Friday, September 30, 2005

Not a normal day

Just before we set out to give away our big load of bread yesterday, we had a prayer time. After prayer, I like to ask if anyone had felt any specific direction from God. One of the girls working with us said she felt God telling her that it was not going to be a normal day and added that she didn’t quite know what it means.

Typically on bread day, we go to the gospel mission and pick up their leftovers, have some friendly joking around with the guys working there. Then we go to a park in the airport district and distribute to 60 - 100 folks there. After that we go back to the mission to load up again and go to another park in the west side and give it away to about 30 - 50 people.

That’s what happened yesterday. In many ways, it was a normal day. I thought about this later on and wondered about Leah’s impression that is was not going to be a normal day. And I know God spoke to me...

It wasn’t a normal day because I got to meet and talk to Charles, an older gentleman who comes to the bread line. I’ve never spoken to him and he seemed to brighten just by having someone pay attention to him. It wasn’t normal because one of the men working at the mission treated me so kindly that it refreshed my heart. I got to help an elderly (and very cantankerous) lady find the closest thing I could find to a pie. I got to smile and encourage people. The poor, who are usually ignored, looked at with disdain or somehow locked out or expected to jump through hoops, got bread and a dessert for their family without any red tape. Neighbors thought about each other. God was with us all as we were all together.

It was not a normal day. God keeps his promises.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Hard week

No miracles to report. Just the slow daily struggle to progress and see something, even just a little something, be better.

Last week, just two hours after a good friend got out of rehab, he chose “street” life again, not being able to handle the challenge of a changed life. Old habits do die hard. One councilor of mine likened it to water that runs on stone and for years it cuts a path until soon water flows down that path very easily. My friend needs a new stone.

Some kids we’re working with may have been taken from their mother down at the motes this week. Hopefully, CPS will work with us to let us stay in touch with them.

Our physical labor seems to never end. The property here is constantly springing leaks and messes pop up out of no where.


This morning is new and so is God’s mercy. There is good work to my hand to and good friends to do it with. There is provision and good food. There is a baby in my wife’s womb kicking and moving around with life that I could never give. There are two boys still asleep in their beds that make me laugh every day. There is never a lost hope as long as there is breath. The poor still need the dignity of being human. The homeless are my flesh and blood that I cannot turn away from. Healing and reconciliation are possible. Anthelono, a man who we share bread with, helped us start our van yesterday when it seemed we were gonna be stuck down on 9th St. A big youth group committed yesterday to serve our mission as their own and work with us at least once a month to refresh the heart of the poor and forgotten in Modesto. All I have and experience is from a grace too immense for me to understand. All I can do is be thankful.