Each week that we go out is just like a snowflake- no one is the same as another....This week was no exception. With all of the snow this past week, we decided to bring hot food so we had hotdogs, chips (thanks to Mr. Frito Lay Kevin), cake, and hot coco. We set up across the street from our normal place because we didn't want to get stuck in the snow. Janet suggested across the street at the old Lariet Burger place. It was perfect- There was a covered area to set up under which was perfect because it was snowing like crazy. We weren't sure how many people would show up, but even in the snow... they show....lol.
Janet and Ken brought two propane heaters and before long we had a pot of hot coco and a pot of hotdogs! Yum...Plenty of people showed up because they tore through 150 hot dogs! We encouraged them to take more than one so they could have some for dinner later that night so I think it is safe to say 50-60 people were fed. Thank you Jesus!!
There were really neat things that happened today. We brought our snow shovels and some our first street friends jumped in to help. They helped shovel the snow to clear the area and they helped put up our canopy while others stepped up to help unload boxes. A few said, "We didn't think you guys would come today because of the snow." People seemed to hang around longer today drinking hot coco and visiting. It was neat to get to know them better. New volunteers came which was also fun. It is always fun seeing people's reactions when they haven't been out before. Usually they start out hanging back a little, but within a very short time... they jump in and are wrapped up in the middle of it! Very Cool!! The blessings go around and around the group!
Another thing that was different was that after we had all the food ready and the people lined up... I was able to speak to them... about Jesus... See we don't preach.... but I felt like I had a word for them... and the word went something like this..."Please know that the reason we come out here on a snowy day is Jesus.
It all goes back to Jesus! Yes.. Jesus is the reason for the season.... Jesus is our strength and our comfort... Jesus is where all peace comes from.... Jesus is the one who knew us before we were born... He knew us while we were still in our mother's womb...before we were knit together! He has a purpose and a future planned for us.... plans for good, plans to prosper us.... It always goes back to Jesus!!! So..... I started out by saying... "Please know that the reason we come out here on a snowy day to be with you is Jesus." I said, "We are not rich, we can't come up with all of this stuff on our own, but when we share what we are doing with our friends, people from all over the community donate items." I told them that strangers care, we care, and most importantly Jesus cares. I continued..." You need to know that Jesus has not forgotten you.... that He has never forgotten you and He loves you very much." I said, "We love you guys... It is crazy because we don't even know you and you don't really know us... but because of the love that Jesus puts in our hearts.. we love you and want to make sure that you are fed and that you have warm clothes."
A Native American man about 40 ish seemed very touched but he also wanted to make sure that we knew that they are not "bums" that they are trying. He said that he shoveled walks all day today to try and earn money. He had a desperation in his voice that seemed to scream out to us his huge need to make sure that we knew that they were not lazy or losers.... The cool thing was that I was able to assure him that it could be any one of us out there and that within our group of volunteers we had people who were recovering addicts, divorced, abused, bankrupt, etc.... we were there to love- not judge because as the Lord said, 2 John 8:7 "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast the first stone." I believe that our 1st street friends got it... that they really understood that we were there because of Jesus' love over flowing from our hearts. Jesus continues to build trust between "them" and "us" and is showing us that the gap between people on either side of the box ....really isn't that big at all....We prayed together as a group for our meal... and then dished up... followed by distributing clothes, boots, toilet paper, and toilettries. (The crazy thing is that the morning before... we did not have anything to hand out except for a bag of underclothes... by 5:00 P.M. five people had come by our house and dropped off a ton of clothes, blankets, boots, and toilettries!! Wow! God blows me away every time!!!)
People hung around a little longer, they talked and visited a little more... there were a lot of smiles and much laughter....and they seemed to bask in the "peace that goes beyond understanding" on a cold, snowy day ......at least for a little part of their day... My prayer is that the peace that goes beyond understanding.... follows them down the street to wherever they were headed..." I know that we..the volunteers... were extremely blessed.... and that every time we go out...Keith and I are changed.... on the inside... and it is starting to leak through to our outside... Thank you Jesus for not forgetting any of us.... Your love brings peace and healing beyond understanding... Thank You!!!