Yesterday I volunteered in Lake Overholser’s Bread of Life ministry. This ministry was started years ago by a ministry intern, and has remained a ministry of the church since. It is a ministry that provides a hot meal to the homeless at a park downtown. Needing a few more hours for my internship, I decided to start volunteering with this ministry. When I arrived at the church, I was actually a bit frightened because, 1. I am a pretty awkward person, 2. I didn’t know anyone else who was going (except for my friend Shelby who I begged to come), and 3. I don’t have much practice in a ministry like this. Now, you may be thinking, “Isn’t she a missions major?” Yes, Folks, I am. But God doesn’t always call people to places and ministries that they are comfortable with. So there.
I know that life is a silly thing, and that experiences never turn out how you think they will. Lemme tell you something. I haven’t had this kind of joy in a long time. Don’t get me wrong, I have a great time doing random silly things with my girlfriends, but this joy was different. This joy was pure sincere joy. Let me tell you something else, these people are just about the nicest most caring and most grateful people you will ever meet. These are the same people we see out on the corners begging for money, and we look right past them. Last night I couldn’t look past them. I was there to serve them.
There was this older Mexican man there. He was so funny! He spoke probably the worst English you could ever imagine, but he was SO funny! He danced in the rain and showed us how to “tango”…except I think he was totally wrong. He loved ice cream and bananas. He was so funny. His joy for life is such an encouragement. I was inspired that this homeless man was so full of joy that it shone through everything he did.
I met a lady named Kathy. I asked her if she would like some bread to take home, but all she asked was that I help her carry her bags to her car. I didn’t know where she had parked, and I had to walk away from my group, but I did it anyway. Jesus would. She was so sweet. She couldn’t stop thanking me for helping her. In my mind, I couldn’t stop thanking her for helping me. I hope I see her again next week! She was just so sweet!
I was blessed by serving these people. As I helped a man cover his boombox in walmart bags to save it from the rain, I was blessed. It’s been a long time since someone told me to “Have a blessed day” and that was spoken to me by almost every person who was there. There was this guy named Art who was in a wheelchair. While we were there, it started to downpour. Our first thought was, rain? Really? Right now? Art had an electric wheelchair that couldn’t get wet. Art stood behind me as I passed out bread and kept repeating, “The Lord will take care of me, He always has. The Lord will take care of me, He always has. The Lord will take care of me, He always has.” How encouraging. Art couldn’t get home until it stopped raining, which it had been almost 2 hours and hadn’t yet, but he trusted that the Lord would find a way.
Since the rain wasn’t stopping, and we were packing up to leave, our group decided to take Art home…wherever that may be. Turns out Art can walk without a wheelchair, but he doesn’t walk well. As he was supporting all of his weight on me, I held his hand and helped him up into the church van. As they drove away with Art, I couldn’t help but be so humbled and honored and thankful to be part of a church who cares and who loves like this. God used the rain and let us minister to Art.
I am excited to help in this ministry. I am going to try and come up with something to do with the children on Thursday nights. These people are going to become my friends. I’m so excited!
Go be Jesus to someone, you might see God’s face in them.
1 John 3:16-18
16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker,
but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.