Friday, June 06, 2008

My Friday Lunch

by Keith Giles

Today on my lunch break I ran to the motel in Santa Ana where we have been serving for just over 5 years now. One of the young families there needed some financial assistance and I wanted to encourage them and give them some phone numbers to get connected with the Orange County Rescue Mission's "Strong Beginnings" program.

First I talked with Pete, the motel manager, and I let him know that we were only going to continue to help this family if they took positive steps to get help and escape their situation. Pete had been pretty up front about his opinion of this family, but he agreed with me that they needed some help for a long-term solution. It was a great opportunity to talk to Pete, who is so far not a professing believer in Jesus, about the changes we all need to make when we surrender control of our lives to Christ.

After paying for three days rent on the room to cover this family through Monday, I walked over to let them know what our expectations were for them and to give them the info on the "Strong Beginnings" program.

The young father met me at the door. I could tell he was humbled to receive this assistance. He asked if he could pay it back, and even after I explained that this was a gift, he still wanted to know if I would let him pay it back. I shared with him that I knew it sometimes took more courage to ask for help, and to receive help from others, than it does to go out there and provide your own way. He started to weep as I talked with him and I got to share a bit more about how we wanted to be able to help them in the long run, not just the short run.

We talked a bit more and I ended by praying for him and his family before I left.

On my way to my car I ran into another couple, both about my age, who were walking towards the dumpster and starting to look through it. I called out to them and asked if they would like some free groceries (which I had in the trunk of my car). They responded appreciatively and asked if I was from a Church or something. When I told them that I was a pastor they both got excited and told me that they'd just recently come to live in this motel after the husband had lost his job. They were shocked to discover that some families living in this motel had been there for years. We talked about the problems of homelessness and poverty in Orange County, about God's heart for the poor, and also about our house church and our vision to spend 100% of the offering on the needs of other in our community. They were both very excited about this and we shared a bit more about what it's like to be out of work for months at a time, how hard it is to provide for your family in Orange County, and I got to share a bit of our personal experience being out of work for over a year (twice) and what God taught me about depending on "Daily Bread". They both listened with tears in their eyes and asked if they could come to our church.

I am usually very careful about handing out my home address and phone number to total strangers in the parking lot, but something told me that these people were safe, and that they were my brother and sister in Christ Jesus. So, this Sunday we might have some new visitors to our house church.

Now, it's back to work writing copy for the world's largest technology distributor on the planet.

Isn't God amazing?



TheDHCosbyFam said...

Keith, God is so amazing! Especially if we seize these opportunities that He presents and we're not too busy to stop and listen and/or share (good reminder). This was an encouragement to me today, praising God for using you as an instrument to demonstrate His love without favortism. GOD is so good. In HIM, Heather

Anonymous said...

Nice to see church carried out at the motel and next to the dumpster as opposed to padded pews.

Deacon & Usher were here.....

PS - Open up your other blog to comments outside blogger, please.

TheDHCosbyFam said...

This post brought me to tears, not sure why, just hearing about God touching people in that desperate place. That place we too have been. I suppose it's easy to forget and move on, and I just needed to be reminded of how He touched our own lives. Praise Jesus. -Daniel