Back in December you may remember that the JFUMC Youth led a mission project, Christmas Stockings for the Homeless. They did more than put the stockings together, and actually went into downtown Little Rock and delivered them one evening. Lisa Meadows, one of our Youth, was a part of that group and was very moved by the experience. She told me she wanted to share with others the emotions she went through that night.
Lisa, who serves as the Youth Representative on the Testimony HQ Leadership Team, came to me very excited about how much power there is in sharing our stories. I reminded her she already had a story she wanted to share. So together we are going to share how a night of ministry, with different emotions, affected our lives.
From Lisa: “When Ms. Be and I went to deliver stocking to the homeless, it was sad seeing all of those people. They all had different stories. They came together to get the food that was brought and were delighted to get something else not food related. It was scary and nerve racking because we were in their world coming to them. It was something different yet gratifying. You got to enjoy handing the stockings out and seeing the delight in their faces when they received it. It was a wonderful time that had a lot of meaning to me.”
For me it was a night of anticipation when we loaded up to go deliver the stockings! We were meeting Grace Church from Saline County. They deliver meals every Friday night to the people in the streets of downtown Little Rock. Our Youth serve at our local Mission 5000 every second Wednesday of the month. With that experience of serving our neighbors - they come to us. In delivering the Christmas Stockings - we were going into their world. We saw where some lived (in abandoned buildings, alleyways, cars, and places unseen). They just came out from everywhere as soon as we found a place to park on the street. The response was almost overwhelming!
As we started to hand out the stockings, I got to witness two different things – the look of surprise and joy on the stocking recipients’ faces as well as the transformation of Lisa. She went from being uncomfortable approaching the recipients of the stockings to one with a mission eager to greet and share. That night we became the hands and the feet of Christ. I have to be honest, it was hard to do this. But we also have to see things as Christ sees them. We were called to love not judge. It was sad when we ran out of the sixty stockings we had prepared especially when we knew there was still a need to fill. We still had two more locations we hadn’t even gotten to.
That night Lisa and I got outside of our comfort zone. God touched us with the stories the stocking recipients shared. They were humbling, moving and filled us with blessings. It was a special memory made. I know when we do something like this again, Lisa and I can share our story, or testimony, why it is so important to do it.
Share your experiences and stories! At the time you may not see God using them, but He will somewhere, somehow!
Moved by others’ stories,
Youth Director and Lay Servant