Posted by: Kerry Spencer | October 10, 2008

Kerry’s October newsletter (about September)

October 2008

 

Greetings Friends and Family! 

 

This being the inaugural monthly newsletter, let me first fill you in on what Ive been doing and will be doing throughout my time at Jeff. St.  To begin with, we (the HOPE team – Matt, Lindsey, and I) serve the homeless five days a week in the Day Shelter.  The tasks are fairly mundane for us, but they are so helpful for those in need.  Some of our duties include:

 

  • Checking mail for the 1,200+ homeless folks who use our address who may have no other address to call their own. 
  • Giving soap, shampoo, detergent, etc. for folks to use our facilities to wash themselves and their clothes who may have no other place to get clean. 
  • Helping people to store bags that they may otherwise have to lug all around town.
  • Serving breakfast daily and lunch most days to folks who may truly be hungry.

 

To simply be able to help these people with these basic, yet important services is a blessing.  But to be able to learn about their stories (often involving broken relationships, lost jobs, prison stays, addictions, etc.) is an even greater honor.  In these moments, we can go beyond the physical and minister to the spirit and soul by sharing the Gospel, praying for them, or simply lending a listening ear.

 

Aside from 30-some hours per week of service in the day shelter, we also stay busy with church activities, HOPE team gatherings, and intentional hours of relationship building with our residents (Wednesdays focus).

 

Ironically, one of the most memorable interactions Ive had with the homeless thus far didnt even occur at Jeff. St.  It was early one Sunday morning, and I was working in the Day Shelter as usual.  I took a call from a gal from the church community that I’m a part of here, Sojourn Community Church.  She informed me that I didnt know her but that my director recommended my teammate Matt or me to accompany her as she picked up a new homeless friend to take him to church.  I, of course, couldnt turn down that invitation so we met up and then found her new friend at the McDonalds, just as theyd agreed.  He seemed a bit surprised and disappointed that she actually followed through with her offer.  But being a man of his word, he went with us.  We had a wonderful worship experience and heard some fitting exhortations from the scriptures (Romans 12:9-16).  After the service, all it took was my asking, What did you think? for our new friend to begin pouring out his heart to us.  In summary, his heart and life are broken, in serious need of the Lords healing touch.  We mostly listened but also tried to console and counsel.  As we left church, about an hour after almost everyone else, our new friend was hopeful and upbeat.  I was amazed at how the Lord had used us to minister to this stranger turned friend.

 

The first book we are reading for our HOPE program curriculum is Under the Overpass by Mike Yankoski.  Its the story of a young Christian guy who wanted to see if he could truly live out the saying, All I need is Jesus.  So he decided to give up his career, belongings, and relationships to be homeless for six months.  Unfortunately, his radical experiment led him to the conclusion that the vast majority of church people are not interested in even acknowledging, much less helping the homeless.  One of his reflections in the book reads, If we are the body of Christand Christ came not for the healthy but the sickwe need to be fully present in the places where people are most broken.  Doesnt this make sense?  If we are truly followers of Christ, wont we follow him to minister among the poor, the captives, the blind, the oppressed for whom He says He came to minister (Luke 4:18)?  For much of my life I’ve been guilty of avoiding the broken and sick.  But now I feel strongly that the Lord has led me to such people here at Jeff. St.  Daily I thank God for the blessing of being able to be a part of this ministry.  I pray that the Lord will give me a burden for the least of these (Matt. 25:40) for the rest of my life.

 

I thank you all so much for your support of this ministry in various ways, especially though your prayers and financial gifts. 

 

Some prayer requests:

  • Boldness and intentionality in my conversations with our residents and guests.
  • Wisdom in conversations: knowing what to say and how to say it.
  • Please pray for my new, broken friend, who I mentioned above.

 

Im off to a good start in raising the $600 per month, but Im still a long way off for the total needed for the year.  Id appreciate you prayerfully considering how you might continue to support our ministry here at Jeff. St.  Until next time, take care and God bless!

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Responses

  1. <>

    Wow, that’s a prayer I can imitate.

  2. “I pray that the Lord will give me a burden for “the least of these” (Matt. 25:40) for the rest of my life.”

    Wow, that’s a prayer I can imitate.


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