Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Christians should play in traffic

"Why don't you go and play in traffic!" ...
Not such a nice thing to say to someone. I remember this as being one of the earliest playground put-downs I ever learned. You'd tossed it out on the kids you didn't really like, often paired with a "your-mamma joke"...."your mamma tells you there are cookies in the street for you!" I think that Christians should play in traffic! Not that I don't like them (well, some I do not), but too many Christians are content to live in the parking lot, waiting for the service to start, their Bible Study friends to show up, or to set-up for the pot-luck, or whatever. Parking lots are nice, safe gathering places. You pull in, get out of your car when you want, get back in when the whatever-thing is over, and drive home...

But life is lived in the street, with everything flying by. Here is today's foray into traffic. It started out with a phone call while my family and I were away for a short trip up North. We have a connection with a woman who runs a yearly childrens tagsale that involves 80 sellers. I walked up to her two years ago when we visited the sale and asked if the sellers might consider donating her leftovers to our ministry efforts. She normally splits the donations between myself and a social worker in town but this year we were given all of the items! I had to laugh as it was just last week that we cleared out our garage and thought it would be empty for some time. My daughter (2 yr old Olivia) thought it was nice that "there was nothing up front!" and she could get to her bike by herself!

Whenever my garage is full, I know the Lord is about to send someone our way. Her name was Katiria, and she had gotten my number from a pregnancy crisis center. She's expecting a baby girl in a few months and didn't have any baby furniture...all she needed she told me was a baby bouncer; I showed up with a bouncer, baby bath, highchair, exercise seat, play mat, toys and a box of winter clothes. I would like to make a shameless plug here for the Honda Ridgeline Truck! I replaced my Toyota Tacoma (you may have seen it in previous blogs) a couple of months ago after I looked in the rear view mirror at my daughter sitting wedged between bags of donated cloths. The Lord sent this truck our way and it is perfect for our ministry! The back seats fold up completely in less than a minute so I can make deliveries in poor weather without a tarp!

So with the the truck full of blessings I left the parking lot and went and played in traffic. This portion of my ministry rarely takes me more than 10 miles from my home but I am always astounded by where I end up. My GPS has a little flag that pops up on the screen and tells me I have arrived at my destination...but until I walk in the door I never know what it will be like.

So this morning I found a pregnant mother with her young son and her mom living in an apartment with a couch and a couple of table or chairs, lamps, picutures....nothing...well there is now a pile of things for the baby coming. So I passed on the blessings, talked about life, shared about Jesus, and prayed for them...and made a mental note of what they needed so I could get back. This is traffic people, and it's where followers of Christ need to play...get out of the parking lot, for the sake of Christ and those who have yet to see or feel His goodness and Glory...

It's not easy, and at times it's not fun...even dangerous. I always wear a collar when I drop off by myself. But it is always right and it always changes me...and the traffic never stops. As I was leaving to make the delivery my cell rang. It was a woman who I had helped about a year ago when she got her first apartment and she had no furniture for herself and her son. She is expecting another child and was perhaps looking for a crib...she wasn't sure if she was going to keep the baby as the financial burden is great. I don't have a crib for her right now, but I told her that I would buy her one tomorrow. She said to wait, and not spend the money as she would think about it. I prayed for her and told her I'd call her....the traffic doesn't stop.

Your faithful servant of the Most High God,

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Who is going to pay for it?

So this is what my little back patio looks like this morning. I picked up a bed, lamp, shelves and a few other items last night with my dad. I had a referral for a single mom who had to leave her apartment because of black mold. She had to leave everything she had behind...everything that is accept for her four children (4,3,2 and one month old).

This is what my garage looks like. I've got another twin bed, a TV, a couple of chairs and a number of other odds and ends that were donated to me to help out the folks I'm in contact with. That blue plastic thing on top is my oldest daughters can't see her wagon underneath the pile.

This is my "office" in the basement. I keep baby clothes, diapers and formula on hand. As a dad of two kids, I know how expensive these items are so whenever I am refereed to a family I ask if diapers or formula would be helpful. Now, I'm not trying to come across as a super-apostle that everyone should emulate. I've been given a very specific task and am trying my best to make "much of Jesus and much of His cross"

So as you can see, we're a little pressed for space with our ministry. Our second daughter, as small as she is, takes up more room that I thought. We've been tossing around the idea of looking for storage space but never seriously...until this morning. I found a space at a self-storage facility that seems like it will fit our needs. It will cost us around $125 per month to rent. Not too bad, but the question soon came up with my wife and me "who will pay for it?"...our ministry funding? Our personal giving? Some friends who know our work well?

I was struck by how fast the question came up...even while I was unloading my truck this morning my neighbor and I had a talk about my work (she loves it) and I mentioned our need for storage...and her remark was "who is going to pay for it?"...

Now here's the problem...this very question Jesus constantly gives far and I willing to be put out for the sake of the Gospel and for the needs of others? And the Holy Spirit reminds me of how far Jesus did....