"More Than Just a Job: A Mission to Serve"

by Kayla Gilson

I met Kristianne during one of her visits to Grapevine, TX, not far from the store I manage in Fort Worth. I learned the story of Compassion That Compels that day and saw her ministry in action at the local cancer center. I saw and heard Kristianne’s passion first hand. Her words and actions had such power. This is where my involvement with Compassion That Compels truly began. I became fully invested in its mission, alongside our own at Altar’d State, and Compassion That Compels has become one of the charities that lies closest to my heart.

During this year’s Mission Monday in our store, a lady named Sharon came in to shop. She mentioned to our sales associates that she had recently been diagnosed with cancer and was in treatment. My team member immediately came to me so that we could give a bag to Sharon. I told Sharon that she was beautiful and that we wanted to present her with a gift. We talked through some of the items in the bag, and she started to tear up.

Compassion That Compels has become one of the charities that lies closest to my heart.

Sharon told us that she hadn’t planned to shop at Altar’d State on that day. She was headed to the Apple Store, but it wasn’t open. She saw our shop and decided to come in and browse, only to receive the blessing of a Compassion Bag. It didn’t matter how she found us, but we were there for her and it was meant to happen that way. We told Sharon about our Give Strength Rock Garden for the names of people affected by cancer, and she was happy to add her name to a rock before she left the store.

About a week later, a woman came into the store and asked about Mission Monday. I spoke to her about it and our current partnership with Compassion That Compels. The woman explained that her sister had received a bag the previous week. She was Sharon’s sister! She told me how the whole family was so thankful for what we did for Sharon because it touched not only Sharon’s heart, but all of their hearts.

I reflected on the time I spent with Sharon and, later, her sister. I work in retail, which is usually all about selling. Here I’ve been in the middle of my workdays, doing my “job”, and those days turned into moments of helping people, giving out Compassion Bags, and talking to customers about Compassion That Compels and Mission Monday. These moments, and my work, make life so fulfilling.

This year, I went back to the cancer center in Grapevine to help deliver Compassion Bags. Two Altar’d State Galleria employees joined us. We split up, and I was delivering my own bags! I wanted to do it, but I was very nervous about getting it right. I asked myself, “Do I have what it takes?” The first woman I approached had her daughter with her. We recognized each other – she’s a customer of my store! This eased the nervousness and I began to talk to her mom about the bag, the ministry, and told her that we would continue to pray for her.

I asked myself, “Do I have what it takes?”

Many people who come into Altar’d State love that we offer more than just an amazing shopping experience, especially during Mission Mondays with Compassion That Compels. Everyone knows someone who is battling cancer, or who has battled. It may be a family member, a friend, a coworker, or a neighbor. It could be your mail carrier, your grocery store clerk, your child’s teacher, or a person you went to high school with. We can all do our part to go beyond our normal routine, to be kind, and to support those battling with cancer. I’m thankful and happy that I have the opportunity to be a part of this great mission.

I am a Texas girl born and raised. I love animals and especially my 1 year old Mini Australian Shepard, Apollo. I enjoy books and movies of all kinds, and I have a huge sweet. I graduated from the University of North Texas with a Bachelors in Marketing. While working through college, I found my passion for both retail and helping others. I believe everything happens for a reason! I’ve come to be at Altar’d State is to help make a difference in my life and the life of others. I started with Altar’d State over three and a half years ago. I have helped with countless Mission Monday Charities and events. I’m currently the Store Manager of the University Park Village store in Fort Worth, TX. Compassion That Compels is one of the closest charities to my heart since I have been able to work hand in hand with Kristianne from putting together bags to saying a prayer over an overcomer. I am so happy to see how much of an impact that Altar’d State and Compassion That Compels have had by working together!
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