9 You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich. – 2 Cor 8:9 (NLT)
Wah Gwan Mon? That’s Jamaican for “what’s happening, man?” Before I tell you what’s been happening let me first apologize for not doing a very good job lately of updating everyone. The month of January, and so far February as well, have just been a whirlwind. I feel like a guy in a circus with multiple plates spinning and you run from one to another to keep from dropping them. I am in a very busy time at work right now, then you throw in family stuff, Jesus Was Homeless and life and you’re just worn out. I’m not complaining though as I am blessed just to be working, it’s good to have family and JWH recharges me for life. It’s just a season right now. Amy and I are still staying focused on downsizing and reducing our stuff. We know there will come a time when we won’t be as dependent on “manna” and we will be able to live out the “fruits of the spirit” full-time.
We had an incredible time in Jamaica. It goes to show you that when you serve you are truly blessed in return. Because of Jesus Was Homeless we were able to meet some incredible people from Jamaica that were living at the motels during the summer months here in Branson. After building relationships with them, hearing about their families and the sacrifice they make, we decided that we would vacation there in the off-season and visit them. What a wonderful honor and experience. We had fantastic tour guides, home cooked Jamaican meals, hung out with their family and friends and were still able to throw in some down time to re-charge our batteries. We got to experience the Jamaica outside of the tourist areas. While they are a very poor country, in many aspects they are so rich. I was just blown away at how resourceful they are in contrast to how wasteful we are. Their island has blessed them with all kinds of fruits and they don’t waste a thing. They experience “community” like none other. They have more churches per square mile than any other place I’m aware of.
These are a couple of great articles that I came across. They are a good read and can give you another perspective about things. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think it’s non-Christian to have money and wealth. Money helped us to be able to provide for Jesus Was Homeless, but like anything when it’s out-of-balance it can be a bad thing. It’s out-of-balance when you want to buy more stuff when your neighbor has less, when it’s more important to acquire money than to give it away, when you care more about the clothes you wear than someone not having clothes, and when you buy something new & shiny just to experience joy. I know I’ve lived out-of-balance for years but through serving each week with Jesus Was Homeless it has helped me towards my journey of getting back to center.
Millionaire gives away fortune which made him miserable
Downward Mobility in an Upscale World by Shane Claiborne
*BROKEN PEOPLE – Amy’s Blog*
I’m amazed and saddened by how many broken people there are in our community. It makes you wonder if there are this many broken people in the Branson area, how many are there in the world? Read Amy’s blog about what she experienced this past week.
I really don’t know where to begin – Thursday was another amazing experience! Patrick, the manager of one of the hotels that we serve, called to ask us if there was any way that we could help financially with 2 of his tenants that did not have enough money to pay for the week. He went on to explain that he had already taken up a collection (which included himself also) amongst all of the residents there and was still coming up short. I told him that I would ask our morning and evening volunteers if they could pitch in and, like always, they did. We actually came up with the needed amount through the generosity of our morning meal makers so I didn’t even have to ask the evening meal delivery volunteers – How awesome was that! I love to see everyone pitching in what they can – it makes such a difference in the lives of others.
We had probably around fifty volunteers show up to help with the food deliveries. It is so incredibly rewarding to watch the volunteers jump in and share compassion with the ones we serve. I stood back a bit to allow others the chance to experience what I get to experience every Thursday until we arrived at the last hotel on our route for the night. Bryan and I decided to go say hello to a friend whom we had met there months prior – but “accidentally” knocked on the wrong door. A woman answered (she was new) and looked as if we had just woke her up. We explained who we were, why we were there and apologized for waking her up. Well, about 2 minutes later I felt a tap on my shoulder and when I turned around it was her. She seemed disoriented and asked me if I could come and talk with her for a minute. I agreed (all the while praying that God would give me wisdom) and we went into her motel room. She started to share some of the hardships she had recently experienced (they were heartbreaking) and while talking she started having trouble breathing and kept passing out. When I asked her what she had taken and how many, she could not give me an answer. After calling a close friend who is a recovered addict and now works for Church Army helping others, she advised me to call 911 and get her medical attention. One of our volunteers came to the door at that time (another Church Army miracle) and talked with her as we waited for the ambulance to arrive. The medics checked her out and felt as if she would be o.k. (she also refused to go to the hospital) so they left. Not knowing how she was going to react after they left (she never wanted us to call them in the first place) I was able to put my hand on her shoulder, look her in the eyes and share with her my concerns for her. She started to cry and thanked us for caring. She is now in a Church Army recovery home seeking help. WOW! It’s so amazing to watch God work through a crazy little food outreach! We never anticipated how God would and could change lives (definitely mine) by simply being willing.
Thank you to everyone who helps this to continue through your time, your donations, your prayers and your encouragement.
We’ve already hit the 2000 meals distributed mark and it’s not even March yet. We were supposed to be doing less meals since Loaves & Fishes was going on yet we still find many in need. It has been fun though, to find all the unique items waiting for us at Church Army. Through generous donations, so far this year we have passed out bags of toiletry items, potatoes, soup, Heater Meals, hats, gloves, blankets, candy and some things I know I’ve forgotten. A big THANK YOU to COUNTRY MART as they have cut pricing on, or even donated, several items for our meals. Also, keep us in mind if you have a project or service for the community, our food distribution is a great way to get the word out. We can put your flyer in our food bags, but you must provide the flyers, currently over 330 each week, and it must be something that will benefit the ones we serve.
*ON OUR HEART*
If you know John Baltes then I’m sure you’ve heard him say “if it’s of God it will flourish.” I really love that statement. It really helps me keep things in perspective that I don’t have to be the one to make something successful and that God is in control. Here are some things that we haven’t forgotten about that are still on our “To Do” list, we’re just waiting to see if God wants them to flourish.
Motel Cookbook – it’s about ½ way done.
Bicycles – bicycles that could be used at the weekly motels for transportation
Bible Study/Small Group Classes at the motels
Aunt Mollies Garden – We will be having a spring planting day soon!
Food Voucher Program – Would love to see some restaurants, especially ones with buffets, offer free food vouchers to those in need. Maybe after a certain time, a person could come in and get a hot meal if they had a voucher. There could be a couple of agencies in town help clarify the need and distribute the vouchers.
We really need your comments, suggestions, and/or criticisms. What would you like to see from Jesus Was Homeless in 2010? What would you like to see us not do? What would you like to hear more of? And of course, praise lets us know to keep doing what we are doing. If you are not comfortable criticizing without being anonymous then go to the contact page on our web site and leave your comments there. We would just love to have your feedback on a regular basis. Remember, you are always invite to “Come & See” each week.