Monday, February 25, 2013

A New Week

This has been an interesting but very good week this past week.  Last Monday, Keith and I were asked to meet with some of the people that run the Union Gospel Mission.  Initially I felt nervous and wondered what the Lord had in store for us.  A lot of prayer and listening to the Lord took place as I continued to wrestle with the many ideas that encompass the homeless situation.  I questioned what we were doing, whether it was helping the situation or adding to the dependence of a group of people.  Our meeting with the mission went amazingly wonderful.  They were very supportive of what we are doing and happy to see people from a variety of churches as well as the community coming together to try and help a very complex problem.  The mission offered us use of their parking lot, garbage facility, kitchen, dining room, etc. to help reach out to the homeless community. We were excited to have more options, but one thing that stood out to me in our discussion was that the mission has questioned their own programs over the years wondering if they were enabling people to continue in a life style.

Deuteronomy (said with a creaky "Billy Crystal" voice) 15:11 says it very clearly:  "For the poor will never cease from the land; therefore I command you, saying, 'You shall open your hand wide to your brother, to your poor and your needy, in your land.' "  Matthew and Mark also each talk about how "You will have the poor with you always."  When you combine this with the other scriptures that tell us to clothe and feed the poor....then I have my answer.  The love of God is poured into each one of us by the Holy Spirit.  That is exactly what happened when my heart broke open for the people we serve.  I can not shake their hands and look them in the eye and continue to think of them as one general term.."the homeless".  As soon as I reached out and touched their hand and looked them in the eye, they became individual people.  Individual people with individual stories that have brought them to where they stand today.  We all need love....It doesn't matter what age we are, what nationality, race, sex, or socio-economic group.  We are transformed by the love of God and I believe that God is transforming those on North First Street by His love as well as all of the volunteers.

1 Cor. 12:13 and 14 "For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free and have all been made to drink into one spirit....For in fact the body is not one member but many."  It takes a lot of people to show the love of Jesus, but there is unity of 1 spirit...Jesus!!! People minister through their gifts for the purpose of edifying and glorifying God.  The mission has wonderful programs that teach computer skills, they feed over 600 meals a day on week days, and they have numerous programs for rehabilitation as well as safety for women and children.  People from our community volunteer their time and services in the medical and dental clinic, the Homeless Coalition works to reach out.  Numerous churches throughout the valley reach out.  It takes many people ministering to each other to make it through life.  That is what happens in individual churches all the time.  We are just trying to bring the church to the people.  It is one more layer of outreach.

I see the transformations happening from week to week.  From blessing to blessing....from glory to glory!  Chris...a name from way back- was in jail for a time and has been able to stay clean.  He shared that he has re-united with his mom which has been really good.  He said that it makes him so happy when he sees his mom happy.  It was so sweet to hear him say this.  He is in his late 20's, a bit hardened from the streets...but he sounded like a little boy when he said this about his mom.  It was a bit humbling though when he asked if he could have a pen that could be thrown away after he used took me a minute to realize what he was saying.  Chris has HIV and had an open sore on his cut on his hand so he didn't want to borrow a pen and risk infecting me with HIV.  It was very sweet... and also sad.

Rosa came today with her friends from the river.  She gave me a great big hug that was genuine.  Rosa's boyfriend came up to me right before they were leaving. He is a very quiet soft spoken person who seems to have a lot of hurt, but a very gentle spirit.  "I  just want to thank you guys so much for doing what you do.  It means a lot to us.  Please make sure and tell Keith how much we appreciate it."  He gave me a sheepish grin, turned, and was on his way.

Another couple who we ministered to back in the summer came by to say hi and to show us pictures of their little baby girl. They are no longer living on the streets because they are sharing a place with a family member.  Their little girl looked healthy and adorable.  Seeing them walk up with big smiles was a joyful experience.

One of the much "harsher" possibly "cranky" characters that comes out to North First Street was in a great mood today.  It was fun to be able to bless him with something as simple as a rope and a bungee cord.  Such simple things....but it meant a lot to him that we would just give them to him.  I shared with him about how I listen to the Holy Spirit when I grocery shop and sometimes the Holy Spirit prompts me to buy something ...."I don't always know who it is for," I said "but look- it was for you today!"  He smiled and laughed as we loaded him up with peanut butter, jelly, bread, sandwiches and food for the people that he takes care of down by the river.  I told him that I thought it was very awesome that he ministers to his friends down by the river by taking care of them.  He may be extremely dirty, a little rough, kind of grouchy sometimes, and kind of harsh, but as I get to know him better I can also see the funny, kind, gentle, caring side of him also.  I am learning that every person has their own story and that often it isn't even close to my  "generalized pre-judgement".

Today as we re-directed the line of people to our new location, I was able to talk to the people as they waited in line a little more than I usually get to do.  One young mom- probably in her mid to late 20's said, "Thanks for doing this... people don't understand why we are here.  We aren't " she looked down at her two little kids who were playing with rocks on the ground while they waited for their lunch "like---druggies and bums.  We are just people that are having a hard time."
I couldn't agree with her more.  One of the young women who stays at the mission with her two children is pregnant.  She has been working at her new job for 2 1/2 months and has been saving her pay checks so that she can put it down on a place at the end of this month.  She looked so together compared to the first week that we met her.  Her life is coming together....and it is a wonderful thing!

I know that the city is trying to clean up the city....and that they are moving out a lot of the homeless so they are not "visible" to the public.  I understand why this is important, but I am just not sure where they will go because they will go somewhere...they probably won't move away to some other town... they will just be more creative in where they hide.  The problem is very complex and not easily solved, but with a community of people including the mission, local churches, city programs, and people who have a heart for the homeless....there is HOPE...Great Big Jesus HOPE!! Little by little, one relationship at a time....There will always be poor....but the Lord is showing me the individual people behind the label...."the poor"....and I have been blessed to have met some really awesome people!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit.....

I was raised  Catholic and grew up with "The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit"....and fast forward to now...Our  church is going through a teaching called "Alpha".  Basically it is a teaching of our basic Christian beliefs.  Tonight we talked about the Holy Spirit and how He works.  God in heaven needed to come to earth to be a sacrifice for our sins so He asked His son Jesus to come down and walk on the earth with us, to die for our sins, and then to rise again to His right place in Heaven.  But God loves us so much that He sent His Holy Spirit to dwell in us so that we will never walk without Him again.  The Holy Spirit ministers to our spirit so that we walk in the will of God! 

Joel 2: 27, 28 says, "Then you will know that I am among my people Israel, that I am the LORD your God, and there is no other. Never again will my people be disgraced. Then, after doing all those things, I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams, and your young men will see visions."  The Holy Spirit is for ALL people!  Praise God!!! The word used for "pouring out" used in the old testament translates into an image of the Holy Spirit surrounding us/engulfing us like a ship sinking and being engulfed by the ocean water. 

The Holy Spirit testifies to our spirit and to God on behalf of us.....and when we step out in faith on North 1st St.  in the boldness of the Holy Spirit to reach out to the lost... we get the honor of being a conduit....a connection between the Holy Spirit and the lost.... God can move without us, but He allows us to experience the joy of being the Hands and Feet of Christ!!!  So I see it like this.... God speaks to us through the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit reaches the lost through our obedience and even though they may  think that they are being drawn to the empty lot on North First St. every Sunday because of the food and clothes....they are getting a Holy Spirit bonus!!! They are getting drawn in and immersed in the Holy Spirit in a way that engulfs their a way that changes them little by a sinking ship that starts taking on water...the water seeps through the holes in the ship and slowly fills it until it is completely submerged.  

The people on North First St. may or may not be ready to die to their old selves...but the more the Holy Spirit seeps into the bows of their ship...the more they are "considering Jesus".  Praise God!!!!  And many of them are considering Jesus!! 

The Holy Spirit is revealing Himself more and more to all of us!! A great example... Maria from last week who just returned from treatment for Meth wanted to go to church with us so I called her and arranged to pick her up for service.  (Which for me was a huge step because I have a lot of anxiety and it was out of my comfort zone.)  Keith and I talked about where to take her both last night and this morning.  I wanted it to be the right fit...Church's have different was the sermon today :0)  and I wanted the church culture to be one where she felt comfortable and that met her needs.  Keith and I made a 11th hour decision and took her to a church that was right in her neighborhood.  We didn't know that it was going to be a great fit...but the Holy Spirit did!  Maria raised her hand at the end with the alter call and said that she thought her husband would also enjoy it.  The church offered the support for her recovery that she will need in the coming months.  Thank You Jesus for speaking to us in Your Amazing Wisdom!!!

Another great example... Keith prayed on the way down to North First today..."Holy Spirit, please open my ears and my eyes today to see what you want me to see and to be bold."  Fast forward to our day...Keith walked down the line of homeless people who were waiting to get their meal.  He shook each of their hands and looked them in the eye with a friendly welcome.  One man in particular caught his attention.  Joe was an older man in his 50's.  His face looked as if it had been clawed by a bear.  Deep claw marks ran from his forehead, down across his eye, over his cheek, draping down his neck.  It truly looked like he had been malled.  His other eye and cheek showed that he had been badly beaten.  Keith in boldness said, "Man, what happened to you?  Someone messed you up! What is your name?"  The man was reserved but did introduce Keith to his wife and then turned away.  Keith worked his way down the line and then returned to them with a box of clothes.  Does anyone need gloves? Joe raised his hand and accepted the gloves and shirts that Keith was offering.  Later in the day he and his wife ate their lunch by the area where Keith was handing out clothes so Keith was able to talk a bit back and forth with him.  The man and his wife opened up and connected with Keith.  Well... the Holy Spirit is so cool because He prompted someone in our volunteer group to bring cookies that had scripture written inside.  Joe and his wife left and walked back to the mission only to return shortly after to say that the scripture that he read meant more to him today than any in his whole life!!! Wow, Wow, and Wow!!! God is so so so cool.

The Holy Spirit is doing a work in all of us....before we even arrived today, people were lined up waiting.  Through these months they have learned that if they wait in line on Sundays about 2:00 in this empty lot....good things will come.  They will receive good food...warm judgement....they don't know it, but what they receive is the Holy Spirit...each week seeping into their bows....each week peeling layer after layer off of the hard shell that oppresses their spirit.  A man that was standing back in the line asked Keith, "What's up there?" He wanted to know what kind of food we were serving today.  Keith told him and he was so happy. "That's my favorite! (spaghetti)"  He trusted that if he stood in this really long line... not knowing what would be there...that it would be something "good".  We know that what they experience is the Holy Spirit...extended through the hands and feet of amazing volunteers both young and old with hearts that love Jesus!!! Grade school kids, jr. high kids, highschool kids, young adults, young families, middle aged couples, and older wonder folks who just want to show the love of Jesus....that's what they experience. 

The incredible joy that we feel preparing food, sorting clothes, packing the trailer, and serving each week is only from The Holy Spirit!  It is a joy that I can not explain well... it is a joy that bursts from my is a joy that engulfs me as I burn my fingers on hot spaghetti noodles, and try to figure out how to make the hundred + pounds of pasta???   That kind of joy is not logical given the tasks but is totally understandable given the Holy Spirit!!! 

My last story... Rosa....lives by the river...has been estranged from her family for a long time...asked for prayer a while back...said that she had 4 of the best days she has ever had with her mom last week.  Praise God!!! Layer by layer... the Holy Spirit is seeping in!!!  Two different homeless people today shared how they take care of others down by the river.  I sent extra with them...Now they didn't say it in a manipulative way as if to get more food... in each case it came up  later in the conversation... how they were getting the things they were for people they were caring for.  These are people with nothing...people who are dirtier and more ragged than any of the people out there and they are caring for other people.  The Holy Spirit is ministering to all of or or woman...child or adult...the Holy Spirit is healing and filling and restoring what was lost.

Thank You Father, Son, and Holy Spirit for ministering to my heart every day...every minute!  Thank You for Your provision, Your strength, You unending love!! Thank You! It is an honor and a privilege to serve You.  I love You with all of my heart!! Please continue to seep into my bough and engulf me with Your Spirit!  In Jesus Name Amen  :0)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Honor and Respect

James 4:14 "whereas you do not know what [will happen] tomorrow. For what [is] your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away."  This was the verse our pastor spoke on today.  He referred to our lives as a "Poof!"  Pastor challenged us to look at our lives and decide what we want to do with our "Poof" of time here on earth.

Later in the day I listened to Richard LeMiuex,  the author of "Breakfast At Sally's" speak  at St. Timothy's Evangelical Church about his experience being homeless.  This man was a very wealthy business man who lived in Seattle back in the 1980's.  He traveled to Europe, had waterfront property, 3 boats, multiple cars, etc. however, when Microsoft came along with the computer age, his company went under because it was no longer needed.  Richard eventually lost his business and sunk into a deep depression.  He lost his business, home, wife,......everything except his clothes, a van, and his little dog "Willow".  There were a couple of things that stood out to me during his presentation.  One thing that he said was, "As humans, we were created to love...inside each and every one of us is a huge desire to love....we each have so much to give."   We were created in the image of God and God is love so it stands to reason that as humans, we were indeed created to love. 

When I look at the world around me and observe people from a newborn to a an elderly person on their death bed...I have never seen someone who was injured from being loved too much, but I have seen so many people who were hurt from being loved too little or in the wrong way.  As humans we all desperately want to be needed, accepted for who we are, and loved.  Today during church Keith and I were able to hold a beautiful little tiny baby boy who is currently in foster care with one of our church members.  I watched that tiny little beautiful boy curl up against Keith's chest.... so peaceful, so safe, and so loved by a total stranger.  As long as he continues to have loving hands and loving words care for him... he has a great chance to grow into a healthy, productive member of society.  It is when the love gets perverted or does not exist that horrible damage occurs.  Horrible damage that does not last for just the moment that it happens but for some....a life time.

The people out on North First Street are first hand examples of people who are or have been so deeply hurt.  Their pain is so real and raw....which has led them to self-medication with drugs and alcohol.  When I see them lined up out in the empty lot when we drive up, I see a line of people who once were somebodies baby.... who once were toddlers....and kindergarten students.  All of the people standing in line waiting for some food or a clean pair of pants were created by God with a heart to love and be loved.  Their cup that needs to be filled is the same size as any one of is often just much more empty.  No one grows up wanting to sell their body for their next fix....but it is where some end up.  No four year old says, "When I grow up, I want to shoot heroine so that I won't feel the pain and memories of my past abuse."  No one wants that.....

I have been created to love....and I have decided to reach out to the people on North First St. as one way of showing my love.  Love does not mean handing them money, or rescuing them, or enabling them, but it does mean treating them with respect and honoring them as people.  Richard LeMiuex said that the one thing that stood out to him so much was when a church reached out to him with food every Friday and Saturday night.  He said that the little lady that ran it would put white table cloths on the tables for them, she would look them in the eye and shake their hand, and she would serve them delicious food that was as wonderful as any of the food that he had eaten in his past life when he was wealthy.  He said that it was the love, respect, and honor that those people gave that helped him to find hope again. 

Jesus instructs us in Mark 12:30 "And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.  This is the first commandment. The second is your neighbor as yourself.  There is no commandment greater than these."

So of all the things that Jesus said.....the greatest is to love.....My life is learning what it means to love....Continue to grow me and teach me dear Lord!!

Today one of our North First St. friends who I have spoken about before stood in line.  He has Huntington's Disease and is in his early 30's.  Huntington's Disease is a degenerative neurological disease that causes the person's  muscles to slowly stop working until they die.  D was standing in line twitching and writhing uncontrollably.  His eyes were blood red from his drug of choice that relieves some of the pain but causes him to space out.  With sloppy joe's on the menu, there was no way that he would be able to hold his tray while going through the food line so I told him I would get food for him.  He went over and sat against the wall while I dished him up.  As I walked up to him I could see his body twitching and moving continually as he propped himself up against the brick building.  His sweat pants were down well below his bottom in back leaving his bare buns on the cold dirt ground.  A strong smell hung in the air around him, but he was obviously hungry.  I handed D his food and then went off to find him some clean clothes.  Shortly I returned to find D inhaling his food.  He seemed agitated so I did not bother him with a lot of conversation today.  I did ask him if he wanted me to call a dr. for him, but he said he just needed to sleep.  All I could think of was "How is D going to die?  Will he be alone? Will he be outside or inside? Will he be wasted and numb or alert and aware?  Will he be in pain? Will anyone notice???"

There are two other people from North 1st. who I haven't seen for a number of months.  One had tumors growing in her abdomen and the other was an older man who had a severe drinking problem.  Both had asked for prayer within the last months before they disappeared.  They were kind, loving people with very deep hurts.  I have asked around a lot to see if anyone has seen either one of them, but no one has.  They did not hang out together so it is not like they both went off together.  My question is...did they each die from their individual illnesses?? Were they alone? "Poof!" Does anyone miss them? Did anyone notice?? The truth is.... Yes... God noticed.  He notices and knows every single person on this earth and He loves each and every one of them whether they are a meth. addict or an alcoholic or a schizophrenic just as much as He loves anyone of us.... Humbling and eye opening...they are my neighbor... I am commanded to love....respect, dignity, and honor...(not enable, enable or pity).

One more story.... There was a woman that I met this past summer on North First.  She was in her late 40's to mid 50' more than 100 lbs.  Cathy had a beautiful, kind, and gentle spirit.  This woman shared with me that she loved Jesus so much but she was dying of cancer.  Her body was visibly wasting away, but she had such a beautiful peace.  Cathy shared that she drank throughout the day to try and lessen the pain.  I could relate to what she said because 2 years ago I sat by my mom's bedside while she died of cancer.  She was in so much pain that the drs. had to give her enormous doses of morphine to keep her body from crying out in pain.  I remember my mom whispering to me through the haziness of the medicine, "Camille, you do not know how damn bad this hurts!"  I would do anything possible to take that pain away.  Blessedly...the doctors were able to numb the pain with medicine for the few weeks before she went to meet Jesus.  If Cathy was my mom, I would want her to stay buzzed if it kept her from suffering.  The man that was with her that day encouraged her to share what had happened to her in her past....Cathy humbly shared with me that day how she had been raped with a butcher knife.  I can't imagine....I can't imagine....Shortly after that week, I was told that Cathy went back to Seattle where she was able to get medical care through her final days battling with cancer.  What was remarkable to me was the peace and joy that she had despite the horrible things that she had gone through.  I can't judge....but I can love...Cathy embraced love!  Cathy embraced Jesus!!

Maria came up to me today...the same Maria who walked up to me a month and a half ago to tell me that she was going into rehab.....She went to rehab in Spokane and is back.  She got back yesterday and so she had her husband drive her over to us so that she could share what has happened.  Maria went to church every day when she was up there.  She said that the first week was the hardest because of the depression and emotional stuff that she had to deal with.  Maria said that nights are still really hard for her because she has night mares about her grandfather who molested her through her early years.  She said that she fights the urge to numb the pain, but she is going to follow up with intensive outpatient care here in town as well as mental health.  Her husband is a great support to her so I ask that you will pray that Maria stays close to Jesus' feet and is able to find true freedom through Jesus!! She asked about my church and expressed an interest  in going so next week I get to bring both Maria and her husband to service!  She is seeking Him...seeking the Creator....the Healer....The Author of our lives....The True Hope!! Praise God!!!

Chris...showed up this week....clean and sober....he has been released from jail and is following the guidelines of the court....he is doing the things asked of him by his parole officer and he is moving towards a clean life.  A purposeful move down the path that leads to a future rather than death!  Another celebration!! Please pray for Chris!

Last week may have felt discouraging... let's see... 1 Sunday out of 18 months of Sundays...that is 1%.  That is nothing!! My heart hurts with a raw, sorrowful pain....a pain for people...a pain that only God can heal.  God continues to impart on our hearts that we can not go wrong by loving too much!! Love is the great commandment....Thank You Jesus for showing us how to love...Thank You Jesus for continuing to take away our filters of "who" deserves love because you are showing us that ALL people deserve love and ALL people deserve to be treated with honor and respect!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Perfect Storm....

Today is Super Bowl Sunday... people are well armed with hotwings, chips, and of course awesome guacamole!  They have their jersey's on and are ready to see the big show down of teams!  We thought it was fitting to have a pizza party on North First St. today to have a tailgate superbowl party too....but first let's back up a few days to the beginning of the week.

This story is actually my husband Keith's story, but I would like to share it with you all.  Keith always starts his day in the Word.  Every morning I get up and find him sitting in his chair...reading the Word of God!  Very inspiring and an incredible role model for our kids (but that is a whole different story.)  Anyway... earlier in the week Keith read Matthew 8:23 "Jesus Calms The Storm".  "Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him.  Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat.  but Jesus was sleeping.  The disciples went and woke him saying, "Lord, save us! We're going to drown!"  He replied, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?"  Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm."

After reading this scripture, Keith told the Lord that he wanted to stay in Jesus' boat.  He prayed that there were many other boats to go in, but he wanted to stay in Jesus' boat whether there was a storm or not. All week Keith also prayed, "Help me to love people who don't love me."  It is easy to love people who love us, but it is much harder to love people who do not love us.  Well.... today was the perfect storm. 

Keith called today "The worst day on North 1st. St. in the year and a half that we've been doing this."
Maybe it was his high expectation, maybe it was tiredness on his part, it might have been that it was the first weekend of the month and alot of the people were strung out and high... who knows, but for Keith... it was awful! 

Last Friday Keith was able to share what was happening on North 1st. with Open Bible Church.  They were incredibly kind and generous and gave us a wonderful offering.  Keith, Olivia, and I had so much fun yesterday buying jeans, boxers, socks, hoodies, gloves, and hats for our North First St. friends.  It was really fun.  We also bought them Tony's Big Cheese Pizza for today because it is Superbowl Sunday and we thought it would be a wonderful treat. (By the way... Tony is awesome!  He always gives us incredible deals with our large orders! Thanks Tony!!!). I think we were more excited than the people on North 1st. (One more thing to add to the perfect storm.)

Well with any perfect storm.... it is just the right combination of "stuff" that sets it into motion. In Matthew 8:22 ..." Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. "  We pulled up to the lot and as soon as we got out of the car people were approaching Keith with different requests.  The overall amount of people that came today was relatively small compared to normal, however, it felt so much running through if you are working so hard, going in so many different directions, but getting so little accomplished.  It felt like working in chaos just like the storm on the sea for the disciples.  The food line went relatively smoothly.  We served pizza, a wonderful rice and bean dish (Thank you Cheryl!!!), donuts, amazing cookies (Thank you Traci, Michelle, and Miranda), hot coco, apples, and hot coffee (Thank you Gin!!) 

It was a different story on the other side of the Suburban where Keith was handing out the clothes.  For whatever reason... it was very chaotic!  People were bombarding him with requests, asking for "North Face", and being very unappreciative.  Keith wanted to say, "Why are you being picky... don't you realize that these are brand new?.... don't you know that God provided these for you?....You can't be ungrateful!.....The people who usually bother him a little bit... pushed his buttons today and were extremely irritating!!  By the time we got home, Keith said he felt like he got run over by a train.  He was worn, tired, and looked  beaten down.  It may not sound like it was a big deal, but for was not good at all.

After we got home, we talked about the day like we do every week.  We call it debriefing....because usually there is so much to try and process.  I told Keith it was the "Perfect Storm".  After we started talking Keith remembered what his prayers had been all week.  Just like the Disciples....Jesus was in our boat too.  The storm came up with a vengeance....but the Lord calmed the sea and protected all who were on board.  Jesus never leaves us... He is with us ALWAYS despite how we are feeling at the moment.  We have to remember that "We are not fighting against flesh and blood, but rather against the rulers, against p0wers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." (Ephesians 6:12)  so... put on the full armor of God!!!

As the verses came flooding back to Keith, truth started coming to him...."Keith was not upset with Nate, but with the spirit behind Nate.....He was not angry with the most irritating guy...but with the spirit that operates through him." The prayer to help Keith love those who are hardest to love...was put to the test today. 

Further versus came to mind, "Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice!"  The more we talked, the more the good parts of the day came to mind... like how Keith was able to help this Jamaican man who was new here and was in need of clothes....the funny older lady, "Annie" who stood by him smoking her cigarette, "Can I help you?" Keith asked.  "No, I don't need anything.  I am just here socializing."  This made Keith laugh....She just came out to "See the sights" lol!!!  Keith shared how he was able to help this young guy who was from Wapato.  He had a backpack and the shoes on his feet, but that was it.  The guy was so appreciative for all that he received.  The thought of the wonderful volunteers today softened the harsh outer shell that he came home with.  Keith shared how happy it makes him to see the beautiful hearts of the young volunteers who come out each week.  "Those kids show so much joy while they are serving and sometimes they outwork the adults." 

The more we talked...the more we started seeing it through God's eyes again.  The mud that seemed to weigh us down...started to dissipate.  God has a way of doing that...He melts the yuck off of us and helps us to see things with His eyes again.  Even when we can not see any light...we have to remember Jesus is ALWAYS in our boat.  He never jumps ship, never over sleeps, and never sinks the ship.  Jesus is our Salvation, Our Savior despite how we may be "feeling".  Keith weathered the storm and came out of it stronger and even closer to the Lord because of it.  Stay close to the Lord and in His word so that you can put on the Full Armor of God!  Have a blessed week and I pray that you always remember who is in the boat with you.    :0)