From the time I wrote the February newsletter, to the time it reached you, our treasurer passed. It all happened so fast, it just seemed like a whirlwind hit and then it was gone and so was he. And we’re left with the wind knocked out of us, trying to get our footing to take the next step. Loss is so hard. He and his wife have a home in the country. The day he died, the well went dry and she has not had running water since. We know there is going to be a phenomenal message out of all this, but his wife is definitely not to the phenomenal part yet. She did make the discovery that it takes an unusually long time to melt enough snow to flush the toilet. If you’ve ever seen a baby colt trying to take it first steps, that’s where I see his wife right now. Her name is Beth. She works at a woman’s halfway house in Auburn and has a beautiful heart to rescue women. So now you know how to pray for her – I’m putting you on assignment.
As I was reading in Deuteronomy this morning, I was struck by all the offenses listed that I would have been put to death for, even rebellion as a teenager. God had no tolerance for that at all! For any of you who would like to let your children know how fortunate they are to be alive it’s in Deuteronomy 21:18-21. Many of us would not have lived past the age of 15! Its very humbling to serve a God who had so much mercy that He sent His Son to take our place.
Here are a couple of pictures from what we call the Friemann Square church, because normally it’s held in Friemann Square Park in the spring, summer and fall. This is where dad would still be preaching if he had of hung around. The morning these were taken, I think it might have been 9 degrees or so. In the top picture, the 3rd guy from the left, in the overalls is Mark Harvey. Him and his wife, Pam, have a powerful music ministry and they’ve shared this in Friemann Square for a number of years now. They’ve supported and participated with our ministry for more years than I can keep track of.
In the bottom picture, the guy on the right in the green coat, isn’t homeless as he looks. His name is Chief, (Steve Delarosa). He’s not only one of our board members, but he does worship and alternates with other men who give the Sunday message at this ministry. Chief brings the tents, the sheets of plastic to put up as sides, a generator, and some salamander heaters and that’s what makes this a real party. I wish I could introduce you to all the volunteers, they are a phenomenal group of people.
“Coffee Dan” brings coffee, Ms. Glady brings homemade cookies, sausage sandwiches, and a ton of hugs, which she has done for multiple years! All the guys love her. Some men from a gas station bring donuts, milk and juice. What’s so unique about this, is that in different seasons, different people just show up, bringing their own flavor to the pot. There’s no committee, no board meetings, God is the overseer and the director.
This is the first winter, since we began participating with this ministry in 2010, that the services have remained outside all winter. We’ve knocked on some doors and they’ve stayed shut. I honestly don’t know how the guys who live outside make it. After being out there with them for a few hours, I go home feeling traumatized.
We’re there from approximately 7 a.m. to 9:15 a.m., and one Sunday, I honestly did not feel warm until about 4pm! As I was pleading with the Lord one Sunday to please not let me lose any of my toes, (that was before I discovered the insertable foot warmers at Walmart), it didn’t make sense to me what we were still doing out there! Is this what church is really supposed to look like? I was perfectly comfortable getting down there about 7:15 after everything was set up, (after all I’m a girl), but the Lord showed me after that freezing day, that I needed to be more invested. So this last week, I went earlier and was actually the first one to arrive. When one of the homeless guys showed up, I told him to get in, and then a woman walked up, so she got in also. We sat in the car in the dark, it was 6:30 a.m. and talked. There was nothing uncomfortable about it, just sitting with family before church. When the equipment showed up, what unfolded was so beautiful to be a part of. As we worked, more homeless and volunteers came and everyone picked up something and contributed. I’d been part of the tearing down process and honestly thought that was enough for me. But seeing it from beginning to end made me see it totally different. This is exactly what church should look like. When Chief had told me a few weeks before that he was getting down there at 6:30, I thought “you go ahead on brother, I’ll just be finishing my first cup of coffee.” (There’s no need for all of us to be overachievers. J)
This is not to be condemning in any way, shape or form, because we are all called to something different, but we have such a view of how comfortable church should be, that it’s good to be reminded that it’s not about us. Watching the homeless jump in and work along side us, you’d never be able to pick them out from us and it reminds you that they are ordinary men who have talent, skill and value. Through this ministry we purchased two new 10 x 20 canopies this week with sides! Two of the ones we’re using are more than 10 years old and when we put them up some of the frame hangs down in the middle and the legs don’t quite latch right and have to be rigged up with grips to hold them in place. So thank you for continuing to support us because without you, we certainly wouldn’t be putting up new tents this Sunday, and we’re super excited about it. As me and Pam Harvey were on our way into the women’s mission yesterday to do crafts with them, we seen the guy who had sat in the car with me last Sunday morning and I told him about the new tents. He promised me he’d be there to help get them up. The family of God is so diverse, so beautifully unique.
As the verse at the beginning of this letter says, we can do all things through Christ, Who strengthens us. Where would we be without Him? Even in the hard times, it’s just better with Jesus. Have a wonderful month!
Your sister in Jesus,