Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Dirty Diapers And Outreach

I am convinced that the greatest service of all is the 'mundane yucky.' Let me explain. At first, all outreach and service to your neighbor is fun. We plan big, pray hard, sweat much and sacrificially give. And we do it all with great joy. We take pictures and chat it up, Facebook it, blog about it and brag about it to our friends. And even tho it is hard and we had to sacrifice we don't even feel it. "Sacrifice? Nah, that wasn't sacrifice." It's kinda like when you brought your first baby home from the hospital. Everything was new and even tho you had to shift your life a bunch, it wasn't a burden. Why? Cause of the baby of course. We love our baby and will do whatever it takes. But about that three hundredth dirty diaper.... you know the one. You pick up the little stinky britches and say, "Pew, yep hon she's dirty, it your turn!" THAT diaper is where a different kind of service begins, a service that comes from a different place and right there is where the gospel comes in.

You remember Jesus, when that great last supper was finishing took a towel and washed his disciples feet? He told them "since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other's feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master." Jesus is King of Kings and the Lord of Lords and yet he has finally and daily continues to change the dirty diapers of our lives, living AWAYS to make intercession for us according to God's will, to lead us and guide us in the path's of righteousness, to provide for us every good thing. And he tells us to follow His example. Not so that we can earn brownie points because we can't and don't but because... simply, the diaper needs changing. And he encourages us not to get tired of doing good. Why? Because in due time... they'll be potty trained.

Until then, roll up your sleeves and do the work of the master...the 'mundane yucky."


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

It's worth the wait...

There's an old saying, "We didn't get here overnight and we ain't gonna fix it overnight." If an outreach ministry is to be successful you have to be patient. You have to be willing to suffer many setbacks and defeats, but it's worth the wait.

Our city doesn't have a homeless shelter, or a children's shelter or a women's abuse shelter. It's not that we don't want one or that we are cold-hearted, it's just that our city is too small to support one. YES, there is homelessness and abuse but not enough to support a full-time home. We at Crosswind see homelessness almost every week. Some weeks more than others. So how do you solve the problem?

1) We've tried putting people up in motels until they get situated. Usually that takes a couple weeks or more. It costs $800/mo. to put people in a motel ($200/wk) so that gets real expensive real quick especially because you are usually dealing with more than one family.

2) We've tried partnering with the other great ministries in town. But we can usually only afford a night or two each and so pretty quick they are back on the street anyway.

3) We've driven people to Tupelo or Jackson or Savannah where there are shelters. But many people don't want to be that far away, especially when they are trying to get set up here.

4) We even have tried to make people comfortable in their cars. We've brought blankets and got food that doesn't have to be heated etc. And we've provided showers and clean clothes. We've had some people live that way for a month or two. But eventually that doesn't work either.

5) The most desperate attempt was when we dropped off a guy at an abandoned house he knew of. It was his favorite because it had less human feces than the rest of them. I must tell you that was a long ride home that night.

And all the while we kept knocking and seeking and asking to see if there was a better way, a plan that would work better. And then some of our apartment owners in town offered us an apartment. And then another. And we began putting homeless people up. We just got offered six, count 'em... SIX apartments to put people up who are transitioning from homelessness to health! This donation has allowed Crosswind to establish our F.A.I.T.H. Program (Family And Individual Transition Housing).

We still need to pay utilities (about $600/mo. in low use months) and furnish them (two almost completed) but little by little with many tests and trials and suffering with those who are in trouble, God has allowed us a way to help. I think all the time we spent on this problem the last three years has really seasoned us to understand the problem and know how better to help people.

There was so much to learn along the way. The most important thing we learned was this, "Do not become weary in doing good." (2 Thess 3:13) Or maybe this from Matt 7:8 "For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened."

Thank you Lord and thank you kind ones who have opened your hearts and your hands to the poor. Prov 14:21 says "But he who has mercy on the poor, happy is he." God Bless You! It was worth the wait.


PS If you would like to give money to help pay utilities or to help furnish these homes please click on this link. Thank you.