Monday, December 13, 2010

In the Bleak Midwinter - Glory!

As some people know, we had concerns about how things might go yesterday. However, because it was sooooo cold. We didn't have any of the problems we thought we might face. The freezing weather was actually a blessing because it kept the trouble makers of the past 2 weeks away. The people who came yesterday were people who literally live on the street. Many of them came by quickly to have a meal with us before Boutwell opened up at 5.

The attitude of the people who live on the streets and those who live in the nearby low-income housing is very different. They might share some of the same needs but the expectation and response is very different. Our goal is to share the love of Christ by helping people with immediate needs and to provide help to those who want change but don't know how to do it (or don't think they are worthy of it).

Because it was a quieter afternoon for us, we were able to have some great conversations with folks. One example of this is a man I'll call J-J. He showed up wearing sandals because his other shoes had been stolen. J-J has always been a very quiet somber man, never asking for much, and pretty much wouldn't communicate with anyone except JM, the man in charge of the ministry. But when another fella from the ministry took the shoes off of his own feet for him to have, J-J smiled, the wall came down and he opened up. We learned he had recently come off of drugs and wants to stay off them. JM is going to see if he can get him into a local recovery ministry this week.

As cold and miserable as it was yesterday (and the streets of Birmingham were MISERABLE yesterday), it was amazing to see how God used the weather to His glory and how relationships were made and strengthened.

Yesterday I was amazed again by the love God has for people and how I got to see it in action. God can do anything.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Joy of Christmas

Last week R and I got to visit with C again. As I told you, last time we were there, we asked him if we could take pictures and he said yes. During our visit we gave him a picture of the 3 of us together in a frame R had gotten. I’m not kidding you or exaggerating in the least when I tell you it was like we had given him a million dollars. He was thrilled to have that picture. We gave him a couple of other things as well but nothing can or could compare to that picture. It made me realize how different our lives have really been. I take for granted the pictures I have with my friends and family. I’m accustomed to having friends and family around. I’m used to people caring about me… even the people who are crazy in my life are in my life.

C invited us to attend a Christmas party. Actually, he invited us about 4 different times to attend the Christmas party. He told us he wanted to do something for the folks who have done something for him. He wanted to give back and serve us hot chocolate. He said we could “eat and sing Christmas carols and it’d be a real nice night.” I have to tell you, it is the thing I most look forward to this Christmas season. I wonder if C has ever gotten to have a party like this before. The excitement of it is bubbling out of him. We get so bogged down with stuff to do this time of year that it is easy to forget the joy behind it. But the joy is definitely there for C. I’m looking forward to being a part of it because I know Christmas will not be taken for granted that night.

Friday, December 3, 2010

multiplied to be perfect

It’s been a couple of weeks, I know, since I posted. I was out of town one week and then I had the plague. But, I did make it back downtown this past Sunday.

The meal this past week was vegetable soup and it was in the biggest pot I have ever seen. I think it was half my size which is good because we had a huge crowd waiting to eat. In the past the ministry has asked volunteers to prepare meals for 30 to 40 people. But, this past Sunday we had 58 people. KM was serving the soup and about half way through the line she said, “Pray we have enough.” And we did, I feel like I literally got to see the miracle of the fish and loaves multiplied only this time it was with soup. KM literally poured what was left at the bottom of the pot into the last man’s bowl. How perfect is our God!