Luke 14:12-14 (NLT) “When you put on a luncheon or a banquet,” he said, “don’t invite your friends, brothers, relatives, and rich neighbors. For they will invite you back, and that will be your only reward. Instead, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. Then at the resurrection of the righteous, God will reward you for inviting those who could not repay you.”
What an INCREDIBLE night and blessing!!! We had such a HUGE turnout in both guests and volunteers compared to last year. 2008 was our first Thanksgiving event and the start of Jesus Was Homeless with around 50 guests and 20 volunteers. In just one year we had close to 150 guests and over 150 volunteers. Tell me God isn’t working in our community! I heard all kinds of comments from the guests about how nice it was to be able to get free coats, blankets and toiletry items. I think that part was a HUGE hit. Thank you to all the people that donated items. There were also several comments about how good the food was. Be sure to thank Steve Weyher at Steve’s Treehouse in Stonebridge when you see him and of course his food wouldn’t have tasted so good without the tremendous help of the kitchen volunteers. We had a group of ladies really jump in and take charge. I heard comments from volunteers that their heart was touched by the families they were serving. We just want to say “THANK YOU” to everyone that came and helped. I especially want to thank Mayor Presley and her husband Steve, not only for attending but jumping in and serving. I had several guests comment that she made them feel like an equal. I had one person in particular that said she had remembered him from a BBQ and made a point to speak with him. It made him feel special. We are truly blessed to have a person in this position that truly has a heart for people and the community.
We were asked several times what the plan was and our response was that we really didn’t have a plan except to make the guests feel welcomed and important. It may have seemed at times we weren’t very organized (and we may not of been) but our goal was and is to build relationships and love people.
29 Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The LORD our God is the one and only LORD.30 And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ 31 The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” Mark 12:29-31 (NLT)
When you let God lead you never really know the plan, you just know it will work out. We want to hear ALL your feedback, good and bad, suggestions for next year, stories and blessings that you might have encountered that night. We know we will have to have a larger facility and a PA system next year for sure, but overall I feel like it was a big blessing for both the volunteers and guests. PLEASE let us hear from you.
We ended up with 56 surveys filled out. I wish it had been more but I think it is still a good snapshot. I was surprised with some of the results. The most important needs were: 1-Dental Care, 2-Health Care, 3-Food Assistance (I was surprised this was as high as it was. It tells me there are hungry people out there), 4-Transportation, 5-Motel Rental Assistance. We also asked about Life Skill classes. There were several surprises here: 1-Spiritual Living, 2-Money Management, 3-Nutrition & Wellness, 4-Cooking in a Motel, 5-Credit Repair. 61% of the surveyed said they would use a FREE bicycle if they had one. 20% were veterans. 43% had a disability with 79% of those having a physical disability and 54% having a mental disability but only 50% of them received any type of disability benefit. 45% had lived in a motel for OVER 1 year and 20% don’t know what church to attend while 16% don’t have transportation to get to church. Interesting stuff. I think God will be leading us down some additional paths over the course of this next year. Look for complete survey results soon.
We normally deliver meals on Thursday nights each week, with Christmas and New Year’s being on Thursday’s this year we need feedback on what the alternative plan everyone would like to do is, so please let us know. Remember to be thankful each day and not just on Thanksgiving. Love people this holiday season. If we all just adopt 1 person or family and take responsibility to better their life we will build a better community.
8 Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.9 Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay.10 God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. 1 Peter 4:8-10 (NLT)