Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A Day of Presence

      This is the first of hopefully many posts wherein we begin to tell individual stories of the lives that we have encountered and continue to encounter through our ministry work here in Colorado Springs. For this initial post, I though I would describe what a typical day of ministry work is like for our family. I do want to say that we are not telling these stories as a way of bragging about the things that we do, but we want our followers to get to know our work, the people we work with, and the lives that are impacted. Anyway, here we go.

Wake up and begin getting ready to go to Antler's Park for More-Than-A-Meal. Big D, our six year old, is awake and already dressed, so I invite him along and he helps me load some things on the motorcycle for the morning. Karen normally likes to come along to the Park on Saturdays, but we had a big gathering at our house last night and we had guests until well after 10, so Karen and the other kids stay home to recover.

Arrive at Antlers park, drop off a few clothing items with the Rocky Mountain Homeless Mission. Normally I help them set up, but today they are already set up and handing out clothes. Instead, I help carry grills and tables for the More-Than-A-Meal crew. The normal sound guy did not come morning, so I also help set up the sound system and begin playing music for the gathering crowd. Big D is playing bean bag toss with a couple of the kids that have come with their families to get food. The van from this weeks sponsor church arrives with the food for the meal, and we unload the food and while some of the helpers are working to prepare the meal.

I am "walking the line" or going along the line of people waiting for plates of food and talking. This is one of my favorite times of the morning. I get to see some old friends, people we have been working with for several years, David, Rick, Margaret, I get updates on where they are staying, what they need, and their physical and even spiritual health. I meet new people, learn a little of their stories, where they are from, how they got here, things like that. Today, my reputation for being able to find things has caught up to me, and I get introduced to a woman in her mid sixties who is looking for an RV she can buy. She spent the last winter living in her car, and it was very hard on her. She has some social security income, and so I get the details on what she is looking for and what she can afford and promise to search for something that meets her needs.

Everyone has had a chance to eat, and things are beginning to wrap up, As I am walking through the groups eating on the grass and collecting trash, a man approaches and informs me he cannot feel his hands or feet. Upon inspection, his hands, elbows, knees and feet are visibly swollen and discolored. The man said he was bitten by something in his tent a few days ago and believes this is the cause. I dial 911 and request an ambulance and wait with Arlie until the paramedics arrive. The decision is made to transport him to the hospital and so I help Arlie get all his property and his bicycle to friends to take care of them pray with him briefly as he is taken to the ambulance.

Bid D and I enjoy a short motorcycle ride on our way home to pick up Karen.

Change vehicles from motorcycle to Suburban and picked up Karen. Heading to a Juggalo commune about thirty miles outside of the city to pick up a young lady. We have been working with her since she ran away from an abusive home at 15, and now, her latest living situation has become unsafe after she broke up with her boyfriend. We affectionately call this one our "street daughter" as we have been a big part of her growing up and have a lot of hopes for her.

The back of the Suburban is completely full of our "street daughter's" things and she is saying her goodbyes to a few friends. Back on the road to the homestead to unload her things and find a place in an already crowded house for one more person to sleep for a few nights.

Back home and unloading the suburban. Karen has about a half a dozen loads of laundry to wash and we find a corner of our basement for our "street daughter's" things. Once she has been settled in, I spend some time working with the kids to clean up the tables and chairs in the back yard from our gathering on Friday night.

Get a break from yard work due to light rain and decide to take a short nap before Biker's Church. Long night and long morning combine to put me to sleep in minutes.

Karen wakes me up and we are now running late to get to Biker's Church in time to run sound for band.Kids are hurried into shoes and jackets and everyone is once again piled into the Suburban and on our way north to Biker's Church.

Compiling songs, setting up power slides and YouTube videos for music, and setting up the sound board for our singer. Once sound is taken care of for the night, I make sure to spend a few minutes greeting the biker church regulars as well as introducing myself to a few first time visitors. by the time I get a cup of coffee, its time to go sit in the sound booth and run sound for the service.

Service is over, Pastor Jayme preaches a great sermon on God pruning our lives and trust. Only a few minor problems with the computer restarting in the middle of the service and a song being out of order, but not a bad night. As we are cleaning up, Pastor Jayme introduces me to a couple who are visiting and who are looking for some help from the Church. The father lost his job, and after fighting for a while, they ended up letting their house go back to the bank and moving into a hotel. The father had found a job, but was still a week from payday and they had run out of money and things to pawn. Karen and I made a list of places where they might find help and they had already tried all of our suggestions without success. They were only about 12 hours from being evicted from the hotel with their two children and were literally out of options. We asked what hotel and what room they were in and asked them if they needed any food from the church pantry, but they politely declined saying they had food, and left.

Family is piled back in the Suburban and we are at the front desk of the Sun Springs hotel paying for one week. We stop by the hotel room and let our kids meet their kids and invite them to come to Restoring Hope in the morning as well as inviting them back to Biker's Church the following week. The older boy is very excited about coming and getting to meet all the bikers because "bikers are cool". Since we are in the neighborhood, we stop by the home of one of our Biker's Church family who was not at church tonight to make sure he is doing okay.

Finally home and kids are off to bed, have to get up in the morning for Sunday school with our friends at Fellowship Bible Church. Pajamas on, teeth brushed, and prayers said and everyone off to rest so we can take on the next day full of challenges and opportunities.

Not every day is like this, some are less busy and have more time for rest, while others provide no time at all to even take a short break. Some days are full of service to others, while others are spent at work or caring for our home so we can continue to use it as a place of ministry. Some days we see great spiritual victories, and some days it seems like all we do is meet physical needs. The one thing that is consistent, however, is that each and every day brings plenty of opportunities to serve and demonstrate love to others in the name of Christ, no matter what we are doing.


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