How has God prepared you for any time of service for Him?

Gail Malick

This afternoon I busied myself with stocking shelves of canned goods, baking supplies, boxed foods, etc. at our local church's food pantry. With two distributions this week, the "store" needed fully loaded shelves so the families may enter to choose the foods to feed their hungry family members.Unlike other food pantries, we offer a variety of foods and the families get what they like and will eat. The food distributions were set up as a pantry of choice many years ago by a very thoughtful and caring man of our church. When he received his promotion to heaven, I became the coordinator of the pantry.That is where I found myself drifting off into thought today as I stocked the shelves. I saw God's hand in my life as He prepped me for this ministry many years ago. Allow me to share this road to ministry.While in high school, I worked at a very small corner store in our local small town. As an employee, I did everything from running the cash register to sorting the glass pop bottles to be returned to the companies for refills. I'm dating myself, huh? I knew how to stamp the price on the foods and I learned how to present nice products with the labels facing the customer. I sliced deli meats and cheeses to order and then cleaned the slicer each evening. I experienced a couple of inventory count days which had me speaking inventory talk as I rang up a food order for customers. Oops, I wasn't supposed to say it that way to the customer, but they understood! Most importantly, I learned how to be friendly to even the grumpiest of people.Now fast forward to my child raising years. Ed and I welcomed seven children into our household in 16.5-year spread. During that time, I was a stay-at-home mom doing everything I could to save money. Yes, I was probably the frugal queen, but I learned many additional skills of feeding a family of nine on a budgeted amount. I sought out the super deals in the sale ads. I purchased quantities of those sale items to keep the home shelves stocked. I grew a garden and canned whatever was produced. I found the secrets of taking one pound of ground beef and stretching it into a full meal for all of us. All of this prepared me for the task of feeding over 100 families each month who come to the food pantry.I still seek out the bargains and sales at each store. I keep within a budget making wise decisions on what to buy. I consider the different makeup of the families who come. Some are single and some are large families. I try to keep products for all sizes of families to utilize and I remember to face the labels to the customers for a uniform look on the shelves. I have been God's work in progress with all the prior life's experiences which provided the skill sets needed for this ministry. I just didn't know my high school job and my mom years were all part of God's training ground. Now I can look back and see it clearly.How has God prepared you for any time of service for Him? Do you have any story to share? If so, feel free to send your personal story to the editor of the Farmers' Advance at I love to hear how God works in the lives of others.Gail loves the Lord most of all. She delights in her calling to be a wife to Ed Malick and a mother to seven children ages 23 to 40 and grandmother of sixteen. Ed is sixth generation on the homestead family farm in Ypsilanti Township, Michigan.