Welcome to our journey. The purpose of my blog is not only to journal our life experience, but also to share what God is doing in our lives. I do not claim to be an expert in parenting, marriage, or even the Bible. But I do have a heart to share my experiences and the true love that God has for each and every one of us. You can read our testimony by clicking on the top of the page. And if you'd like to know about the Homeless Ministry my husband started, you can click on the Homeless tab. I hope you will comment freely on my posts and in my community.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Christmas for the homeless

This post is a little late since it happened on December 22, 2009.  Better late than never right?

I was talking to my hubby one night.  It was about 2 weeks before Christmas.  He wanted to have a big Christmas Party for the homeless.  One like I helped to plan last year at Midwest Challenge, complete with gifts.  The thing about that party, it was A LOT of work.  Hours and hours of planning.  And there was just not enough time to pull this off.  So, I convinced him thought I convinced him to just have a simple gathering with the few guys at the house.  A small dinner for 6.  I promised we would do something big, next year.  Well, on the Sunday before Christmas (TWO DAYS before the Christmas "dinner") we're talking to some people at church and I hear my husband say, "there'll be about 35 - 40 people there".  WHAT?!  I calmly smile and when we get in the car I ask him "who's making this dinner?" and he smiles back "you?".  Ahhhh....hmmmm....really? 

I tell him how I don't have time for this.  I have Christmas shopping to do, presents to wrap, cookies to bake, dinners to prepare for, etc. and I only have a certain amount of time to do it because I have to work on Christmas Eve.  I'm really a little angry at this point.  Then God "buds" in.  :)  He gently brings to mind what Christmas is really about.  I hear "Really?  You're worried about shopping and wrapping presents?  You're worried about having a nice dinner for your family who wants for nothing?  You're too busy to help the very people that you have a heart for?"  WOW!  I was so ashamed of my attitude.  So, quickly I said I was sorry Lord, for making this all about this stuff, instead of all about YOU! 

On Monday I decided to throw this out on FB.  I said that I was trying to prepare a meal for some homeless people and asked if anyone had a couple of pies laying around and if they wanted to bring a dish.  By the end of the day, I had everything we needed to make this an awesome evening.  Not only that, but we had plenty of help.  It was amazing!  Here's how our night turned out...

My dear friend Lisa who was a huge part in bringing the meal together and my new friend Shelbie who at a moments noticed not only cooked a ham, but came and served along with her family.

The kids had a great time making treat bags for the homeless.
The bags were filled with lots of goodies and were hand decorated and had scriptures and messages from the kids on them.

Kelle (Tim's wife) & Ken Ailes

Cleaning as we go!
I truly have to say that this was without a doubt the best Christmas I've ever had.
Our guests, literally came off the streets.  The guys went and picked them up from under the bridges and in front of the shelters.  As they were being kicked out of the shelters because there was no more room, Dave and Tim picked them up and brought them to the house.

Some new friends!

My son Mitchell's favorite part of the evening was handing these bags out.
It brought several of our guests to tears.

One of our guests who shared her life and her heart with our children.
She told the story of how drugs got her where she is and that she can't find her teenage son. She's been walking the streets looking for him for days.  She was in tears several times talking about him.  She told the kids how bad decisions can bring you to bad places.  The sat and listened to her talk for an hour, asking bold and honest questions to which she answered.

Pete and his family (a board member)
Teri, who lives under a bridge, is in the bottom right corner.

More guests

A couple of guests and some of the kids who were there to serve.

Tim and one of our guests.
It truly is pure love coming from these guys.

Gathering for prayer before dinner.
There was a big snow storm on this evening.
Dave invited everyone to stay at the house in a warm bed or at least couch if they ran out of beds.
One guy got a little panic stricken and was afraid that Dave wouldn't bring him back.
We assured him that we would.
One couple (friends) who live under a bridge didn't want to come at first because they too thought that maybe they wouldn't be brought back.  But they did come and they chose to stay at the house that night.
It's amazing what happens when you build a bridge of trust.

Servant hearts these guys have.

Some of our guests.
They were all in awe of the beautiful homemade, hand decorated Christmas cookies.
That and the bags the kids gave them were definately the highlight of the evening.
I was in awe of the simple things that made them smile.

When I asked him if he had enough to eat, this is what he did. :)

My daughter Mackenzie.  Her life was changed this night.

One of our guests with my husband, Dave.

The kids eating dinner. 
I truly believe that their hearts are forever changed.

Cleaning up!

Amy, Kelle, Lisa, Me, Shelbie and Jen
Thanks ladies!  We couldn't have done this without you!

I must say that this was the most humbling experience I've ever had.  My life was forever changed and I will never think of Christmas in the same self-centered way that I did before that night.  Well, at least I will try not to.  Next year, we're going to serve even more people. If even for just one night, we will show them the love of Christ.

Psalm 108:6 Save us and help us with your right hand, that those you love may be delivered.

Forever changed I am,

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