This MONTH has been such a wonderful, crazy, tragic, yet beautiful mess!!! Our family has experienced the wonderful mountaintops where our friends are coming to know Jesus and His work has been so evident, mighty, and exciting. But we have also experienced the spiritual valleys filled with warfare from the enemy as well. Since so many people have been asking what our ministry is all about and how it looks day to day I thought I would give a little snapshot of the way our lives look here in Countryside. So this is what some of our ministry looked like this month…..
Our across the street neighbor’s car was robbed. She is an older lady that lives alone and has some disabilities as well. The thieves took her pocketbook with all the documents and her food stamps and everything she needed to survive the month. They also took her heart medication and insulin, which she could not afford to replace. Here is the beautiful thing about that. I met this neighbor for the first time not long after we moved in. God had already placed her on my heart as a person he wanted me to reach out to. I had been praying for her for months. Because of this incident, she reached out to me!! God used this terrible moment of need to help me in forming a relationship with her! After weeks of sitting with her in lines at food pantry’s or driving her to the DMV and helping her get her license replaced, we now have a friendship that God has formed so that I can speak His words into her heart almost daily!! God has also helped show my neighbor the love of His people. One local church was able to stock her cabinets from their food pantry. Still others of my friends filled her fridge with milk and eggs and other fresh items to get her through this tough month. One friend is even trying to help with her medication needs as well. Praise the Lord!!!
Jason has been continuing to work on his relationships with the men here in our neighborhood as well. In the afternoons at Homework Helpers, he is playing basketball with some of the older guys from Countryside. When they pick teams they call him and Grant “the teachers” LOL!! But the cool thing about that is they recognize there is something different with them. Something that they have not seen very often in many of their lifetimes, something that they want to learn! God is truly teaching the both of us that these seemingly endless and meaningless ways that we work with the people here are so much more than what they seem. These are the ways that GOD BEGINS a work on the hearts of our friends. First, they have to come to know us and by doing so will hopefully come to know some parts of HIM!!! It is a beautiful lesson for all areas of our lives. For the relationships at home, at work and at church. Are the people that we come into contact with daily being pointed to HIM???
When I told you that sometimes these tasks seem endless I meant it. At one point this month, I just had to stop for a few days and refocus (not to mention seek lots of prayers from our team). Ministry is every moment of every day here. It is 11:30 at night with a knock on the door followed by sitting for hours at an office the next morning. It is helping my girls do their schoolwork on a picnic table at the food pantry because there is a need that MUST be met. Our everyday lives did not stop when we moved here. WE still play sports and homeschool and go to church all in between Easter egg hunts and prayer walks and homework helpers and sometimes it is all just exhausting… But then a day like Wednesday happens!!!!
The thought of this day brings me to tears all over again. I was tired, frustrated and maybe even questioning AGAIN…. because I am dumb like that (just a sheep as Grant likes to say). Maybe I was even questioning if I was really supposed to be here. Then our friend Keyri comes over! Keyri is one of my girls very best friends! And on this day that I was wasting away in doubt and complaining, Keyri was going to get baptized. We were getting ready to head to the church when Keyri said “Mrs. Nancy, I forgot my towel” in a total state of panic. I go to the bathroom to get Keyri a towel and I have to stop. My heart becomes overwhelmed and there I stand crying in my bathroom holding a towel that this sweet child of God will use in a few hours at her BAPTISM. This moment had been in the works of an almighty God for years and I had the PRIVELIGE of being a small part of that. Just a gentle reminder to me from my father that I am EXACTLY where he wants me to be. After all, if I was not here……..Keyri would not have a towel!!!!
Please pray for us and know that although there are difficult times, God is working here. We see it when our neighbors begin to ask us hard questions about who God is or when they come and ask us just to pray for them. We see it when youth groups show up to help and play with the children and walk around and PRAY MIGHTILY for us and for this neighborhood. We even see the change in the graffiti on the basketball court when we walk up and find We love Him because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19 written all over it (the verse we are currently teaching our homework buddies). You can feel literally FEEL the Holy Spirit here! God is patiently drawing our neighbors closer to him and drawing His church to our neighbors as well.