A couple of weeks go my friend Jennifer and I met up with another friend of ours in St. Louis Missouri. Her name is Tamara. Once a month Tamara and her boyfriend, Jeff, head up something they call a Be Good To Each Other Drive.
They put a call out on facebook for donations and friends to help and they take sandwiches and snacks and personal hygiene items and pass them out to the homeless or needy people in downtown St. Louis. Jennifer and I were fortunate enough to be able to go with them the weekend we came to visit.
I'm writing about this because first of all I am proud to be friends with people who can love and respect people in need and second of all because it really touched my heart.
It was raining the morning we went into St. Louis. The good thing about that is that when it rains Tamara and Jeff know that the homeless people head into the library. We came across a few people just walking around and then headed to the library. Once you show up passing out bags of goods, word spreads like wild fire. More and more people started pouring out of the library. While in front of the library, a woman came up to me and I handed her a bag and she said thank you. Then she proceeded to tell me that her name was Jessica, and she asked me to pray with her. I just want to remind you that we were not with a church and not passing out any thing with religious connotations on it. I don't know why she asked me to pray with her, but to me it really just felt like one of those God moments.
I don't know about you, but I don't pray out loud with strangers very often. But I do know that when she asked I did not even consider being shy or unsure about it. I am very sure that the Holy Spirit took over and gave me the courage and the words to say. I don't even know exactly what I said, but I know I prayed for comfort, provision and peace, and that she would feel the Lords presence with her. What was super awesome was to my surprise, once I finished, she prayed too. It was awesome because she prayed with such conviction and belief, it was obvious that she has spent time crying out to God. I'm not saying that I thought that because she was homeless that she must not pray, it just caught me off guard. Jessica was scared and was praying, pleading boldly, expectantly, for a shield of protection.
After we prayed, she apologized for smelling like alcohol and then told me about another homeless woman that she knew that was just killed a few days earlier. The woman had been raped, strangled and was found dead and naked in the street. My heart just broke for Jessica and the woman who was murdered. I cannot imagine an hour in either of their shoes. Jessica was scared, and rightfully so.
I can't forget about her, and truthfully I don't want to. That day plays through my mind all of the time. I don't remember as often the fun that we had in the city. Most often I remember Jessica and how scared she was. I think of all of the scared homeless people throughout the world and its heart wrenching. My prayer is that The Lord continues to break my heart and provide me with opportunity to share his love and comfort, hope and resources with as many people as possible.
I am so thankful to know that at least once a month there are people showing love and respect to complete strangers in St. Louis, with no agenda or personal gain. That Saturday we passed out 88 lunches. Also, the more often they go, the less strangers they meet, and the more friends they will make.
Matthew 25:34-40 says
34 “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.35 For I was hungry, and you gave Mesomething to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and youvisited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give Yousomething to drink? 38 And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39 When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’
Love in St.Louis