As we travel Holy Week, and remember the Passion of Christ, and Christ carrying the Cross to Calvary, we call to mind our own crosses, and how we carry those each day. We are reminded of those people that we help every day to carry their crosses.
Each day at Hospitality House, we try to help our guests with their crosses to get them to a life of sustainability...a life where the cross isn’t so heavy.
As with each one of us, that cross is not easy to carry...our personal road is full of twists and turns...never a straight path...sometimes very rocky and hard to travel...there are sometimes mountains to climb, hurdles to jump…
Our volunteers are here every day to help navigate that path called LIFE.
We are reminded of the struggles that our guests face every day….life is very fragile...we see the crosses of broken family ties, no jobs, substance abuse addiction, no jobs, mental health issues... the crosses in their lives become too heavy. God reaches out and takes their hands, and leads them home..The Easter message...the message of LOVE and SALVATION for all… This is the story of the suffering, death, and RESURRECTION of the Risen Christ.
On the Wings of An Angel....
Someone donated some pendants to be given to our guests for Christmas...some were crosses and some were angel wings.
We let our guests choose which they would like.
Yesterday morning, one guest arrived. He normally is VERY quiet...doesn't talk...and really prefers not be making any connection.
Yesterday morning...he walked in smiling...we have NEVER seen him smile. I asked, "How are you today?"...totally expecting a grunt of some sort.
Nope...I got another smile...and he wanted to share his happiness. He had a court date yesterday morning and the case was dropped. He was beyond HAPPY!
He can now proceed with getting an apartment. He will not have an eviction on his record...he can get into the place he wants to live...he does have a monthly income.
He looked me in the eye...held up his pendant of angel wings in his fingers and said...'THis is what did it for me today. This is what brought me a good outcome. I had an angel with me. I was blessed with this."
THen, having been needing a belt (a small thing to most of us, right???)...I had asked on facebook the day before for a belt if someone could help out. Yep....in walked a group of belts...two were perfect in his size.
He smiled, and said..."My angel wings are really working..."
Yes...he did have an angel...we have a Village of Angels here at Hospitality House in the donors and volunteers.
Thank you...all for being the angels in disguise...the Village.
No one comes into our lives by accident...I am a firm believer in God being the Master planner. This is long...but worth the read!
Seven years ago, a guest came to Hospitality House. He had been living outside in the dog park in Cedar Falls during the winter for several months. On Sunday, he would go to TWO church services...not only food for the soul, but definitely warmed the body with the hot chocolate and cappuccino that they had to offer. At one of the churches a man offered to take him to lunch one Sunday, not knowing that he was homeless. Our guest never told him he was homeless...not knowing what the reaction would be toward him.
Our guest stayed here at Hospitality House for a couple months, sleeping in the basement on a cot when his time at the overnight shelters expired. He had gotten a third shift job and was saving his money for an apartment.
When he was moving, he cleaned out his backpack, and found THE pair of sox that he had when he arrived here. The one and only pair of sox. They were tattered, torn, worn and thin. Almost shreds. He was going to throw those sox away. NOT SO MUCH!! Those sox say a thousand words about the life of a homeless person., THey now are proudly displayed in a shadow box on the dining room serving table. A reminder to everyone about the hardships of homelessness.
Recently, Candeo Church was serving a meal here. I started to tell the "sox story"...and one of the men serving spoke up, and said..." I remember this man. He was coming to church alone each week, and I just felt a push from God to approach him and offer to take him to lunch. " He even remembered the homeless person's name after all these years passed. I was able to tell the Candeo server that our guest had talked many times about the kindness of someone taking him to lunch...that was a gesture that touched his heart and life forever.
I was able to give this person a copy of the picture of the sox.
We never know how a small kindness on our part will touch the life of someone forever.....I know that God put this person in place to serve last night here.
Emmanuel ...The Promised One.
The Promised One will soon be born again this Christmas.
The Promised One will be born again as a homeless babe in a manger in a stable because there was no room at the Inn.
Yes, Jesus Christ..The King..The Promised One..The Lord and Savior of the World...was born homeless to Mary and Joseph on that cold winter night over 2000 years ago.
No room at the Inn…..how many times do our people in our city and in our country...the land of plenty and the land of opportunity hear those very sad words...Sorry..there is no room at the shelter tonight.
You have used up your time here... we are not giving you an extension.
If we believe those words that Jesus taught us…”Whatsoever you do for the least of my brothers that you do for me…” how can we turn our backs and our hearts on those in the homeless situation? How can we in good conscience, if there are beds and space available, say that there is no room at the Inn tonight?
Each and every person, rich and poor, is created in the image of our God.
As we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ, the King of Kings, let us keep in mind He is the reason for the season…He is HOPE. He is LOVE.
Each day, we at the Hospitality House try to be hope for the hopeless...to provide love to those that are shunned.
We are called by Christ to be that love to all…
We must not say “Sorry...there is no room at the Inn.” Instead, we must say.. ’Please come in..we have prepared the way.”
Bloom where you are planted! We've all heard those words. Ever think about it in relationship to someone in a homeless situation? Sometimes, we have trouble blooming...with lots of care and nuturing from our enviornment and our friends who are there to help and guide us. Put yourself in a situation where you either are staying outside or staying in an emergency homeless shelter...new to the area, broken family, maybe just out of the correctional system, maybe facing an addiction and trying to overcome it, jobless...and you are trying to "bloom".
Not an easy task. That's what we try to help with at Hospitality House...we try to be the care and nuturing, the fertilizer if you will, trying to replace the rocky soil with firm, new soil... that helps our guests to bloom again...both emotionally and sustainably...to grow, to become self-sufficient.