An expert and gifted seamstress, and Family Church member for years, Mary Ann Vermillion has often used her sewing skills for the Lord while serving with VBS, Adult and Kids choir programs, and countless church events, as well as for church members. So when Pam Shuler, a friend she serves with in Worship Arts, approached Mary Ann with a need, she knew she wanted to help. Pam’s husband, Paul, an orthopedic surgeon, needed masks for his medical staff at Provident Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center, in Ocoee.
“After watching the CDC guidelines video, I said, ‘sure’.” Mary Ann and daughter, Kate, got to work. Using cotton fabric and elastic they already had, they made masks for Dr. Shuler’s practice, as well as another medical practice that had come to their attention. Pam says receiving the masks was such a blessing to Dr. Shuler and his entire medical staff.
Since that first “sure” there have been many more, as the Mary Ann and Kate began thinking of others they knew who might need a mask: friends who were still going to work or that had sick family members, Family Church members, and eventually medical workers in a New York hospital.
Mary Ann and Kate have donated their masks to JoAnn Fabric, who is working with area hospitals to supply masks. And Kate is now making youth masks for girls and boys using fun fabrics she purchased, while Mary Ann has branched out and recently helped a friend make scrub hats for her nursing staff.
Two days before Easter Samantha Flynn heard a knock at the door. She opened the door, with three kids in tow, and saw a small Easter basket on the porch with a note. The note said, “Happy Easter! We hid 12 eggs in your yard. One is empty to represent Jesus’ empty tomb.”
Her two older boys immediately ran out into the yard to find the eggs, while Samantha, still holding her newborn, followed with tears in her eyes. The boys vigorously searched and found every egg within 30 seconds. As they were finishing their search, they both froze in place as they saw the giant Easter Bunny approaching. These Family Church neighbors not only took the time to hide eggs in the Flynn’s yard, but they also had the Easter Bunny with them. The boys were ecstatic.
But it wasn’t just the Flynn’s house they were visiting. They were going throughout the neighborhood doing the same thing at other houses with children. The Johnson/Combs family had decided they were going to “Be the church” and did something thoughtful for their neighbors, while reminding them that Easter is about Jesus.
As a Family Church pastor, Mike Flynn says, “We are always looking for ways to bless people during hard times. I’m not sure if this family understands how much they blessed us and brought joy to our Easter. We will never forget our quarantined Easter and how special it was because someone cared!”
During this Coronavirus outbreak, Troy and Barbie Schmidt’s neighbor Jules Greene died from the virus, while in the hospital. He and his wife of 51 years, Barbara, had attended a neighborhood Bible study held by the Schmidts. Knowing Barbara was unable to leave her house or have a funeral during this time, Troy and Barbie wanted to do something special for her, so they organized a memorial service. Keeping a safe distance, neighbors stood, scattered around their cul-de-sac. Mark Goff, the choir-of-one, sang Jules’ favorite hymns, including Amazing Grace. Barbara read her favorite verse, “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;'” (John 11:25 NIV). And then Troy gave a short message. Barbie recorded the entire service so family and friends could participate online. Barbara couldn’t receive hugs, but no doubt she felt the loving touch of her Savior from this act of kindness by her neighbors.
Later, the Orlando Sentinel heard about this and interviewed Troy for an article (see link below).