WOW, it has been so long since I posted anything about the park, so I am going to make an attempt to get caught up here. As some of you know, I was going to the park on Sunday afternoons. A few months ago, Vivian a friend of mine, who I met while in Portland, sent me an email. She said there was a group (friends of hers) in a neighboring town that was interested in what I was doing in the park and if we could get together and talk. So, I am going to try and make a long story short here to get everyone up on what is going on.
So, she connected me with Todd Hunter (http://toddhunter.org/), his family and a wonderful group of people, who have a heart to serve. Shortly after they began to come down to the park to serve and love on our friends without homes. Sunday’s a lot of the churches will do dinners and lunches for our friends on the streets, so we decided to do something on Saturday’s were there was a greater need. So, we were on the move to find a new place. Until we could figure out where to go, we setup behind the local day shelter here and two weeks ago we made our move back to the park, a different park, but at least we are back in the park. In the park we can spread out, play some football, talk and just be friends and family hanging out. It’s great!
This new park is a place that I have always felt lead to go and I am so excited to be there. This park is located near the shelter and with in walking distance for our friends. It is also a park that a lot of the drinkers and drug users use to hang out and is known for its fights. Many people are afraid to go down and try to get to know the people there, but I feel this is where we are led and meant to be. In our move to this new park, I was afraid we would lose a lot of the people we were serving. We did lose a few, but as time goes on I think they will return. In the process though, we have so many new faces joining us. The ones who hangout down there all day, think it is just awesome that we would come down and hang with them. They clamor for attention, hugs and to be loved on. I have noticed that those who are new to the streets or that are new to town are coming to this part of the park as well, so every week there are new people and the numbers we serve are growing. Our first week down we served at least a hundred people and this week was at least the same…. how awesome to blessed by that many people coming down.
Well, let me tell you a little about the others who have joined in at the park. There is Todd Hunter, his wife Deb and daughter Carol. Carol’s friend Jen joins us as well as Jim and Tonya Haught and their daughter Ashley. Each and every one of them are wonderful people. They have come along, with others from their group and church and provided the meals for the park, what a blessing and an answer to prayer and I thank them so very much for this. Deb and Tonya make some of the most awesome meals and Ashley bakes some of the best deserts. I have people call from the shelter to ask what is on the menu, just so they know what to look forward to in the park. Jim and Todd have very companionate and caring hearts and it is good to see some of the guys from the streets connect with them. Carol and her friend Jen are just the sweetest young ladies and they jump right in to help serve, it is great to see them there. Like I said before, each and every one of them as well as the others who make it possible to serve and spend time with our friends has been a blessing and an answer to prayer. Their commitment to serve week after week just blows me away. Most of all, their compassion, willingness to open their arms and say “I accept and love you right were you are” and allowing themselves to be Christ’s arms extended to some of the most lost and broken people of our town, is the biggest example of God’s love they could be. I thank each and every one of them for seeing our friends through God’s eyes and loving with His heart. Lives and hearts are being touched in ways they don’t yet realize.
This past weekend we had some others from their group come down and join us as well. Kim and two young men from out of town, was great to see them jump right in and feel at home with our friends in the park. Many thanks to them for all they did that day and spending time with everyone.
Well, everyone lots going on and more to tell, but I am going to stop for now। I promise to try and keep up with my blogs and thanks to all of you that keep asking and are interested in what is going on। Also, I thank all of you that have kept us in your prayers. Much love to all of you!!! Below you will find pictures of our first day in the new park…enjoy and be blessed!