Thanks for leading last Friday at the Soup Kitchen. My 1st experience at the Soup Kitchen was about 3 months ago. All I did that day was just set up, but when I left at 3pm I noticed a line of people and cars in the back of the church and couldn’t believe all those people were about to enter the church. So that curiosity made me come back.
Last Friday as we prayed as a group I couldn’t pay attention because I just keep looking at the doors and couldn’t imagine me being on the other side waiting for free food. Once the doors were open it was like a scene from “NEXT”—everyone running to their table and within seconds, soup and drinks where being severed. I was a part of the “talking team” so I just had a chance to take a step back and observe for the first 10 minutes as people where getting served. Then it was my turn to join the fun. I just went around talking football and cracking jokes to break the ice and to my surprise everyone there seemed very happy to talk. I asked them if they attend this church or a church in the area. No matter the response I told them that we attended CLC and would love to have them as a guest and gave them an English or Spanish invitation. I did not get a chance to pray for anyone but I saw two other members for CLC praying for some people I already spoke with and that provoked me to have more faith next time and ask if they also need prayer.
I think this is a great way to serve and reach out to the community. I look forward to doing it again in January and just experience this event with other friends and family members.
In April a caseworker from the City of Gaithersburg, put me in touch with an older couple named Mark and Julie. They’d been living in the same dingy apartment building for over twenty years and had just been informed that they would need to move. Julie had mobility issues and Mark wasn’t able to keep a steady job. Their sole income came from welfare checks and most of it went to pay rent. Sometimes, they went without food for an entire week until their next check arrived.
When I met this couple, two things immediately struck me - it was very dim in their apartment - and I was grateful for that. There seemed to be a coating of grime and filth over everything in their small two-bedroom apartment. Everything was old and shabby. Except for the smiles on Mark and Julie’s faces. They lit up when we were introduced. Right then I had a fresh vision for serving these people - I wanted to do what I could to help them and show them Christ’s love.
My care group decided to adopt this couple. We picked up boxes and other supplies to assist with the move. Five of us met at Giant to buy sandwich foods, then made our way to Mark and Julie’s. They were so blessed when we told them we wanted to share our lunch with them and give them all the leftovers.
The ladies in my caregroup immediately engaged Mark and Julie and began fixing them lunch. Our men didn’t waste any time either. They jumped right into boxing up the apartment and hauling out clutter. After five hours we were about halfway done. But I felt like I was on holy ground. The way Angel, Gerre, Jessica, and Lena served was exemplary. They jumped right into serving, not waiting for someone to tell them to do something, but taking initiative. And doing an outstanding job. I was so humbled to see them entering into the filthy world of that apartment, engaging with the dirt and grim with a smile, all because they wanted to serve this couple they had never met before. That was Christ-likeness on display. They weren’t just there to do a good deed and move on. No, they drew out Mark and Julie about their lives and beliefs. And they wanted to do more!
Two Tuesdays later, we used our caregroup time to continue the job. Brian Whalen, Susan Alexander, and Erin Jones were able to come this time. I was thrilled that Mark and Julie would meet different members of the caregroup, because I knew each person was a unique testimony of God’s love. I was also excited for my group to catch a vision for serving and laying their lives down.
We spent around two and a half hours going through their bedrooms packing up their stuff and throwing out what they no longer needed. And when we were finished everything was mostly packed and ready to go.
We chose Sunday afternoon for the final move. After several trips back and forth everything was in the new place, the old apartment was cleaned out, and Mark and Julie were settled in their new home.
We probably spent 5 hours moving them that final day, but God gave each of us so much joy in our serving, that the time seemed short. It was awesome to see how we were able to help in such a tangible way to dramatically improve their standard of living.
It encouraged me to see folks in my caregroup give of their time and energy to serve this couple we probably will never see again. And to see them do it for God’s glory, not for an earthly reward.