It's always fun to tell the stories of what take place when an army of over 60 volunteers and hundreds of Seattle's poor and disenfranchised gather together in a public place to spend an afternoon enjoying one another and learning from one another.
One story involves two women that are homeless. We were just arriving when they walked up and asked if they could help. So, we instructed them in what to set up, as well as gave them first spot opportunity to serve food.
One woman is named Cynthia. She is 53, and has been homeless for a number of years. She told Laurie from Missio Lux about what she does at night. Her first desire is to be in a shelter, but they are often full. The shelters sometimes give a bus token to those that don't get beds, and this is why! There is a bus that goes from Seattle to Federal Way, it takes an hour and 10 minutes to arrive. The homeless can sleep on the bus on the way, get off at the destination, wait 20 minutes and then get back on for another hour and 10 minutes. They can do this all night long....one strategy to avoid being outside on a cold night. They call this bus, "the Motor Home for Homeless People."
The other woman was named Igune. She has been homeless for 15 years, and knows just about every other homeless person in Seattle. She greeted almost every single person that got food by their name. She was very proud of her nametag, making her one of the "official volunteers."
It's never just about what we do when we bring food, clothes, music, prayer and Jesus' word of hope. It's always so much bigger. Giving a homeless person a role, a job, an opportunity, gives them meaning, belonging, and importance.
I also always remember and celebrate that Jesus tells us in Matthew 25 that when we give someone a cold drink, a hot meal, clothes to wear, prayer for illness, we are doing it to Jesus.
Every person that came to Occidental Square on Sunday was Jesus as we reached out to love them.
What can be more significant?
Missio Lux, tell your stories, we want to hear them!