Two homeless men, Richard and George, enjoy a spaghetti dinner at the Love In Action Ministry Center.
A friend met two homeless men in Dothan, Ala., Monday night. She told them to go to the Love In Action Ministry Center the next night for Celebrate Recovery. There, they could get a good meal and pick up some supplies to help them.
My friend, Emily, is the director of our Celebrate Recovery. She knew these men would experience the love of Christ and receive the help they needed at the LIA Ministry Center.
They came and they enjoyed the night. They couldn't get enough of Diana's spaghetti with meatballs. They enjoyed the music and the preaching too. And, we were able to help them with some supplies.
They are transient homeless men from Spokane, Wash., and they are trying to get back home, and we are trying to help them get back home. One of them, Richard, is experiencing some health problems and he said he has a doctor in Spokane. The other one, George, is worried about his friend.
They spent the night in the LIA bus, which isn't up and running yet. But, it was a good place for them to get out of the cool night air. The temps were in the mid 40s, and that's cold, especially when considering most of us sleep in houses with our heat and cooling units set between 65-70 and higher.
I told them we would work on getting money for their bus tickets, and if they would come back tonight I should have a better idea on what we can do. We prayed before we left last night, and it brought Richard to tears. He said he knows God is on his side and will take care of him. He's worried, but at the same time he is trusting God to take care of him.
We did everything we could do for them, but it still hurts to see people living that way. I know most of the time we make the beds we sleep in so to speak. But so many of the homeless, especially those like Richard and George who have been homeless for years, they constantly get beaten down by society. If a person is told enough that he or she is a loser and a nobody, they start to believe it. In fact, during an outreach at a skidrow hotel in Los Angeles about seven years ago, we saw a young woman with the word "Nobody" tattooed on the back of her neck. That's who she thought she was, a nobody.
After last night, Richard and George know there are some people in Dothan, Ala., who care about them, and they saw God's love in action last night. They will again tonight. That's what happens at the LIA Ministry Center. Every volunteer hugs and genuinely shows they care and love every person who walks through the doors. People always say they feel loved there, and that's what we want to happen. God is love, so we should reflect our Heavenly Father in our lives.
After we left Richard and George sitting outside of the bus last night, Martha and I went to a homeless camp where three men live. We took them a large amount of spaghetti, salad and bread. Diana is a wonderful woman who cooks every week for Celebrate Recovery. She loves serving the men and women who attend. And, she is an incredible cook with a heart as big as the size of the meals she prepares every week. We have 80-plus people attend each week.
We had a lot of spaghetti noodles left last night, but no more sauce. She said if I could go next door to the Piggly Wiggly and buy a couple of bottles of sauce, she would prepare the rest of the spaghetti for our homeless friends. She did, and they were so thankful. It was 10:15 p.m. before we made it to their camp, but that was fine with them. When you don't know where your next meal is coming from, you are thankful to receive food any time during the day or night.
It's hard not to cry after loving on the homeless. I don't fight back the tears, and neither does Martha. Our hearts go out to them, and we thank God for giving us a ministry that helps them. And, we thank God for all of the volunteers with the same kind of heart for the homeless and poor, the broken and the hurting.
We often shed tears, but we also smile. The smiles come when we see the homeless accept God's love. When that sparkle of hope twinkles in their eyes. The hope that there is a God who loves them, and there really are people who care what happens to them.