Suddenly our own problems don't seem so bad.
Last night, our church family went downtown to minister to our city's homeless population. We have started doing this just two months ago, and already people are feeling the impact of what we are doing.
While Beautiful Feet Ministries is not a new concept, it is for our church. We reach out with a Christlike love to people who need it the most: those people who are living on the streets because of bad decisions they made in their lives (or perhaps through no fault of their own). We saw homeless men. Women. Even teenagers and children, as well as babies.
Suddenly things took on a whole new perspective.
Our praise team, the kids and youth choirs ministered to the people who came in song, and the assistant pastors gave a powerful message of God's love. It must have hit home because several people came up when they had altar call. As this was going on, there were people milling about, reaching out, touching, hugging, praying for the homeless.
As an example, I met a woman last night who had just lost her son to a gang fight a month ago, and she was obviously very broken up about it. As she told me her story, she broke down into sobbing. All I could do was hold her and pray for her. I was crying too.
Another gentleman was a homeless Vietnam veteran. He'd been out on the street for years, but he was trying to get back onto his feet. He was such a shy, soft-spoken gentleman with a swwet spirit about him. Seeing that my own father is a Veteran, his story deeply touched me. I hugged him, too, and I prayed for him. He wanted to get into contact with his family; his family didn't want to have to do anything with him.
A woman with mental problems also touched me. She suffered from schitzophrenia and often talked to herself as I prayed, but she let me minister to her. She had to have been in her sixties (though she appeared much older). My heart broke for her.
There was a woman there with her twin babies (boys). She had been working, to support herself and her family, but she got fired from her job, and was now on the streets with her children. It was an ugly situation. Apparently, a co-worker framed this woman for something she did not do, and she spent a month in jail.
As we talked with these people, our own problems melted away; suddenly they didn't seem to be so significant. Our problems we could handle; these people couldn't. Suddenly I wanted nothing more than to connect them to city services so they could get the help they so desperately needed, like the mother and her twin baby boys who were six months old.
Next month, we are going to do it again. Hopefully we can reach out to even more poeple. There was a good turnout last night; hopefully in the months ahead more people will get involved and that more people will come to our worship service. This thing has lots of room to grow, and we can make a difference in the lives of "the least of these" in a big way.
It is funny how God uses us in unexpected ways to reach out to our community!
Beautiful Feet Ministries truly is a beautiful concept!