Next door to the place we rent for our monthly worship are these boarding homes for many formerly homeless and persons with mental illness. And we’ve sporadically gone over and tried to find ways to connect and love them. We’ve done different things: clothes drives, small Bible studies, simple worship services, etc. What we’ve learned is that many live lonely existences, suffer from all of sorts of struggles [some self-imposed and others just by consequence] and experience a great degree of rejection.
So what we’ve been doing [until God tells us otherwise] is that we go over, bring lunch for all of us and just hang out. We’ve been doing this off and on over the course of the last year. We ask them how they are doing, what their story is, where they are from, etc. And we ask them if they need any prayer and we pray. And that’s about it – there’s nothing fancy, we don’t stay terribly long. We just share a meal and be friends.
And what it’s done is remind us no matter what sort of background or struggle, that we are all created in the image of God and thus loved by Him. And we’ve discovered that they are people just like us – who have experienced some hard moments, who are working through their struggles and are just needing a reminder that they matter in this world. The truth is that we’re all the same.
We went yesterday and had a great time in the sun, eating take out Chinese food and talking life. We’ve been doing it for a while, but I think we are just beginning to get why we need to be there [for both our good] and we’re slowly understanding Jesus’ heart to love the least [us included]. I got a hug from James Taylor yesterday… he said, “You guys are good people… you’re our buddies.” This is after 4+ years of knowing each other. Things don’t happen overnight. And God has used our time there to birth something in them and in us.
We got this letter today from Michelle who is a resident there:
Dear Elton and family,their friends,and their church community;
THANK-YOU!!!,very much for the fun get-together and lunch that was put on by you guys yesterday here at the Victorians Independant living community.Everybody that I talked to said that they had a good time,and to tell you “Thank-you!!!We feel very honored to have you and the prescence of GOD here every time you come and fellowship with us.Through the love of Christ,you show consideration and compassion for us-we really do appreciate this.May god bless you always,in the great work you guys(and gals) do for us and everyone your hearts “Touch”.We are truly blessed.
With love,through God, The residents of the Victorians.
ps- Great food!!! :-))))))))