Amy and her husband were new to their church and, quite frankly, new to life as believers as well. But their church had made serving together–as a way of sharing the good news of the gospel–part of the regular rhythms and expressions of their body. Amy, although a bit hesitant, finally just “did it” and signed up her entire family to participate in one of the service opportunities.
This particular time, the church was serving at a local homeless shelter. The church had established a relationship with the shelter, routinely partnering with them to set up and make the beds, cook, and serve dinner. Amy offered to sit at the front “desk” and check in the guests as they entered for the evening.
Amy said afterwards that the entire evening was something she had never, ever experienced before. She admitted that, for some reason, she had often associated homelessness with individuals who were most likely just lazy. But then she looked up from her post at the check-in table and saw a family with two beautiful little children next in line–and another young family right behind them–and in that moment her heart was broken and she saw with new eyes. She described it tearfully, saying that God woke her up. For the first time in her life, she realized how easily she, her husband, and their kids could have been on the other side of the check-in table. Before finally getting his current job, her husband had been out of work for more time than she wanted to remember. Things had gotten really hard for them, and seeing these families standing in front of her, Amy knew how close her own family had come to being in their shoes.
With all this running through her thoughts, Amy smiled brightly and mustered up all the cheer and conversation she could to help them feel welcome and keep their dignity intact. One thing was sure, this one small serving experience had greatly impacted her.
About a month later, while bringing her own kids to school, Amy was shocked to learn that one of her son’s classmates was actually homeless! Amy couldn’t help wondering: Could God have perfectly orchestrated my time at the shelter and awakened my heart because he knew I would meet little Charles? She asked God: Do you want me to enter this situation?
Prompted to take action, Amy got to know the boy’s mother and they became friends. Over time, Amy was instrumental in helping her find a job and a place to live. Eventually, she invited both mom and son to her church.
Who’d have thought? Practicing the art of serving together regularly had not only transformed Amy into a missionary, it also changed another family’s life.