My church asked me to speak at our bimonthly women’s breakfast this Saturday. We give our testimonies and encourage each other that way. I will speak about the things the Lord directs and tie in our mission work with the folks in the city.
Crystal is one of our people. She shows up to help us unload our truck at the outreaches. She crochets items but mostly gives them out for free instead of selling them, which would help her to climb out of poverty. I have a few of her items to promote at the breakfast. She does a nice job! What we see is an unhealthy rhythm, a recurrent alternation of strong and weak elements, in the flow of their lives.
Many, like Crystal, live temporarily with other family members, until something erupts, or that family member loses housing. She told me at our last outreach that she and husband were living with his mother but she lost her house so they moved in with her brother till they were told to leave. They are back in a tent. I’m sure they have the sterno going again. BUT they both got jobs recently. I pray they KEEP the jobs so they may get and hold onto some housing. That looks promising at this point. Please keep them in prayer.
Tanya is another face of Reading. She has a special relationship with Nadine and Harry. She has lived a very hard, nomadic life where she bunks with people, asks for blankets and air mattresses, then something erupts and she finds another place and needs more stuff. Nadine and I have discussed that at least someone in the city benefits from the blankets and comforters we take in. Tanya also helps us to unload the truck when we come in. She has a very hard edge to her but it is protective from all the pain she has endured. For the first time at the October outreach she approached and hugged me before she left with Michele to return to their apartment. Michele is the one who asked for prayer that “life not keep being so hard.”
Jessica is a new face at our outreaches and she asked for prayer and clothing for a job interview. She got the job and so far is holding it. I’m not sure if she is bunking with someone inside until she gets an apartment. I hope so. We will find out Nov 25.
The faces of the people at the boarding house next to the parking lot keep coming to my mind. Dave always meets Nadine on Thursdays to take other food bags to those in the building. He came up for a pillow on our table for a man who was too ashamed to come forward for it. Carlos brought grapes to share over the summer and always says how much he appreciates our presence there. It is a wonderful thing to show people they are not forgotten.
God’s vision for them embraces them in His comforting arms. He wants more for them, as for all of us. It takes courage and supernatural focus to move forward in this. We can do it in Christ’s strength, relying on His mighty right arm. I know I cannot hold this baby up in my strength. I thank all of you who take the time to read these stories and pray for what we are doing. Please pray for the laborers to keep coming forward because the harvest is immense in the city. I welcome all input, assistance, ideas, and willing hands to help with the physical work.