In last Friday’s post, I shared the story of meeting Freddy and his family at Wayside Christian Mission and how I (directed by the Holy Spirit) invited them to worship with me and my family on Sunday.
Now let me remind you of the doubts and fears that assailed me all weekend. Below are some snippets:
- You are going to have to go ALL the way downtown to pick them up only to backtrack 20 minutes.
- You don’t know these people. How are the kids going to act? What are they going to wear?
- This is really going to disrupt your family’s normal worship time together. Your wife covets family time.
- What do you think this is — the Blind Side movie?
- You don’t know what is going to happen? What will all those church people think?
I had to remember two things:
- God’s got this
- Satan assails the strongest when we are closest to doing God’s will
And so, not knowing what to expect, I first crossed the bridge of telling my wife. You see, I love her so much but we are different in our comfort levels of many things. I tend to be more extroverted and more spontaneous. In the past, those traits have put me and her in challenging situations – mostly socially (like inviting all the guys over to watch football when she had a nice family day planned). I have learned to scale back and to also confirm schedules with her prior to making any commitments. However, because I was outside of my comfort zone, I knew she also would be. Additionally, I had not confirmed our schedule. But my wife took it all in stride and completely supported my action. The first prayer had been answered.
Next up was the logistical challenge of getting two families composed of 9 people to church on time. The meeting time I had planned left buffer room for minor adjustments. I was glad I woke up 30 minutes earlier than the alarm I set and I turned out needing all those minutes. I left on schedule and arrived 30 minutes later downtown on schedule. Sheena and the three kids were all ready in the lobby and I was excited because things were materializing as I had envisioned — no no-shows, no traffic detours, no miscommunication. I parked, got out and greeted all the kids. I was happy to see them all and they looked good. I was ready to pack them all up in my car when Sheena informed me that Freddy would also be joining us. That was good and bad news. Good because I have been praying for Freddy’s faith and that he will see and feel the love of Christ. Bad because there were six of us now and my car only has seat belts for five. Additionally, he had just gotten off his second job that goes 11pm to 7:30am and was still upstairs taking a shower. So we proceeded to consume the buffer time I built in.
Soon enough we were all packed into my car and headed to worship. It was nice to spend time chatting and getting to know the family. They were grateful for the love, attention and opportunity to get away from the shelter and go to church. They have been at the shelter for 3 weeks but are not able to spend much time together because of Freddy’s two jobs and because Wayside does not allow families to stay together. The men must stay with men and the women and children stay together. There are also some folks at the shelter – both workers and visitors – that are not so pleasant either in aroma, attitude, or behavior. Freddy and Sheena are thankful for what it is but also realize that it is not a place for a family to stay long. They are on a waiting list for the Wayside hotel – where families can stay together – as well as trying to get their feet under them so they can achieve their longer term goal of getting an apartment. I was glad to hear they had goals and glad to hear they were doing what was in their control to improve their situation. Having spent almost 3 years down at Wayside, I have seen people absolve themselves of all responsibility for their circumstances instead blaming anything they can – gov’t, the economy, Wayside, business, the streets, others around them, etc. That is not to say that all of those might not be contributing causes but ultimately, we are each recipient of the choices we make each day which can either empower or imprison us.
We arrived to church with time to spare – however, we still had to check the kids into the kids worship and classrooms. Because they were new, that process took extra time. The volunteer coordinators, teachers and facilitators were spectacular and I must brag upon my church for how they handle the huge influx of hundreds of kids in a professional, safe, efficient, loving and personal manner. Each person in the kids worship treated Freddy, Sheena and the kids as if they were special and the only ones there.
We headed back to the sanctuary hearing the worship music already in full stride. I lucked out and spotted my wife and kids up towards the front and they slid over having saved the appropriate number of seats that I had pre-texted ahead.
This is quite a long post and the story continues so I will break it up into two posts.
To be continued.
…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net