This weekend was incredible! It started Friday morning at Ladies Thrive; we got to celebrate what Jesus is doing in the lives of these women and we got to celebrate Miss Gertrude's 87th birthday. We met Miss Gertrude a little over a year ago while we were doing outreach on 39th Street. When we knocked on her door, she not only accepted the groceries we were handing out but she opened her home and her heart to us. She has been an active member of Ladies Thrive almost from the beginning. Every week she shows up with a smile, an encouraging word and a heart of gratitude. No matter what the other ladies are facing, Miss Gertrude's answer is always the same: "God's gonna bring ya through, baby...you just hang onto Him".
After the women had finished their groups they enjoyed another great meal prepared by the Cooking for Christ team; meatloaf, scalloped potatoes, green beans, fresh rolls and apple crunch dessert. You have to provide your own lipitor, but a fine meal none the less. Then the ladies lined up for their opportunity to shop for their new clothes at the boutique...mostly organized chaos.
One of the things that continually amazes me is the depth of gratitude expressed by the homeless men that attend our Friday outreach. They can't wait to help us; they move furniture, pick up trash, sweep hallways...and they love it. They get clean clothes from the boutique, and they are genuinely thankful. They don't just find a hot meal and a pair of pants; they find purpose. It's amazing to watch.
By Friday night the Winbourne Dream Center had a completely different flow. HPC's Student Ministries team had their leadership retreat so we got to host a slumber party for about 50 of our young leaders. (I use the term 'slumber' lightly, as there was very little sleeping tht actually occurred.) I walked into the Fellowship hall Friday night about 10:30pm and caught the tale end of Pastor Mike's message. Then I got to join them for an incredible time of worship...2 1/2 hours of young people crying out to God, praying for each other, some dancing, some facedown on the floor. I think it made God smile. Again, simply amazing.
Saturday morning we did our regular outreach at Roselawn: preparing groceries, taking them to the streets and going door-to-door to remind God's people how much He loves them. We had a small crew but we still got to watch God move. I love that He doesn't care about the numbers...just about our hearts. Praise God. After that I went back across to Winbourne in time to catch their outreach; delivering food to hungry people living in appalling conditions. We gave them juice, pretzels and some hot meals (thanks to the good people at Chik-fil-a).
There were a number of people at the retreat that I've never served with before. After watching them on Saturday I am very encouraged about our future leaders: sold-out to God, desperate for His presence and willing to walk where Jesus sends us. How cool is that?
To top off this incredible weekend, we celebrated HPC's 15th birthday Sunday evening at Vision Night. I'm still processing the message Pastor Dino gave...hopefully I'll blog about that further when I get my head around it.
So the word for today: amazing. Amazing people, amazing outreaches, amazing worship, amazing message, amazing God. I am continually amazed that God allows me to be a part of this. All glory to Him!