The harvest time dinner table doesn’t look the same as it used to in the “good ole’ days” of married life and raising a family. Tomatoes stacked high on the table, fresh sauces stewing on the stovetop, and freshly prepared garden veggies being stocked away for the winter months ahead . . .
A flourishing garden has always been a symbol of provision for Paul McVay (92 years old), a retired engineer from the Tulsa area. A solid bounty of homegrown fruits & vegetables meant that there was plenty to share with neighbors. But it also ensured that his wife Leila had plenty of fresh ingredients on hand to prepare some of his favorite meals.
It’s been about a year since Paul lost his wife Leila—a precious woman who believed in treasuring the life God gave you. The loneliness has been a constant ache ever since, and he would be the first to tell you that companionship is his greatest need. And as time has gone on, and as Paul has grown a little older, the garden plot grows a little smaller; the yield a little less than the one before.
But God’s provision remains unchanged. It just looks a little different these days.
Paul is able to live a quality life in his own home because of a community of individuals that has chosen to pour into his life.
Holly brings him a few freezer meals each month. Laura takes him grocery shopping every week to fill in the gaps. And Sally makes sure he is spiritually fed by picking him up for church every Sunday.
Then there’s the bus driver who picks Paul up every week to volunteer at the Manna Center— the same place where he and his wife volunteered together for 25 years of their retired life. Their legacy of love for one’s neighbor lives on through him.
And ministry volunteers, Mike & Allison (pictured above), visit Paul every Friday and help him with needs around the house— including the harvesting of fresh tomatoes, okra, peppers, and squash from a small garden plot they’ve help him tend. The bounty isn’t quite what Paul might’ve envisioned for his garden in younger days. But I’m pretty sure his idea of “harvest” is a little different now than in times past.
After all, the table being prepared for him is unlike any harvest time table he’s ever experienced. The bounty is more than plentiful, and the company is fantastic! And if it’s anything like we imagine it, there will be a special seat saved just for him . . . right next to his sweet Leila.
WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW TO HEAR HOW MINISTRY VOLUNTEERS, MIKE & ALLISON STEFFENS, HAVE BEEN IMPACTED BY OUR "NEIGHBOR" PAUL.