3rd Grade Elementary Teacher
In the Heritage Christian School parking lot, in spot number 431, sits an inconspicuous gold 2006 Honda Odyssey minivan. Unbeknownst to many, it's an informal donation place for a global outreach on Indy's west side. Its doors are always left unlocked so that anyone can drop off gently used clothing and household goods inside. The unassuming van just happens to belong to 3rd grade teacher Jennifer Nutter.
By day, the van is a vehicle for transportation. But on many weekends, it transforms into an answered prayer on wheels, when it pulls up to the Stratford apartment complex where numerous refugees and their families live. They come to Indy from around the globe; from Kenya, Somalia, Iraq, Iran, Thailand, Burma and beyond. When they receive their American paperwork and arrive in the States, they come with little more than the clothes they're wearing. Virtually none of them are prepared for cold Indiana winters.
So when Nutter, her family and a few other volunteers begin to unload the van's contents, it's like Christmas morning. A floor lamp here, a baby blanket there...what seems like a random collection of goods consistently and specifically meets the needs of this appreciative international community. Nutter says that over and over, God delivers exactly what each family needs. Recently, two families struggled to provide required uniforms for their children in IPS schools. Nutter was delighted to find 19 pairs of uniform pants at a garage sale the exact week that they needed them! When an elderly family member desperately needed a wheelchair to get around, it was no coincidence that one was donated that very week.
The items do more than meet a physical need for the recipients, says Nutter. "It's a way for us to share Jesus' love and develop relationships with them," she explains. For five years, Nutter and her family have worked with friends to reach this little-known population in our city's borders.
"We get to share the love of Jesus right here in Indy."
It all began as a one-time family project to provide Christmas gifts for a refugee family. When the Nutters met and delivered their gifts to the family, God sparked a desire to do more. The ministry burgeoned through word of mouth within the Heritage and church community. Within a short period of time, the Nutters had accumulated so many donations that they outgrew the confines of their garage and rented a 10 x 20 storage unit. Even still, the weekend runs today find the van packed to the gills with items for waiting families.
"You just never know what the Lord is going to do when you focus on someone else," says Nutter. "This is a ministry we never dreamed we'd have. Through it, God has brought the world to us. We've seen God supply over and over. We get to share the love of Jesus right here in Indy."