Posted by: Darrell Johnson | July 5, 2009

July Newsletter

Dear Family and Friends,

The past month has gone by so fast and all the prayers and support you have shared during my time here at Jeff Street, are much appreciated. It’s been such a blessing to have you all in my life and I pray that all is well. So again THANKS FOR EVERYTHING. And I thank God for all of you!

Growing up in church, I would occasionally hear missionaries speak on Sunday mornings. I recall taking up collections for their ministries and praying over them. Back then I never thought I would be serving in some similar capacity, away from home for an entire summer. In a sense, Louisville has become more and more like home and I don’t even own a house out here. But home isn’t just a roof over your head with a name on a deed or a lease. No, home is more. It’s a community, sharing life and learning to rely on each other and most importantly on the Lord.

For the past month 733 East Jefferson Street, Louisville, KY, has been my home and I’ve learned a great deal about myself and how to better serve others in Jesus’ name. One of the biggest revelations that comes to mind is a pretty simple truth to comprehend, though at times it’s not always easy to act on and that is the sharing of dignity with all people. Everyone should be treated with and shown dignity, whether rich or poor, black or white; the dignity that we find in Christ should be shared with everyone. Self-worth is jeopardized during tough times and the greatest stranger to self-hatred was Jesus Christ. When we share dignity with people we are sharing Christ. And everyday brings about an opportunity to share Christ with all kinds of folks at the day shelter; some that are new and some that are regulars.

Upon arriving here I was overwhelmed with the amount of day shelter guests that would sign in when we opened the doors at 7AM. But now, myself and the other summer HOPE team members have been able to recognize the regulars from the newer guests and in turn come to better build relationships with people. It takes time, patience, and love to invest in people and when the people whom we are called to serve see that we are not here for any hidden agendas, they begin to feel more comfortable opening up to us.

One of the questions that we heard a lot at first was, “Why are you doing this?” It’s a question that I’ll always welcome. Almost three weeks into our time serving at Jeff St. one of our day shelter guests shared something very encouraging with me. We were playing chess and I asked Kenny as to whether or not he wanted to know why I was living and serving at a homeless shelter. He paused, before answering and made his move. Then Kenny looked up at me and said, “You’re here for real……you’re here because of God.” Now I must confess, his answer left me somewhat in awe, after I let sink in, I continued by asking him how he came to that conclusion. He looked up from the chess board, looked at me and smiling he said, “Because that’s what all your friends have already told me.”

The friends that Kenny spoke of were the other HOPE team members. I guess I was the last one of the new crew to speak with Kenny one on one. Whatever the case may be, Kenny’s answer got me thinking. I thought about how God was at work in the day shelter and how He put every one of my teammates here for a reason. We’re all quite different in a lot of ways, but at the same time I couldn’t imagine the summer HOPE team working the way it does without one of the twelve individuals that God placed here. So please keep my friends in your prayers, they are all great folks. Also as you pray to the Lord, lift up the staff and volunteers at Jeff St. and all the work that takes place here. Pray that God will guide us and that we will take time to listen and follow His ways.

Again thanks so much for all your prayers and support

Take care & God Bless,

-Darrell

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