“Free food from the church!” we yell as we rap on the window of each motel room.
A curtain moves.
I hear the sound of a lock chain sliding.
The door creaks open and a face peers out at me.
“Would you like something to eat?” I ask.
A look of delight shines across the ragged man’s face. Years lift off his shoulders as he touches my arm in thanks.
“Can we pray for you?” I offer as I hand him the bag of day-old bagels and pastries.
“Always,” he whispers with a tear gleaming in his eye.
Another door begins to open and three small, blond heads face me. “Is your mom home?”
Heads begin bobbing up and down. They crack open the door a little more.
A wake of marijuana blasts into my face. Suddenly, a young woman appears. She looks tired and full of sadness.
“We have food for your children if you would like some,” I speak through the smoke.
Her mouth opens in confusion, and I see only rotting teeth.
“Stay here,” she commands to her brood. She scurries to the gray truck where bags of meals await her.
I knock on the final room, next to a busted window. A dog appears in the doorway, and then a shirtless child.
“Is your mom home?” I ask.
He shakes his head no. Another child appears. Piles of clothing stand next to the doorway.
“We have food for you guys,” I smile encouragingly.
They insist on carrying the heavy bags of food themselves.
“We are strong,” they say.
Yes you are, I think to myself. Stronger than you know.
“I don’t need anything. Leave it for the needy.” I hear a man say to another volunteer near me.
“I used to live the life these people have, but I decided enough was enough. I gave my life to Christ. And boy has He blessed me! I even have insurance now. Can you believe it?!” he grinned proudly and began hugging each one of us.
Each time we knock on a window, we enter into the middle of someone’s story. Some are trapped in a never-ending cycle of drug abuse. Others are still paying for past mistakes. The single moms just can’t seem to pull together enough money to “get out of here and move into a nicer place.” We hear stories of survival, hope and renewal. Wherever we find these people, we meet them where they are just like Jesus met us where we were when He showed us His never ending grace.
“And 100 times I fall, oh 100 times You’re there
Your grace has covered the 100th time that I have prayed this prayer
And 100 times I fall, oh 100 times You’re there
Your grace has covered the 100th time that I have prayed this prayer”
-100x by Red Letter Society
"'For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’"
- Matthew 25:35-40
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