Hope can truly begin with one person. Sometimes though, we might stand on the sidelines during certain situations because we may think to ourselves, “What impact can I make as a single person?” The truth is, by stepping out in faith, the impact that one person can have on the life of another can be indescribable.
One Heart Bringing Hope
Tricia Heng, of Pembroke Pines, knows firsthand the difference that the helping hand of a stranger can make. Years ago, when Tricia was a divorced mother, she continuously found herself in situations where she couldn’t make ends meet. She described that time in her life as a, “deep, dark pit.” The unexpected blessings she received helped pull her out of her darkest hour; revealing that God was always on her side, even during the most difficult of times.
God then placed it on her heart to return the favor to those who were hurting and in need. She has since made it her mission to bring hope to the hopeless. Tricia started up a not-for-profit organization called A Place in Time Christian Ministries. It originally started with one program, Baskets of Hope, but has branched out over the years. Baskets of Hope, which initially began in Tricia’s dining room, brings together volunteers delivering baskets to people in local neighborhoods that are struggling to put food on their tables. The baskets combine food, necessities, gifts, and most importantly, the message of Christ and hope.
Since its earlier days, when several baskets were given out throughout the year, Baskets of Hope has prospered and now delivers over 150 baskets to families throughout Broward County. “I knew that this Life was from God and I obeyed what God was saying to me. The vision of the Life is to live out Matthew 25: 35-40,” shares Tricia. “Now, people who have received baskets from years before are delivering baskets and sharing hope to other people.”
When asked why she picked the name “Baskets of Hope”, Tricia says, “It wasn’t strictly about the food in the basket. It was also about what the symbol of the basket represented in the Bible.
Jesus used the basket to feed 5,000 people; God used the basket to rescue Moses, and also to raise Paul over a high wall. The basket is a symbol that God is right there in your life, that He is going to get you through whatever it is that you are experiencing, and everything is going to get better.” She adds, “With this Life, we get to meet a practical need in someone’s life, and also build a bridge into their heart. When they see our joy and peace, and how happy we are to help them, they want to know what we have in our life that sets us apart from the rest. That is when we get to share the message of Christ and let them know that God has an awesome plan for their life.”
For Tricia, the joy she has received from watching this Life flourish over the past few years has played a major role in helping her get through her own personal struggles, as she found herself dealing with some tough situations while the Life was beginning to flourish.
First, her new husband Peter, a Corpsman with the Marines, was fighting for his country in Iraq, completing a tour from June 2007- March 2008. Standing behind Peter’s decision and desire to defend America by touring overseas, Tricia was aware that her husband would be involved in front-line combat, so she placed her trust in God that He would keep him safe. Her prayers were answered, and Peter returned home in the spring of 2008, just in time for a new challenge.
In June of 2008, a time that Tricia was running marathons, and in what she describes as “the best shape of her life,” she suddenly began to feel unwell. She remembers the day she received what she calls, “a heartless, cold phone call.” Tricia and Peter learned that day that Tricia was battling Stage 3 Cervical Cancer, a disease that comes along with a 40-47 percent, five year survival rate at that particular stage, according to the American Cancer Society.
Falling to her hands and knees, Tricia prayed. “I asked God to use this News to build His kingdom, that I was offering it up to Him, and that I was still going to serve Him. I knew that He was going to use it to draw people to Him, and over the next year, I saw people pray that I never saw pray before, and He used it to show people that He does heal people’s infirmities, and that He will never leave your side.”
During her fight with the disease, Tricia endured chemotherapy and radiation. Her weight dropped to 89 pounds and she was extremely weak. Through that trying year, she never gave up. “Even though I really wasn’t feeling well, I knew that God was healing me. I told my husband that we absolutely had to continue doing Baskets of Hope, no matter what the circumstances were. We had to keep helping those people who needed it,” Tricia recalls. “God put it on my heart shortly after all of this was happening, that instead of giving out Baskets of Hope one day out of the year, we should fulfill the needs of those that are hungry and hurting every day of the year.”
And so began the Bread of Life Food Pantry, an outreach Life put on through the help of Tricia, Peter, and volunteers at A Place in Time Ministries. The monthly food pantry has partnered up with the Department of Children and Families, The Daily Bread Food Bank, and the SNAP Program, and serves families in Broward, West of I-75, from Miramar to Weston. The Bread of Life Food Pantry schedules monthly appointments where people come into their storage facility and are given food and necessities to get them through the next month. With the help of 20 regular volunteers, approximately 250 people, including children, are helped each month through the Bread of Life Food Pantry.
Cancer Free & Ready For The Future
Tricia, now 30 pounds heavier, and about to celebrate one year free from Cancer in February, reflects on what got her through the past few years and what she looks forward to in the future.
“One of the things that really helped me get through my illness was knowing God’s purpose for my life, and clinging to it. I know that I am here to help people learn about God and to help them find their purpose. One of my favorite sayings for Christians is, “We need to get out of the seat and into the street for Jesus Christ,” states Tricia. “Jesus didn’t wait for people to come to him, he went to them first. As a community, we need to partner up with other people and other churches and get involved in others’ lives. At A Place in Time, we first meet a practical need, such as food, resources, etc and then we build a relationship, which in turn helps us share the love of Jesus, who then meets their spiritual needs.”
In addition to their Baskets of Hope and Bread of Life Food Pantry programs, the Life has recently started an outside church worship service on Sundays at 10:00 a.m., at the Everglades Holiday Park. “I have watched God take an annual outreach, Baskets of Hope, and birth a monthly food pantry, and now a weekly worship service,” shares Tricia. “This all started from one person.
Now, as a community, we need to band together. I want people to know that one in 10 families in Broward County is considered ‘working poor’. This means that even though someone in the household is working, they cannot meet the basic needs of life, such as food, clothing, and medical care. Anyone can make a difference in their community. You do not have to have a lot of money or a lot of space, just trust in the Lord and obey Him, and He will do amazing things through you.”
For those who would like to help out this Life, Tricia suggests holding a food drive at your place of business, collecting non-perishable items and toiletries. Two of the goals this year for the Life are to secure a larger storage space, so that they can have more food on hand for families, and to start up a clothing bank, for those who cannot afford to purchase clothes for themselves or their family. Volunteers are also always needed.
Proving that God can take a single person, use them mightily, and turn their efforts into something grand that will ultimately help many, Tricia continues to commit herself to the Lord and looks forward to the plans that He has for A Place in Time’s future. “Everyone here is dedicated to serving God and helping other people excel in purposeful living”. My prayer for those out there who are hurting and in need is that they discover their life’s purpose, and live passionately, while persevering with Biblical truths,” adds Tricia.
For more information about A Place in Time Christian Ministries, please visit: www.APlaceInTime.org or call 954-536-4048.