The old and infirm woman emerged from her back door and just couldn’t believe what she was seeing in front of her. Her garden was filled with young people whom she didn’t even know, and they had done something she never would have expected. The whole place looked completely different, and she absolutely loved it.
Agnes Maples is a 90-year-old woman from the city of Norfolk, Virginia, with a truly heartbreaking story. First she tragically lost her husband, and now she was struggling to cope with life on her own. What’s more, then a family member started taking advantage of Maples’ generous nature instead of assisting her in her time of need.
The unnamed male family member had been selfishly dumping industrial and domestic trash at Maples’ home for years. He’d also been storing belongings in a makeshift outhouse and a trailer there. Unsurprisingly, the accumulated junk and debris caused an unsightly mess – much to the distress of neighbors. And once complaints were made, the city authorities weren’t best pleased with the eyesore, either. The thoughtless relative had, then, left the nonagenarian in a serious financial predicament.
You see, poor Maples was being threatened with huge fines for the chaotic condition in which her thoughtless relative had left her home and garden. The widow was told that penalties as high as $2,500 per day were looming over her. However, as a frail old woman with mobility issues, Maples was in no position to try and clear up the mess herself.
“I tried to get him to get it out. It was terrible. All kinds of garbage,” Maples told the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) in a filmed interview. But her pleas fell on deaf ears. The integrity of her house was even beginning to suffer – so much so, in fact, that holes in the roof had begun to appear.
Matters had gotten so bad that some animals were even managing to get in through these gaps. Also, Maples’ bedroom had no air conditioning. At this point, then, the elderly woman was, unsurprisingly, at her wits’ end – and unsure of whom to turn to. Finally, though, she put her faith in an organization that she hoped could help.
She reached out to Operation Blessing, a charity based in nearby Virginia Beach, VA. The non-profit group describes itself as a “humanitarian organization dedicated to demonstrating God’s love by alleviating human need and suffering in the U.S. and around the world.” And its representatives listened in disbelief to Maples’ tale of woe.
“I didn’t know what to do. I wasn’t able to do it, and I know I couldn’t do it,” Maples told the CBN cameras. Still, thankfully Operation Blessing was quick to step in. Specifically, it agreed to send out a team to the little old lady’s property to help her clear up.
The agreement was that the Operation Blessing workers would come and fix the roof, tear down the shed, remove the trailer and clear the property of all the mess. They made light work of the job, too, taking just one day to complete their tasks and in the process blowing Maples away with their efforts.
The widow was, though, still unaware that Operation Blessing had even more planned for her that day. You see, when Maples went outside to see what the team had done, she got a huge surprise. Her garden was filled with extra volunteers – far more than she had thought would come to help.
It turned out that the Christian organization had put the word out about Maples’ predicament and issued a call for more good Samaritans to come and lend a hand. And the community had responded in the best way possible – by donating their time and energy to someone who really needed a boost.
?The helpers included students from Regent University, a Christian college also in Virginia Beach. But these kind volunteers didn’t just fix the roof and get rid of the shed and trailer. They actually did far more than the elderly woman was expecting – and when she saw what they had done, she couldn’t believe it.
When Maples came into her garden, she saw that the volunteers had transformed it beyond recognition. The previously disheveled and unsightly backyard that had been troubling her neighbors so much was now a neat and tidy sanctuary that she could take pride in and enjoy – complete with freshly planted flowerbeds and a new paved pathway.
“They’re angels. They came in and cleaned out all the stuff, tore the shed down and tore the trailer down and [have] taken everything out,” Maples told CBN. “They started working, and they sure did do a good job,” she continued, clearly delighted at the wonders that the volunteers had performed.
“And they’re all my little angels… I never will forget them. And I love them,” she added. What the grateful old woman didn’t realize, though, was that even then the surprises weren’t over for the day. Yes, the thoughtful people at Operation Blessing had a final act of kindness for her.
The volunteers had already managed to totally rejuvenate Maples’ property, helping her to avoid penalties and ruin, but they didn’t want to leave without doing one more good deed for the woman who had been so badly taken advantage of by a family member.
The CBN film showed members of the work party ask Maples if there was anything else she might need for the house. To which she replied, honestly, “I need an air conditioner. Please get me an air conditioner.” And, lo and behold, in front of the overjoyed woman was opened a big wrapped box containing just that: an air conditioner – a parting gift from Operation Blessing.
Maples was, naturally, absolutely thrilled with the present and astounded by the generosity shown by the volunteer team. “God bless them, and they’re wonderful. And I love them all. I’ve been blessed and blessed, and God has never left me. He’s still with me” she gushed.
Unsurprisingly, Maples’ incredible story gained lots of attention when the CBN film was shown – garnering Operation Blessing some very good and well-earned exposure. After all, what the non-profit crew had done for the vulnerable 90-year-old was truly admirable. It may only have amounted to a roof repair, a garden revamp and a much-needed air conditioner, but it meant the world to Maples – and it could well have spared her some serious fines.
Operation Blessing swooped in to save the day when Maples thought she had nobody to turn to. It just goes to show that many hands make light work – and that no matter how bad your situation, there may well be someone around the corner who is willing to help, even when you least expect it.