Today was like the other days… busy!
We started out the day by delivering boxes of food (enough food for a month) to those in need. Each of these people has been in contact with the local mission. I love how this mission functions! They require responsibility on the part of each individual. For instance, they tell them when the food is going to be coming, and if they are not there or have not arranged for someone to be there to pick up the food, it is not delivered. The mission is feeding the belly and restoring honor to the individual by giving them opportunity to take responsibility.
This was the highlight of the trip for me.
One story: we delivered food to a lady who is pretty sure she has HIV. She will go for tests this coming week. As we handed her food to her my heart was broken. You could see the fear in her eyes and sense the loneliness in her voice as she talked with us. I wondered, “Who loves this lady? Who will hold her hand or be a shoulder to cry on if these test results come back positive? Who will walk with her through the valley of the shadow of death.”
Poverty is such a terrible thing.
One more story: We were able to meet a lady who, through the ministry of the mission, has been able to move from the street to an apartment… her first real home in over 50 years! She was volunteering at the mission, helping to load cars with food for the hungry. I was overwhelmed!
Pictured below are some of the homeless who are finding dignity through service! One of these men actually slept, on the ground, in front of the mission on Friday night so he could be there to help serve on Saturday!
The two men I delivered boxes with: on the left, our trip leader and all round good guy, Chris Craddock. And on the right, the lead pastor of Grace Point, Devin Hudson.
The lady in the middle is the lady who recently moved into her first apartment. She was a happy lady!
The City Mission of Las Vegas is truly a mission that is making a difference in the lives of those in need!
The next part of our day (after lunch) was spent in the park.
We went to a local park and handed out free ice cream! Well, we didn’t actually give out ice cream, but we did give people an invite to Grace Point Church that was good for a free ice cream cone when they showed it to Mr. Frosty.
The church purchases “X” dollars worth of ice cream from the ice cream man (aka Mr. Frosty). He shows up at the park in his little ice cream truck and when people show up with their Grace Point Church invite card he gives them ice cream… free!
After this we moved back into the surrounding neighborhoods hanging door hangers that invited people to check out Grace Point Church’s Easter services.
A couple pictures:
All of the houses look the same! I know I’ve already mentioned this, but it is incredible to see row after row of houses that look almost exactly alike! Imagine trying to give directions to someone; you could never say, “We’re the white house on the corner of Smith and Appleton.” You’d have to say, “We’re the beige, stucco house located on Smith and Appleton, right between two other beige, stucco houses, across the street from three other beige, stucco houses. You’ll find us… I’ll be standing in the driveway.” 😉
This is a real lawn! Most lawns are rock. A few lawns are astro turf. But there are a few… a few that have take the leap and have real grass in their yard!
This is heaven for a guy who hates landscaping!
I’m going to see if I can talk Sherri into letting me have rocks with a “patch” of grass for our lawn when we move to Cincinnati!
Some random reflections:
- Since starting on Thursday morning, our small missions team has delivered 500 boxes of food; hung 2,000+ door hangers; handed out over 250 coupons for free ice cream; served 15 gallons of coffee, hundreds of free water bottles and ramen noodles to college students; scraped gum off the sidewalk and cleaned windows at the local middle school; served the middle school teachers a special lunch; and sought to encourage the team at Grace Point Church! Job well done team!
- It has been good to serve. Over the last several years, as senior pastor, I have been on the decision making side of things. These last few days I have been carrying out someone else’s decision; decisions I had no “say” in making. It has been refreshing to put feet to pavement on the service side of things.
- Over these last several days, I have made some great friends, laughed a ton, learned about myself, processed how we will market ourselves and serve the community @ Walls Down Church, AND been deeply impacted by the impact of a local church who is engaged in service!