Personal testimony compels Christ-follower to share hope with community


By Abby Hopkins

So often, the Lord uses the testimonies of His people to impact others with similar life struggles. For Elisa Valadez, whose story includes abuse, homelessness, and heartache, she knew she wanted to serve her community in this way to offer others the same hope she found in Christ.

Valadez began Pantry of Hope through First Baptist Church Laredo in 2016. Starting with a closet, the ministry opened the second Saturday of each month with food and clothing for families in the community to receive.

Texas Baptist Hunger Offering funds are used to purchase groceries for the pantry.

“It’s a blessing to have money come in that serves the community,” Valadez said.

Though Pantry of Hope started by giving just food and clothing, over the past three years, the ministry has expanded to meet every need it can, including Bibles, school supplies, toys, hygienic products, and beds for children under 

Child Protective Services.

“There’s so many ways we can serve the community,” Valadez said. “It’s unending, the amount of things we can do. We don’t just want to meet physical needs, we want to meet spiritual needs as well.”

Each person that goes to the pantry receives prayer and hears the gospel. Valadez said she is able to share hope with others through her story and empathizing with others’ hurt and loneliness.

“I see the Lord working in many different ways,” Valadez said. “Most of the people have never even heard of Jesus. It’s always such a blessing to be able to sit and pray with people and talk with children while they’re waiting to go pick up clothes and toys.”

Through her time with the ministry, Valadez said she learned there is no room for fear or worry because the Lord is sovereign over it all.

“Having total faith and submission to the Lord brings so many blessings, because, in His time, He shows us exactly what He wants to do,” Valadez said. “This is His ministry; it’s none of ours. I see that in everything He is doing here.”

The Hunger Offering partners with 117 ministries like Pantry of Hope around the world to share the hope of the gospel through meeting physical needs. To give to this work, click here.

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