Today was again what has become to be a normal day the past couple weeks. As usual we began with the daily prayer service they have here at Rising Hope followed by lunch. I have found it such a joy to have been able to lead worship at these prayer services. Lead worship is a ministry that has fallen away since I have been in seminary because I have spent my time focusing on my pastoral ministry and less on my specific ministries. It truly reminds me of all the blessings God has given me in my life.
After taking an afternoon rest we returned to Rising Hope to help out in the Food Pantry. This was something I had not had a chance to experience yet. These people were not homeless, but definitely were in a bit of a financially tough situation. The person in charge of the food pantry set it up more like a store than a food-handout center. People had the option to pick an item or two from the shelves and leave with a generous amount of food based on how many people are in their family. This is great because people sign up with the church. They make an appointment to come in once a week and come in and receive their food. It seems to be a well-oiled machine that functions to help these people get free food. They even have a section for the homeless people with easily cooked meals like ramen or vienna sausages, and ready go stuff. You may see people who actually have homes but we have no idea their situations. We continue to see different hidden cultures. These people who come into the food pantry as I said are not homeless but still need help and this ministry offers them to be able to get food to feed their families.
After the food pantry we began to get ready for the Hypothermia Shelter. I had the opportunity to stay overnight last week. I enjoyed it and learned so much I thought I would do it again. Tonight’s experience was very different from last week. There has been cold chilly rain all week and the possibility of snow throughout the day. As we thought of this we knew that we were going to be full up tonight and it would fill up quick. Sure enough we had filled up the shelter by 9 o’clock (the shelter max’s out at 25). It pained me to have to send people away because we didn’t have room for them here at Rising Hope. While I knew they could go to another shelter it was not a sure thing they would go there. Some of these people would probably stay on the streets rather than try to go to another shelter.
We also had one of the people who checked in at 7 leave around 1130pm. I wondered where she would have gone? Why would she leave a warm place? These questions race through my head as I think about where this person went. It leads me to even more just question what all is going on in their minds through this time. The people in these communities can be set off by something so simple and will just do things often.
I pray for the people here constantly. No matter where they are, because I know that God is looking out for them. These are all children of God and as such God showers his presence and healing upon them no matter where they are.