Sunday, March 24, 2013

About My Father's Business

  God's love is so beautiful!! This morning Keith got up and started his bible study like he always does...gets up, listens to worship music, takes time in prayer, and reads the word.  Well this morning, part way through...Keith felt the Lord prompting him to "Go set up for North First St."  Now??? thought Keith...At 8:00 in the morning?  The answer was a very clear "Yes" so off Keith went pulling the trailer behind him...headed for North First St.  Keith grabbed a few boxes of Don's Donuts to take down with him not knowing exactly who he would run into.  It is amazing the adventure that God takes you on when you are listening to the Holy Spirit.  Shortly into the drive Keith spotted "Ron", a man who appeared homeless...he had on his backpack and was carrying his sleeping bag as he walked down the road.  Keith pulled the car over and motioned for him to come over to the car.  The man walked over and gladly accepted the donuts as well as the invitation to come down at 2:00 for food and clothes.  Ben was the next guy that Keith came across along his journey.  Ben was leaning up against a building....just standing there....He was also so blessed to have something to eat.  He gladly accepted the donuts and water for him and his wife.  "God bless you!" called out the man as Keith drove away.

When Keith pulled into the Mission parking lot, a small group of men walked over and offered to help set up tables, cones, and rope to tie off the area.  Afterwards Keith offered them donuts and access to any clothes they might need.  They were so happy to be able to help and it wasn't until they were all finished that Keith brought out some of the clothes as well as stamped envelopes and stationary that were donated last week "It is so you can write somebody back home if you want."  A few of the men were very happy to have that.  "There are pens too!" shouted one of the guys..... pens too....We take a lot for granted!  Another of the men who helped set up said, "It helps take away some of the anxiety when you set the tables up early because then we know that you really are coming."  This gives a little peek into the minds of some of the people who suffer from mental illness.  We have come down every Sunday except for one week over the last 18 months and there is still anxiety over whether we will really make it down there or not.   :0(   Very sad to me because many people have been so let down by those people closest to them that they have a really hard time trusting anyone....even after 18 months.  When Keith was finished setting up, he told the men that he would see them at 2:00 and then off he drove headed for the shop to sort and load clothes for the day.  The sun was coming through the windshield and Keith could not stop praising God for how He beautifully orchestrated the morning.  God is so so good!

Act 1:8
"But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."  There were so many people who were witnesses of God's amazing beauty and provision today.  We had wonderful volunteers who  brought incredible food and love.  Good thing too because there were so so many people today.  When we drove up there was already a huge line.  Someone told Keith that they had started lining up at 1:15.  It is extremely humbling to serve Christ in this manner. 

In Luke 2:49 Jesus was questioned by his parents as to his where abouts.  Jesus replied, "Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?"  Today was a great day to be "about Yakima" doing our Father's business.  It was so fun sharing the Good News of the Lord!  It doesn't happen in a "normal" clean way where there is an attentive audience listening intently to your it looks much different....Like I run around like a chicken with my head cut off....scrambling from picking up trash to grabbing things that need to be hauled out of the truck...hugging Carolina after seeing his handsome cleanly shaven face and shampooed hair.  Never in 18 months have I seen him shaven and clean.  "I served in the mission kitchen today and helped Keith set up this morning," he beamed!  I have no idea what motivated Carolina to take those awesome steps... but something is happening in him!.....back to the food line....grabbing a plate of food for an older man who has a hard time walking ....bending down to open up the pack of water...which leads me closer to the clothes area so I wind up grabbing pants, socks, and boxers for a man...which leads me over to Glenn who is waiting patiently- resting against the back of the car.  We talk a bit and he tells me his health troubles, his random drug use for pain, and his difficulty setting boundries with people who use him.  Mid sentence I stop him and ask, "Do you know if you are going to heaven?"  I have hung out with Glenn for 18 months now and so I felt like the question was long overdue.   After rephrasing the question a half a dozen times, I felt confident that he really did know Jesus...Glen's mental instability handicaps him as much as any physical handicap.  Life is very confusing to him and very difficult to move through successfully.  ....back to check on everyone serving in the food line to make sure they don't need anything and I run into Marey......Marey who was a meth addict 3 months ago (went through re-hab and was baptized a couple weeks ago) was serving food in the line----food that she prepared for North First Street.....I hugged her and told her how beautiful it was to see her serving in line and how much her food was blessing those in need......back over to the front of the food line to try and figure how to bag up food for the river people to take with them.....It was great to share with our volunteers how their hard work preparing the food would bless the people who lived by the river for the next two or three days.  And trust me....the people by the river appreciate it so very much!  They do not have anything in their interactions with us that shows anything except true whole hearted appreciation that we think of them.  One man said, "Don't the people who prepared the food want to take the left overs  home? Don't they have families to feed?"  I was floored... he said it with all sincerity and finally accepted that we wanted to give it to him since he always shared it with his friends that live by him.  Another man told Tracy, "I'm a Vietnam Vet. and nobody wants to help us except you guys."  It isn't us... it is God's love that they are is overwhelming...totally joyful.....and the most beautiful thing to experience!!!

I headed to the truck once again to grab a bag of food that I had made up from home for a few of our homeless friends who always help us set up and serve.  They are so faithful every week to us that I wanted to give them a special thank you.  And nothing says thank you like some bread, eggs, milk, and pasta :0)    As I was headed over I saw one of our old friends who told us that he has been in an out of jail a lot the last month.  He was discouraged and afraid that he might be headed to prison because of avoiding parole.  I can't change his learning system or help the learning curve to improve any faster regarding life and consequences but I could offer prayer, a hug, and a compassionate ear.  I asked Chris if I could pray for him and he said, "Yes!"  After we prayed Chris thanked me and walked away.  I am so glad that he knows that he is always welcome and loved...even as he makes mistakes along the way. 

Two older women walked up at the very end and asked if we had any food left.  I had groceries in the back of the pick up that I had picked up right before I came down.  I knew that I had grabbed groceries for 7 people who were living in a motel room that I was supposed to deliver to after we were finished.  God knew that these two ladies would need food.  The longer we talked...the more we could see the wall of guardedness melt....The Lord provided them with food....paper towels...and hope!! Watching the ladies could see that the younger lady took care of the older one (but both were well into their 60's and maybe early 70's for the older lady).  "I am so glad that you have each other out here," I said.  "We need to because we only have each other."  I explained that we were there every Sunday at 2:00.  "Thank you," smiled the younger lady, "and God Bless You."  The ladies continued on over to the curb where they settled down and began to dive into the food that God provided! 

With our cars packed up...Keith and I headed out to one more stop.  The lady from last week who I thought had died because I hadn't seen her for so long called me today right before we headed out to North First St.  She and 6 other people were sharing a motel room.... all gathered together trying to survive...survive not only physically, but spiritually.  It's a room full of people with very hurt hearts.  We pulled up to their place and every one of them came out to meet us.  They thanked us repeatedly ...and you could feel the despair....the lady who called asked if Keith and I could give them words of hope...wisdom....and encouragement.  What we gave them was some of God's promises.  His promises hold the wisdom, the hope, and the encouragement. 

Another week finished...and another week overflowing with God's abundant joy.  Not the kind of joy that you feel when you get a Christmas gift...but the kind of joy that settles deep in the center of your being... a joy that is fulfilling and peaceful.  A joy that keeps us dis-satisfied with the thought of not going down each week...the kind that keeps us hungry for more... more of God's love flowing through us to His people.  I want to be "about doing My Father's business" for as long as God allows me to.  Thank You Jesus for Your unfailing Love!!! In Jesus Holy Name- Amen! :0)


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