Monday, February 21, 2011

unexpected sunday night dinner

This was the most laid back weekend we have had in a L-O-N-G time.  Our winters are usually pretty slow or much more so than the other 3 seasons but that has not been true this year.  All that to say we really enjoyed our slower family filled weekend. 

Friday night we made homemade pizza, watched a movie and had a camp out in the living room (the boys and I ended up in my bed- much more comfortable)!

Saturday we we cleaned out our garage and hung cabinets that Rusty got from a job- way neater in there than before.  The question is, can we keep it that way!  Saturday night Rusty and I rented a movie and had Sushi at home- LOVED IT!

Sunday we went to church and Sunday School, we have plugged in somewhere new now and love it!  Dad had us over for lunch and then we went back to church for the highlight of our weekend (ironically not "relaxing")...

The church participates in something called Room In The Inn, a ministry that has been going on there for 6 years now.  On the 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month the church feeds and houses homeless men.  We went over about 5:00 thinking that we were delivering a desert just a little early and that we would be eating about 5:30 and leaving by 6 or 6:30, wrong!  When we got there only the cook was there.  We quickly began setting tables and placing needed items on the tables.  Soon other families and people started showing up.  Before we knew it Rusty was in the kitchen cooking, I was making coffee with my Dad, Aubrey was blowing up air mattresses for the men to sleep on and the boys were making cards for the men coming.  It took a lot of people to pull this off and they did it well, table decorations and all.  It is obvious that the church wants these men to feel loved and feel special.  When the men arrive they choose a bed and then find a place at the table to eat.  The children take their drink order and serve them.  Adults and children alike begin interacting with the men, getting to know them and their story.  A brief sermon is presented and then the children walk through the buffet line and take the men a plate of food and then they refill the plates when they are empty... they ate A LOT!  When the men are taken care of we get a plate and then eat among them.  Some want to talk and others do not.  During the sermon I was standing behind the table to serve and was facing the men and other families there.  I studied each of the men.  Some were very sad and down trodden while other men seem to have what resembled the joy of the Lord.  You could see the physical results of substance abuse in some.  My heart ached and wondered how they got to this place.  Some have children, some have spent a lot of their life in jail, others have lost jobs.  Once it was time for me to sit and talk with one of these men (along with a couple of other ladies) I found out that he had similar interests as I do.  He enjoys movies and music.  He once enjoyed traveling.  These men (children of GOD) are seen as worthless and are outcasts in our society.  How do we (I) allow that?  I encouraged my children to interact and love these men- appropriately of course.  But there are a few of them that if I had run into them on the streets of Nashville I would have been fearful and not spoken to them myself.  I know that we have to be cautious but I think the US in general (and really Christians) are so hung up on safety and security that we miss opportunities that God sets before us.  God did some work in my heart last night (in our whole family actually).  We can't wait to serve "the least of these again"... a term I have always used for orphans but I think it fits these men as well.  We are so excited to be a part of this... a ministry started in the church by a man who once found himself at a very low place in life.  Again, another example of what Satan meant for evil, God meant for good!  So this morning the men were served a hot breakfast and given a sack lunch to go.  They are also leaving clean (because they are allowed to shower at the church) and on each bed they are given a bag of personal hygiene items.  AND they are leaving with clean clothes because a man and his 2 sons come and do their laundry.  Some are leaving with new clothes or shoes because the church takes up donations weekly to give to these men.  AN AMAZING MINISTRY!  As we were in the kitchen running around and trying to get it all together Rusty and I at one point said, we feel like we are on FOOD NETWORK racing against the clock- the chef knew what he was doing (it was his lively hood for a while) and he sent out orders and commands and it was great.  What we thought was going to be about an hour to an hours and a half stay turned into about a 4 hour stay and for that our hearts are full and thankful.  We had no idea that we would a part of something so sweet.

Back in the beginning of the winter we made food packs for homeless people.  We kept them in our car at all items and the plan was to pass them out to people on the side of the road.  We have been disappointed because there seems to be a lack of people on the side of the streets this winter (we know from other ministries that they are out there, just not as visible as before).  So what was somewhat disappointing to the kids turned out well!  We had those bags with us last night (we had 15 left).  Would you know that God sent 15 men last night so the kids were able to pass those out to each man there.  For them, it beat passing it out the window of our car.  They already knew several of their names.  And some of the men began eating the peanuts so the kids felt full knowing that what we had chosen for the bags the men loved.  God is so faithful if we are patient.  We never would have guessed that that would be the avenue we would distribute the bags but God knew it was the right time.  Our adoption process has taught us about patience and it is neat to see the other areas we are learning it.  God truly does know better than we do and His timing is always perfect:)

A little funny story to close this seriously long post--- Aubrey was walking around the men as they were settling into their spots on their beds and chairs.  The lights were dimmed and things were quieting down  Most of the clean up was complete and as I came out of the kitchen Aubrey came up to me with a toothbrush and toothpaste and said, "that man gave this back because he doesn't have any teeth!!- she had huge eyes and all I could do was chuckle. She helped put those bags together so she was glad she knew where she could put them back and save them for the next man who has teeth!

My mind is still processing a lot of the evening but I couldn't get it off my mind so I had to jot some of my thoughts down. 

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