....and then the homeless man entered our home
and the smell of spoiled milk filled our hearts.
He came to us recommended by a homeless friend of ours. A carpenter by trade, he'd be able to help us fix Operation Sleep Tight's Shasta Camper.
Our hopes to hit the road in the Shasta came to a quick holt once the walls were taken down. Everything behind the walls disintegrated with a light touch. The bones weren't even bones anymore but more like ashes from an old man's cigar.
And as the rain pours down outside, I can't seem to control my tears.
We have been vocal about Operation Sleep Tight and the great things that have been happening materialistically. We were given a van for free, the camper was a gift, the hitch was a gift, and families are ready to partner with us to hand out supplies.
But my heart has been heavy.
Because ministry is not about the material items that we need, but to make known the ONE who loves us so.
It took tears over the Shasta today to open my eyes to what my heart was already begging me to see.
Operation Sleep Tight is not a handout ministry. It is about developing relationships with our homeless neighbors.
Back in 2011, our son, Josiah, spoke in a church about Operation Sleep Tight. He was 7 years old at the time. When his dad asked him why he wanted to give the homeless a sleeping bag, he whispered into the microphone, "I want them to have hope."
That's what Operation Sleep Tight is about. It is about a man sitting in that crowd listening to our son speak the words of HOPE.
That man is Johnnie. If you have read my blog in the past, you are familiar with him as "J".
Johnnie received a sleeping bag from Josiah that November night back 2011. We didn't see him again until Christmas Evening. My husband saw him sitting on a park bench reading. Through conversation, he found out that Johnnie is an educated man with his master's degree. He fell into some hard times and was currently living on the streets.
Through the past couple of years, Johnnie has joined us for dinner, showered, and done his laundry in our home. He attends church with us and has been studying the Bible with one of our ministers, Rob McRay.
Johnnie was gifted a truck by an old friend of ours back in Joplin.
Johnnie is currently employed.
Johnnie has signed a lease on an apartment.
AND...in September, we stood at the edge of the water and watched Johnnie be baptized.
|Rob, Josiah, Johnnie, & Allen|
Isn't this what it is all about?!
It is about giving the hopeless HOPE.
And now, I sit here at the table while my husband works alongside "J" putting up drywall.
"J" is homeless and resides in a camp not too far from us.
"J" comes recommended by Johnnie because of his carpentry skills.
"J"'s clothes are dirty and have a scent that resemble spoiled milk.
And just like Johnnie, "J" is the reason for Operation Sleep Tight.
So, we'll leave the Shasta sitting outside tonight all broken and torn. But, we will not leave "J" feeling alone and unwanted. I pray he comes to know the One who can take our brokenness and make it beautiful. Who can take our soiled lives and redeem them gloriously. Who desires the aroma of our lives no matter the scent of what follows.
He is God.
The One & Only who can take our deepest pain and turn it into His glorious ministry.