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Peanut Butter and Jesus

by Erika Lott

My first time hearing about PB&J was during my senior year at OBI.

One day I was in one of Bro. Shelton’s classes and he was in the middle of teaching and in the middle of teaching he stopped and began to talk about outreach ministry and the importance of it. He mentioned bus ministry, nursing home, etc. and then he said something along the lines of, “Sometimes ministry can look a little different. Bro. Sloggett has that Pb&J ministry going on, that’s an awesome way to reach kids. Someone should try to get one started.” I went back to the dorm and looked into Pb&J a little more and couldn’t agree more with Bro. Shelton, it seemed like an awesome way to reach and make new contacts, but who will start it up?

A few months after that I had the opportunity to go to Oklahoma with outreach and as Bro. Sloggett stood there and talked to us about the importance of outreach and going out into the communities he mentioned several ministries that they’re involved in, but when he got to Pb&J something clicked again, yet I didn’t think too much of it.

Fast forward to my graduation and I was standing there in the front of the church along side my fellow graduates, greeting different ones as they walked through to congratulate my class and I. My youth pastors at the time Bro. Gabe and Sis. Apryl, made it over to me. They congratulated me and we got a picture, then Bro. Gabe looked at me and said, “Erika, have you ever heard of Pb&J, that ministry that’s going on in Oklahoma? This may be crazy, but I feel like someone needs to bring that to our church and do it in the Illinois/St. Louis area. I think it would be great if you did it!”

He said as he was sitting there through the graduation, that the Lord laid it on his heart to talk to me about starting Pb&J in our church. He told me that he kinda shrugged it off because it was my graduation and he didn’t feel like it was quite the best time to talk to me about it, but he really felt the Lord nudging him to tell me that night about starting it up! I stood there in shock for a second because I hadn’t mentioned anything about those previous situations to anyone, so I knew that this was definitely the Lord, wanting me to step out in faith and bring this ministry to our home church!

As soon as I came home I was excited to start this process of bringing Pb&J to our church. Initially I had no idea how much would go into getting this started, the whole process was very exciting, but a little nerve racking at the same time. I just wanted everything to be perfect!

I’m very thankful for the role that my youth pastors played in my life during this process and

just the fact that they held me accountable. I remember week after week they would ask me, “...So how’s Pb&J? Are you still working towards it? When are you going to start it?” I definitely needed that accountability.

My entire church was very supportive and everyone just jumped right in and helped out in so many different ways. I can’t say just how much it means to me to be apart of a church that encourages and even pushes us to go out and minister to others!

Our plan was to go out the last Sunday of each month, hand out bags that contain a sack lunch, and a church invite. Our aim is to hand out 50 (sometimes it ranges from 50-80) bags each month!

After everything was all done we were all ready! Our first Pb&J was on November 24th, 2019. It was awesome just going out and doing it, first hand! Our first time going out there were four of us and we handed out our 50 bags. The Lord truly helped us, we made a lot of new contacts.

It’s such an amazing thing to have the opportunity to reach out to our community here! I know that sometimes I struggle with witnessing and reaching out to people, but one of the reasons why I love Pb&J so much is because it helps to break the ice and it opens the door up for us meet people right where they are and to witness to them! I feel like it also plants us right in our own community. There have been times that I’ll bump into some of these people while out in town or maybe at a grocery store and they recognize me! They’ll come up to talk. There’s even times that you’ll see kids trying to get their parents attention just to tell them, ”Look, its the Pb&J lady!” Moments like these are priceless!! Nothing compares to being able to build relationships with people right here within your reach.

When I think of Pb&J today, there’s so many things that flood my mind!

I remember the first time we went out we came across a mom and her little boy, we talked to her and offered her a bag, she began to tell us about how she use to come to our church but moved and lost contact with the bus captains. We exchanged information and I didn’t hear anything else from her, so I didn’t think anything else of it.

A few months back I was riding on one of our church buses and that Sunday we picked up a few kids who usually would’ve rode a different bus and I noticed that our bus stopped at that same home and that same little boy came running out of that home to the bus, apparently he had started back coming a few years back, after that our encounter with his mom. I just had never managed to cross paths with him while at church, but I can’t explain how much that lifted my faith!

We visit a senior citizen living facility in town almost every time that we go out. There’s a man who lives there and he knows exactly what day we’re stopping by and every time we make it to his door, he’ll stop and talk to us and ask a few questions, then he’ll grab our hands, bring us into a big circle and ask us all to gather together to pray for him. He never fails to tell us how much he looks forward to us stopping by and how blessed he feels to have everyone praying for him. It’s always so encouraging every time we get to visit with him!

A few month back during the summer time we went to a new spot and as we pulled in people were just walking up and talking to us, everyone was so open to the Gospel, as I was pulling off I looked into my rear view mirror and I could see a few people still following behind my car. Though we had a great turnout, with people literally stopping my car asking me “What are you guys doing? Is there anymore? When will you be back?”

All I could think was, “Wow, there is such a need..” I’ll never forget the burden I felt that day. I had 3 other workers in my car with me and as we were driving away one of them began to tear up as she said, “There’s such a work to done..”

Since that day those words have flashed across my mind often. I want to do all that can to make a difference in this world around me.

The people who we are coming into contact with are not just hungry physically but they are hungry spiritually. Our motto is “Pb&J, because there’s nothing a little peanut butter and a whole lot of Jesus can’t fix!” That sums up our mission not only feeding people and trying to meet their physical needs but I want to lead everyone that I come in contact with, to Jesus...the only One who can meet all of their needs!

I just want to encourage anyone who is reading this, that you CAN do something for the Lord. Just think of the souls that are out there waiting for you!

Even if it seems so small just remember that “Little is much, when God is in it!”


A note from the editors:

We are thankful for Sis. Erika's testimony and the ministry of Peanut Butter and Jesus. If you would like to volunteer or support this ministry, click the link below. May God richly bless you!

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