Tuesdays are the odd mission day in the office. No ‘local mission’ folks around…it’s just me…global girl. The mission geek with even weirder ideas.
However, when people are calling into Grace Place for emergency relief in the form of food, clothing or utilities…they don’t care what I do…they just know I’m the voice they get on the phone. Technically, Tuesdays are not Grace Place days, but it’s really hard telling someone who has trouble getting rides to come up here that today is not the day.
Really, they just want to be heard. And when someone needs to be heard it doesn’t matter if I am planning a Family or Haiti mission trip. So my ears open. My heart constricts. And I hope that Jesus comes through the cracks of my imperfections.
Today found me in the parking lot talking with a woman about the expensive things that food stamps do not purchase while loading her groceries from Grace Place. Toiletries, laundry & dishwashing detergent, paper towels, toilet paper…could you image not having toilet paper in your home because you don’t have money to purchase it? Or not being able to grab a paper towel in the kitchen? Try it for a week. I bet most of us would cave before a week was out.
The folks that are getting groceries from the WCC food pantry are forced to make hard choices about their money, and most of us have no idea what that is really like.
As I was waving goodbye to her, one of the women I’ve been able to get to know over the last two years was walking in to pick up groceries. It was an amazing blessing to yell her name, and greet her in the parking lot with a huge hug. She is a beautiful woman with 6 kids, who has had the WORST luck in the world over the last several years. I won’t go into detail, just know that every time I talk with her I am burdened to pray for her family. As well as the times that God just brings them to mind randomly.
I cherish the time I am able to be a friend to her, because that is how God asks us to work towards his Kingdom. To listen. To talk. To encourage. And most of all…to make her feel like the God she believes in is still active and alive in her life.
As we were talking today, she said, ‘Is there any voucher or coupon you all have for meat? We haven’t had any in weeks.’
By the grace of God and his inevitable timing, someone had donated a gift card to Hy-Vee and I was able to pass it on with a ‘Go buy some meat, friend,’ while hugging her goodbye.
The mission department is an extension of the church that exists because the hearts of the congregation are overflowing with gratitude and love for their Christ. It’s an honor to be used by God for the hugs, and encouragement that go along with it.