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  • Writer's pictureJules Arata

dinner is ready

Fargo, ND



"have you ever stood in the middle of a miracle?"


this is a question i asked my friend this morning. he said that he was not sure. && i think that answer is true for a lot of people. sometimes you don't realize until you have the opportunity to look back and reflect, && sometimes you never see the miracle at all.


&& somehow the Lord trusted me to be aware of the miracle while i was standing in it.


the Lord put it on the hearts of the people of Fargo, North Dakota to come to us saying they wanted to try to pack 10 million meals in 10 days to celebrate their 10th year of hosting an event. this was unheard of, never before attempted, && yet we said yes.


walking into this week, we all had the awareness that we were about to make and witness history. that no matter what the final number was, we would have attempted to put on the largest event in the history of our organization. && man does that change your outlook when you are walking into a work environment with that collective headspace. this mindset changes how a team functions, how they communicate, remembering something that is so much bigger than yourself, or even the state of North Dakota.


i was at this event almost a year ago, yet somehow i forgot about the magic of it. of 114 churches coming together to make this happen. hearing prayers of every denomination. of every middle && high school student in a 40 mile radius coming to volunteer. what a humbling reminder of the impact we were making on those kids by showing them what joyful service and worshipful work looks like.



some special magic moments that i got to witness:


a little boy in a wheelchair bringing full boxes of food on his lap to get weighed. men who came from a recovery program 4 hours away to run our warehouse experiencing heart change. those same men breaking out in loud cheers whenever that little boy brought up a box. you just know those moments will stick with him for his whole life.


having two blind labelers and watching them joyfully serve, labelling so accurately, && asking some of the best questions i have ever been asked on an event.


that despite a blizzard warning, the people of ND still managed to pack over a million meals that day alone.


getting to reconnect and work alongside two women that i respect so deeply, yet they eagerly sought out my leadership && counsel.


meeting the host of an event i will be supervising in upstate NY while both labeling in Fargo. the Lord allowing us to meet early as to better equip us to work together in March.


the fact that we were expecting about 1700 volunteers at the last shift, and over 2200 people showed up, making it the largest single session in history.


&& that in the middle of that shift, the Bible app alerted me that the verse of the day was:

"Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord Himself, is my strength and my defense; He has become my salvation." Isaiah 12:2



as we neared the end of the event, some decisions had to be made. && the decision our leadership came to is one that i respect so much. they decided that we were not going to force our goal number, but allow the final number to be God's. they decided to end the event at exactly 3:16 pm (for John 3:16), and no matter how close or how far we were from that 10 million goal, we would have peace.


the host wanted the last song we played to be "Praise" by Elevation Worship, && standing in the middle of that packing room, crying out in worship & counting down to 3:16 felt like NYE in Times Square.


9,712,224 was God’s number.

&& just look at Psalm 97:12:

"Rejoice in the Lord, you who are righteous, and praise His holy name."


&& the only response to news like that? worship.


our whole staff, host team, && some volunteers, worshipping God for what He had done in the Dome. reminding us of Matthew 25:35: "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat". that if we are not attached to the Power, we cannot achieve the purposes. that we can be full of food, but starving in front of the Lord.


this week was humbling. full of picking up slack from people falling to the flu. of hard conversations, but being equipped to do them well. of long physical days, but possibly some of the most spiritually filling days. (&& the fact that i got to come straight to the event from probably one of the most Christ-centered weddings i have ever been to was such a blessing)

it was a week of learning and leaning in.


so what does a miracle feel like? to me, it felt like constant goosebumps && happy tears.


our mission always is: until all are fed && this event fought for that mission. we knew that this event was not one that you could say "only" about. but we know that only God could do what happened in the Fargodome over the last 10 days.


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4 Comments


Don Wiley
Don Wiley
Jan 18

What an ace you are! I'm struck by your willingness to be fully present in your moments. That is such a skill, a tremendous gift to those around you and a testament to your faith. Those of us who are blessed to know you are doubly gifted by your servant/shepherd heart as you organize and lead us as we are called to feed His children.

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Marilyn Maurella
Marilyn Maurella
Jan 17

Beautiful recounting of God's fingerprints all over this event and all over this organization, Jules. I am so grateful that I had the chance to meet you and serve God's kids with you!

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whitdale
Jan 16

Love this !! Thank you for being there. And how blessed are you that you "stood in the middle of a miracle". Powerful stuff !! Love ya !!

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Robert Munroe
Robert Munroe
Jan 15

What a beautiful post and witness. An example we all can follow and celebrate in. Thank you Julianna for being.

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