Giving Blankets in Jesus' Name: As Cold Grips Nation, New Book Tells Story of Homeless Ministry that Started with Blankets FeaturedWritten by Michael Ireland
By Michael Ireland, Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service
(ANS - DALLAS, TX, Jan. 15, 2015) -- Serving the homeless is the mission of Susie Y. Jennings, founder and president of Operation Care International (OCI), which now serves hundreds of thousands worldwide in a ministry that started with blankets.
Following the tragic death of her husband, Jennings sought a way to serve God and her community. God's command to her after she was widowed was to provide blankets to the homeless living under a bridge in downtown Dallas, according to a media release.
"I didn't even like homeless people," she admits with candor. "When I was a girl in the Philippines, the homeless would beg and my mom would feed them. We were a large family and I felt like they were eating my food.
"But then God showed me the homeless and told me to help them. To give them blankets."
So she did.
Then a nurse at a major hospital, she began purchasing blankets and asking others to help her buy more. The blankets were distributed with a Christian message, food, and love. The homeless community called her the Blanket Lady.
But as Jennings saw needs, the ministry grew.
"Through God's grace and guidance a community blanket distribution project has grown into a worldwide ministry where we have reached nearly 24,000 children in nine countries and over 130,000 homeless men, women and children in the Dallas Metroplex area," Jennings explained.
Her stunning story is now a just-released book telling the story of Operation Care International, 31 Days of Mountaintop Miracles: One Woman's Legacy of Unconditional Obedience.
"It is the never-ending supply of miracles woven together layer upon layer that makes up the intricate and colorful fabric of Operation Care International," Jennings writes in the book's introduction.
According to the media release, in 2004, OCI launched Operation Care Christmas Gift, determined to serve and honor the thousands of homeless at Christmas with an event held at the Dallas Convention Center to celebrate Jesus' birthday.
The news release says the now-annual event in December 2014 drew more than 20,000 people - more than 17,000 homeless adults and impoverished children and families, as well as more than 3,000 volunteers. The event provides hot meals, an array of health and personal care services, plus clothing, sleeping bags, and blankets. New shoes and socks come with the event's signature foot washing by volunteers and with the gospel message presented by volunteers and entertainers.
In addition, OCI provides free phone calls home, seeking to reunite families. This year OCI paid for three homeless persons as well as one other needy woman to return home.
For the homeless and impoverished children, the day also includes a birthday party for Jesus with toys and books, games, clowns, petting zoo, face painting, and cupcakes.
OCI has received commendations from Texas Governor Rick Perry, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Texas Congressman Pete Sessions (32nd District) and even a commendation letter from former President George W. Bush.
Jennings' heart for the homeless and impoverished in other parts of the world led to OCI's expansion. By the end of 2015, OCI will have provided ministry in the Philippines, India, Kenya, Taiwan, China, Indonesia, Cambodia, Israel, Jordan and Brazil.
Jennings shares the 31 stories to inspire as well as inform, as her life and testimony challenge the reader to see the miracle moments in his or her own life.
"We are all part of His glorious plan, and when we follow Him with unconditional obedience and joy, there is no telling what kind of miracles will happen," she stated.
"Has God called you to do something that you thought was impossible?" Jennings asks. "It's so exciting to see what God has in store for us if we listen to His voice and exercise unconditional obedience when we hear Him."
31 Days of Mountaintop Miracles: One Woman's Legacy of Unconditional Obedience (ISBN: 978-1940262833, $12.99) is co-published by Clovercroft Publishing, Nashville, TN. and Roaring Lambs Publishing, Dallas. The book is now available from select bookstores, Amazon and other online retailers.
For more information about Operation Care International, visit www.operationcareinternational.org.
Media Contact: Joni Sullivan Baker, Buoyancy PR, 513-319-3231