Feeding hope, faith, and love

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Wow is the first word that comes to mind when we look back at the past few months and we look forward toward the months ahead. We are just blown away by the way God is using and growing our ministry, and by the way that others are coming along us to support it.

The Ivy Table turned 18 months old in July, and as has been our practice since day 1, we pray regularly that God will direct our steps and make our path clear. It has always been our desire that He guide our ministry, and He has been faithful...opening and closing doors every step of the way. As you read this month's newsletter, we pray that you will see God's fingerprints in every area of our ministry. He is active and at work, and greatly blessing the efforts of all who pray for, donate, and volunteer with The Ivy Table. What an honor to have such an incredible group of ministry partners. Thank you for your support!

A deeper look at Matthew 25:35-36

Matthew 25:35 was a key verse in the formation of our nonprofit, highlighting our focus to provide for those in need. "For I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you invited me in". It is a verse that we have memorized and we repeat over and over again.

Recently, however, we saw the verse in a whole new light. When you combine it with verse 36, it is not only is it a call to help those in need, it is a call to give ourselves. Verse 35 begins with a very simple, hands off way of helping...

  • "for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink". You see a need and provide what is needed. (SEE & SEND)

It then challenges us to welcome in those who we don't know

  • "I was a stranger and you invited me in". This one is a little bit harder. It requires getting outside of our comfort zone and talking to the people that God puts in our path. It requires getting involved, extending an invitation, and being willing to invest a bit of time (INVOLVE & INVEST)

When you add verse 36, the call to help others goes even deeper

  • "I needed clothes and you clothed me. I was sick and you looked after me". Now things are getting real. Not only are we called to provide what is needed, and to show hospitality, but we are called to literally (and metaphorically) wrap our arms around others. To do this, requires getting to know them, building a relationship with them, and truly loving them. (LEARN & LOVE)

And as if all of that isn't challenging enough...the final part of verse 36 involves taking that love on the road.

  • "I was in prison and you came to visit". This is a call to missions work. It is a call to get out of our comfort zone and go to wherever God is calling us. In addition to helping those who God paces right in front of us, we are also commanded to physically go to places of hurt and heartbreak in order to provide hope to all. (GO & GIVE)

Our original plan for The Ivy Table was to live out verse 25:35 and to help those around us by providing food and biblical hospitality, but God had bigger plans. Before we knew it, however, He also added verse 36 to our calling with a ministry in Thailand. We are excited to not only be meeting a great need there, but to also be getting to know the incredible people in that country and having the opportunity to show God's love to them. With our first missions trip planned for this January, we can't wait to be answering God's complete call for us.

How may God be calling you to move from just meeting needs as described in verse 35 (a "see and send" mentality) to seeking them out as exampled in verse 36 (to "go and give")?

Building new classrooms in Thailand

This spring, due to your overwhelming support, we were able to contribute funds to the Love and Care refugee school in Thailand to help build some much needed covered classrooms for their growing student body. Not only did they have the building ready just in time for the new school year to begin on June 13, but the students did most of the work themselves.

The 4 minute below shows the entire building process from start to finish, with the students welding, moving rocks by the bucket-full, and even doing the cement work on the floor...so impressive!!!

Thanks for your generosity!

Please continue to keep this school in your prayers, they now house, feed, educate, and share Jesus with over 160 refugee children, each one pictured in the 'first day of school' photo below.

A SMonday Supper Success!

On June 23, we had an incredible response to our 'SMonday Supper' with over 150 people joining us to hear updates about our ministry in Thailand and share a Thai inspired meal, some very delicious desserts, and bid on a few great auction items.

Our theme for the evening was "Building a Foundation" and the tables were playfully decorated with construction tools, hats, and cones. In addition to learning about the exciting building project at the refugee school in Thailand, those in attendance were also able to hear details about another upcoming project in that country.

Lhen Lhen Alfonso, the director of Mercy Pattaya, gave a moving testimony about why she has been called to serve the underprivileged in that city. She also shared her dreams for opening a hospitality training center that would provide children living in the slums and local orphanages with an opportunity to learn the necessary skills to obtain careers in the hospitality industry. We are excited to come alongside the Mercy organization to help them obtain that dream.

In all, the evening helped us raise nearly $20,000 to help build the foundation for that project. Thanks to all who helped make the night a success!

Missionary Spotlight: Lhen Lhen Alfonso from Mercy Pattaya

If you were able to attend our 'SMonday Supper', you had the privilege of hearing from Lhen Lhen, the director of Mercy Pattaya. She is an inspiring woman with an incredible story of overcoming all odds. She was born in the Philippines and has dedicated her life to serving the underprivileged in Pattaya, Thailand. She works to provide disabled children with the therapies and medical treatments needed to overcome their handicaps, she works with women and children who have been trafficked, and she feeds and cares for families living in the poorest slum neighborhoods. In addition to providing what each needs physically and emotionally, she also feeds them spiritually by praying with them and sharing Jesus. In a country that is 95% Buddhist and only 2% Christian, Lhen Lhen is brightly shinning the love of Christ on a population that lives in great darkness.

Although Lhen Lhen does not think of herself as a missionary, anyone who knows her can clearly see that she is doing God's work. For many years now, she has been running the Mercy organization full time and accepting no pay because "she didn't want to take from those she is serving, from those who need it more". With a growing family, however, the hardship of that sacrifice has been increasingly difficult on her family. We are excited to now help provide monthly support for Lhen Lhen, as well as for 2 other key members of the Mercy organization.

If you would like to join us in providing support to Lhen Lhen, simply make a donation to The Ivy Table and designate your donation in the comments section.


Thank you 100 Women Who Care

On August 16, we were blessed to receive a $9,000 check from 100 Women Who Care organization of Livingston County. The members of this group vote on one local charity every quarter to receive a large donation, and this quarter, The Ivy Table was chosen as the winner. Not only did several of the groups members visit us to present the check, they also stayed to help pack meals for our Wed ComeUnity dinner. Thank you 100 Women!

ComeUnity Dinners moving back inside on Sept 6!

We are grateful that our ComeUnity Dinners have been able to continue all summer long using a To-Go format, but are very excited for our weekly meals move back inside in just a couple weeks. These dinners, hosted by Cornerstone Church, provide a unique opportunity for the entire community (young and old, rich and poor, believers and not) to enjoy a made from scratch meal together on a donate-what-you- can basis.

After nearly 10 years of advertising a per person meal cost of $5, after a closer analysis of our food costs, we will now be increasing the suggested donation amount to $7 (which also includes drinks and a dessert). As always, we will not collect this amount from each guests, but will instead place a voluntary donation basket at the front of the food line. Those who can donate generously help us cover the costs of those who cannot.

Pre-registration is always requested to help us with food planning. Our indoor kick-off on Sept 6th will feature a Fall Fiesta Feast. View upcoming menus and register to attend here.

We are always looking for volunteers to help prepare, serve, and clean up the meal as well as those willing to greet and mingle with our guests. Let us know if you are interested in helping.

Sending a team to Thailand

4 months from now, on January 2, 2024, The Ivy Table will be embarking on our first organized missions trip, as we send a team of 10 people to the country of Thailand. The team will be gone nearly 3 weeks, spending the first half of their time in Mae Sot (northern Thailand) working with refugee students. The second half of the trip will be spent in Pattaya (central Thailand) working with families living in the poorest areas of the slums.

While there, we will be sponsoring free food distributions, community dinners, and engaging in building projects. We will be holding an overnight VBS style retreat for local students and giving the morning message at a church in the slums.

We would greatly appreciate your prayers for this trip and for any financial support that you may be able to provide. Between travel expenses and service projects while there, the total cost of our trip is estimated to exceed $60,000.

Pledge your prayer or financial support

Join us on Sunday, September 10 from 5-8pm

for our very first

Hike for Hope

and show your support for

Hunger Awareness Month

Participate in an evening of family fun, while learning about how you can help fight hunger (both locally and worldwide). The night will include:

  • 1/2 mile interactive hike (on a flat trail of grass and dirt through the woods)
  • Picnic style dinner
  • Bonfires with s'mores
  • Lawn games
  • Live music

Put on your walking shoes and enjoy an evening of fellowship and fun at the beautiful property of Jon and Sandy Morgan, 9580 Bergin Rd, Howell 48843.

The event is FREE, but we are asking that you bring a non-perishable food item with you to help us stock a food pantry for at-risk kids (located inside a Livingston County school). Sponsorship opportunities are available to help fund the hike and support our mission of not just providing food to the hungry and hurting, but also feeding them hope, faith, and love.

Registration is now open...invite a friend and join us!

Register to attend OR become an event sponsor HERE

Mark your Calendars!!!

We are excited to announce that on Sunday, December 10, we will be hosting an amazing holiday event at the Tandale Nature Barn in Brighton. It will feature a delicious meal by Whisk and Ivy, and Blues Style Christmas Music arranged by Sarah Hunt and performed by an incredible group of local musicians. Watch for details!



As we continue expanding The Ivy Table, we are seeking ministry partners who would like to support us monthly. Giving can be set up online by direct debit or credit card OR pledge to give monthly by check and we will mail you a friendly reminder and self addressed envelope each month.

Set up reoccuring monthly giving online

Thank you for your continued prayers and support. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or would like to become involved in any part of our ministry.

Jessica, Barb, and Sandy

The Ivy Table