Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Rain or Shine

I said this last week but I’m saying it again. I know I can be pushy about the things that interest me. I took the Big Five personality test this summer and I discovered that I’m very neurotic. So, I guess I can’t help myself. BUT, I also found out that I am also very agreeable as well. So, I may have strong pushy opinions but I’m fine with you having different ones.

It’s weird because I really do have the homeless on my brain a lot. I’m telling you, sometimes I’ll be talking to someone or listening to something and I’ll think of the fellas downtown and I have to stop myself from mentioning them. I am trying not to be pushy but that’s just where my thoughts go a lot of the times.

I mention this because I have had people to tell me I need to back down and realize that not everyone feels as I do or wants to participate. So ok, I accept that. But, I still can’t help wanting to talk about what I see happening each week.

Anyway, since I am pushy and people do have other passions, when I signed my class up for providing a couple of the Sunday meals I just wasn’t sure what the outcome would be. Not that my Sunday School class has heartless people… it’s just, I’m pushy. And even though I am trying to be better, I can’t say that I am. No one likes to be pushed into anything. Folks in my class have their own interests. Some of them floor me by their dedication and their service activity. Some of the folks in the class have already given to the ministry. They’ve given clothes, bikes, food, money and perhaps other things I’m just not aware of. I’m no where as good of a person as some of my friends are. So, when the time came for planning the meal I wasn’t sure what the response would be. But then when I passed around an envelope for donations towards the meal and the sign-up sheet, I was very humbled by the response. People went beyond what I had even asked for, way beyond. I was so excited.

We moved back to our old location last Sunday. It’s just a parking lot as I mentioned to you last week. A lot of people came out there on Sundays last spring. I didn’t know what it’d be like when we returned. Would we have a lot of people our first Sunday back, or just the few that had been coming? I didn’t know.

I waited until about Wednesday to check the forecast for the Sunday meal. I was disappointed to see it was supposed to rain. I began to fret about the plan because we had decided to buy the men BBQ from Johnny Ray’s, which isn’t cheap. No one likes to be out in the rain, not even the homeless. If it was raining we wouldn’t have many people show up but if it wasn’t raining, we could have a big crowd. I knew no matter what happened, no food would be wasted; but, I still wanted people to come out for the meal. So even though, Birmingham was in need of rain, I started having people pray that it wouldn’t rain Sunday afternoon. God totally answered that prayer. It rained all Sunday morning but by the time we got downtown, it had stopped and it was perfect. No hot sun, no humidity, and no rain. God is good.

Seeing the effort put forth by my Sunday School friends for the meal was such a beautiful thing to me. I was so blessed by them. And, the men downtown loved the BBQ. By the end, we were scraping the pans to fill to-go plates. Not a scrap went uneaten. And so many new people showed up. It was just all in all a great day down there. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for everyone this Fall.

You know I never intended to actually get really involved with this ministry last Spring. I thought maybe I would just contribute something somehow every now and then but God is so funny because now I see it as the most amazing thing to be a part of. I think it’s totally changing me too. I’m so grateful God has given me this opportunity and all the wonderful people who are involved with it. They are the best. They inspire me and make me want to know more about my God and the love He has for His people.

In closing let me just put a plug in for Johnny Ray’s in Pelham on Hwy 31. We ordered the meal from them and they were good to us. So, go and have dinner with them one night.

Prayer Requests: Continue to pray for the ministry and the leaders of it. They are so dedicated to the men downtown they give a lot of their time to them every week. Pray for the new folks we met and will meet. Pray for wisdom, courage, and understanding for everyone who is down there. The goal of the ministry isn’t just to meet needs but to change lives. If people want off the street then the ministry wants to help them do that. Most of all, we want people to know there is a loving God, it’s not just a story.

As to the personal prayer requests I have made, God has been good. He is good.

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