Posted by: Darrell Johnson | August 7, 2009

it’s beyond me.

It’s beyond me, just how fast this summer has flown by. It’s been a great ride (so great that I can’t leave just yet). There’s something special about this place (Jeff St); from those who work/live here to our wonderful guests…oh yes, we have been blessed. But the greatest friend I recognize here everyday is Jesus. I see Him in the faces of those who are weary and tired and are sincere about seeking out the Lord. I see Him in the kitchen handing out toiletries and listening intently to the stories of folks who both frequent our walls or visit on occasion. I see Him showing me an example of patience while sifting through mail after it comes in from the post office, I see Him taking time to make sure if we do or do not have any space for our guests in our storage closet. I see Him at the meal table laughing and engaging in life with us. I see Him comforting us during stressful times, allowing us to rest in His arms and take refuge in His unfathomable love and compassion. Everyday we are blessed with moments to see and acknowledge that Christ is alive and He is working in our lives, so the least that we could do is live our lives for Him.

Yes this place, 733 E. Jefferson St., has seen a few scars and have shared some tears with folks here…but when you sit back and think about it, God is still good and He is still very much at work with this place. From doctors who volunteer, to day shelter guests who step up to help in times of a natural disaster; God is at work. And there’s much more to work on, pray that we don’t choose to grow stagnant in our ministry here at Jeff St. just like we shouldn’t do the same with our own personal walks with the Lord. It should be continually changing, out from the muck and mire that we can situate ourselves in and into the loving arms of the Father who has a far better plan for our lives and this ministry here. I guess that’s why one of our HOPE shirts says “Keep Your Coins…I Want Change”…that makes cents. (ta-he-he-he)

So before the summer term with HOPE comes to a close let me share with you some events/stories/and facts.

STORY # 1
The great FLOOD of  2009:

So yea, maybe you’ve heard of this thing called a flood…it’s found in the Bible, they have to do with water and they can be destructive. But you know what else is found in the Bible??? Examples of patience, peace, service, and love. (or those fruits of the spirit that some radical missionary wrote about back in the day)

The city of Louisville took on 6.5 inches of rain in less than two hour! The shelter found itself flooded with mid-femur high waters within minutes. Now under any other circumstances, I could have seen myself frustrated as all get out and swearing left and right underneath my breath…but for some reason (that reason being God), my eyes were opened to just how special of a day that was. Why was it so special??? Because that Jesus guy who I mentioned earlier in this blog was ever present and it could be seen in the hard work and patience and LOVE provided by all who were involved with that day.

Day shelter guests were assisting us with the removal of the waters, a guy from Ohio who came to get an idea of what the HOPE team does didn’t shy away as well, there wasn’t hardly any sense of frustration, and no complaining. We just came together and improvised, our methods may have not been perfect or ideal but neither are our lives, you know?? But we prayed…and went on our day. Again the patience that was exuded by my fellow Hopies, the staff, residents,  and our guests was truly a gift from God. And also a testament to the quality of the people who I have had the honor and privilege to work alongside with this summer.

We did have some casualties with the flood of 2009. Two of the young ladies on the HOPE team found there cars caked with mud and pretty much ruined/totaled after flood waters had risen up past their car windows. But still the character of those two was never compromised by such an unfortunate event. One of them intends to stay on as a HOPE team member for the next year and that’s just one more example of how God ‘s role in our lives reminds us that He is far more important than things of this world.

Yes, we’ve been blessed with a great team of individuals who are earnestly seeking the Lord and that, my friends, makes all the difference.

STORY #2
The Tile Worker From Up Above (or really down the street)

So every fourth Saturday we are blessed with the services of a local church, that sends out groups of volunteers to help out with certain projects here on site.

The previous fourth Saturday was quite a trip (and by that I mean “neat”), one of my fellow teammates and I were a bit overwhelmed with the idea of laying down new tile in a hallway outside the kitchen. The previous tiling venture, according to my teammate, resulted in a 48 hour clean up that was not pretty. So you could see why my anxiety about said project would be shared. Not to mention that both of us aren’t pros by any means at tiling a floor.

So 8:00 AM rolls around and we’re joined by three wonderful folks from this church who…yup you guessed it…have no experience with tiling a floor. So yea, the day was (to be honest) starting off rather stressful. But we came together, prayed and got everything situated for the project.

It’s definitely a testament to God’s divine intervention when you get a sense of peace after a sincere time of prayer with the Creator of the universe. And I can attest to this; for after we prayed, things just began to click. We had our tile ready, a cooler of water for our volunteers, and a table with the tools they would need all spread out. And oh yea…BUCKETS. Buckets of water with cleaning solution and rags in them so that we may thoroughly scrub the existing tile since we were going to place the new tile over that. (like I said we’re not professionals).

After getting everything and everyone “ready” I went outside to take a quick breather and then I noticed some dude walking around the butt-hut. My first thought was “this must be one of our day shelter guests who doesn’t know the rule about not coming back to the back parking lot of Jeff St.” So I asked him his name and then he turned around and seemed to be a little younger than I had suspected…and then out of left field I asked…”You wouldn’t be here with a church by any chance would you?” To which he answered, YES.

And then it happened…the clouds didn’t open up (maybe they cracked ever so slightly), but I swear for a brief second I could hear angelic melodies in the background (or from up above). Why??? Because after this guy told me his name I noticed the vehicle parked next to our dumpster…yes folks, this guy came in a van. But not any ordinary van, this was a magical van. Filled with magical tools, tools for which I have never seen before in my life. This van was a Korfhage Flooring Company van and the light from the sky hit in such a way (at least in my mind for dramatic effect) that all I could do is look up at the sky and say in whisper, “Thank You.”

Turns out this dude is a co-owner of this flooring company and he has been doing this for over 13 years. In other words, he knew what he was doing. And he took care of business, on his own, in less than five hours. The result was a high quality/ professionally grade job and by the way it was all donated; the materials, the labor, free.

I approached my HOPE brother ecstatically and said, you know what I prayed about this day last night. He then shared with me the same thing and then he said something to the extent of…”If ever an angel came in the form of a tile worker, today would be the day.” And it was a great day of service; we were able to direct the three other volunteers, who by the way were completely unaware of the tile angel’s intention to show up, to other projects. This story is a fine example of how the Lord provides and I have faith that He will continue to do so. I know there may be times when that faith will be dry and tested but when it’s all said and done, to quote Rich Mullins “surely God is with us.”

STORY # 3
All In A Day’s Work (for the Lord)

There’s a lot that takes place here at Jeff St. Sometimes our days can be peaceful other days can be stressful, but it’s all in how we handle such stress that helps to better define us as believers in Jesus.

One day imparticular, I was just bombarded with questions from people left and right and I was worried about some things outside of HOPE and things were just going awray. I couldn’t help but notice that some of my fellow HOPE teammates were stressing out a bit as well. So I went to the front of our building to pray. And as I sat in silence I realized that I was surrounded by the Lord’s work taking place. To my left was a women’s bible study, where the young ladies were giving pedicures and to right was a bible study being led by Jeff St.’s director. And right below me, people were walking in and out of our day shelter…checking mail, taking showers, washing clothes, and just getting by for another day; those folks were also being served by willing servants who have been prompted by their faith in Jesus to be witnesses on His behalf by both word and deed.

All I could do was sit there, in silence, and count my blessings. And pray for Jeff St. This place has taken some bold steps to promote the gospel in this community and they have paid a worldly price to do so. But I feel in my heart that if we’re sincere in our walks with Him & work here and adhere to His word and put trust that He will provide then we’ll be taken care of. After all, His will…will be done.

In ministry, frustrating times come with the territory and sin (Satan) will always try to find ways to seep in and disrupt a good thing. And again, the Jefferson Street Baptist Center in indeed that…a good thing. Why??? Because it’s motivation isn’t headlines nor is it any narcissistic trip…no why we do what we do is beyond you and it’s beyond me. It’s because of the blood of Jesus wich has set us ALL free.

OH LORD, guide us all.
-Amen.

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