of Faith for outreach events.
“The big reason why we saw it important to make [Manna] a ministry is because… it is something we are going to deal with our whole lives, whether you’re in this ministry or not. There’s always going to be people who are poor, whether you’re overseas, whether you’re in LA, whether in the South; wherever you are, you are always going to have poor people. So, really what we want to see is, how do we help that, how do we bring Jesus into context,” Shirey said.