I was witness to God at work today….in the children that are participating in this mission week, in the lives of strangers who we now call our friends, in the community that is forming as a result of our common focus on the “things that break the heart of God.” I know God is always at work all around me; but today was one of those days when I was repeatedly moved to tears at the sight.
This morning, our team had the privilege of spending time with the guests and the volunteers at the Lamb Center. The Lamb Center is a day shelter for homeless individuals in our own seemingly wealthy Fairfax County. The center is a place where Lamb Center guests can receive their mail, get breakfast or lunch, take a shower, use a phone, launder their clothes; any number of activities that we take for granted in our own homes. What I witnessed today leads me to believe that the most important thing that the staff and volunteers offer is a smile, respect and the love of Jesus Christ. In addition to the other services, Lamb Center guests are also invited to times of prayer and are offered the opportunity to participate in a morning bible study.
The girls helped out for a while with serving food and doing laundry, but our team quickly realized that the greatest need was for a listening ear. I was so proud of the girls for their loving presence. We were all blessed by the stories we heard of God at work in the lives of these folks and by the powerful ministry of this place of refuge. In the afternoon, we made some breakfast casseroles that we will bring to our new friends tomorrow morning when we will have the opportunity to spend a few more hours with them.
Tonight, I can’t stop thinking of one couple that I met today. I spent a majority of my time this morning talking to J. and his wife, S. J. is a student of scripture and speaks eloquently of the redemption, deliverance and providence he has found in the years since Jesus found him. He told his story with not one ounce of self-pity…he gave God all the glory for the changes he has made in his life. He shared how God had used a number of His servants to help them over the years. He also related the ways he is trying to give back, in whatever way he can. He shared with me how grateful he is for the ways that God is providing for he and his wife…and what a significant role the Lamb Center has played in the most recent chapters of his story. He and S. each told me separately how God had recently blessed them with a significant improvement in their living situation. J. told me that God had provided for them “abundantly” with their recent acquisition of a new tent that doesn’t leak when it rains. They saw this as clear evidence that God loved them and was providing for their every need….just as scripture had promised them.
Joy, gratitude and service should naturally flow out of walking with Jesus. I met a man today who lives in a tent, yet he seems to understand the concepts better than many of us who are currently experiencing more worldly success. Kind of puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?