Brenda's Story

Soup & Security During an Illinois Winter
Brenda Johnston, Wheaton, Illinois

Early in the fall of 2007, I read Secure in Heart by Robin Weidner and found her explanations echoing through my mind. I longed to be able to share them with others. At the same time, I found myself praying often for the people who live in a low-cost apartment complex near my home. God seemed to bring together my meditations on security in heart and my desire to reach out in my neighborhood with an idea. I began visualizing women with some pressing needs gathered around my dining room table, sharing both warm soup and warm conversation. I felt confident that God would bring healing and help through this.


Since my daughter Lydia was home on Christmas break, I asked her to join me in knocking on doors in the apartments on the weekend before the New Year. We offered an invitation card with a picture of a steaming bowl of soup, to be shared over discussions of inner security, with the Bible as our main source of guidance. The luncheon study would be held on Saturdays from 12:30 to 2:00 in January and February, the bleakest months in an Illinois winter. My husband Lance even insisted on being the soup maker!


Over the course of eight weeks, about a dozen women shared in the Soup & Security events in my home. One of those was a newly arrived refugee from Burundi, brought to Wheaton with her family by the World Relief organization. As we shared soup and prayers and worked at English communication, she also taught me Swahili prayers which mean “Help me, Jesus” and “Thank you, Jesus.” Surely God is hearing the prayers of those who seek him, and he is providing them security and refuge in ways far beyond their imagination.


This group of women also included a young wife expecting her first child, a retiree, a middle-aged recent widow with two adopted children, and several other friends and neighbors, each with their own special concerns and needs. One of those neighbors continues to spend time with me each week studying God’s Word, a great blessing to both of us.


Though I’ve always struggled through our long, cold winters with low feelings and low energy, this winter felt warm and exciting because of God at work through Robin’s book, Secure in Heart and through our Soup & Security group.


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