God works. God moves. God uses us.
Wednesday morning James Wood and I are meeting about Sunday. He had preached at Agape while Lori and I were in North Bend/Coos Bay doing an abuse workshop. James and I talked about the sermon and how things were working for him in his internship. I pointed out that in a church plant you get support and feedback on the sermon during the week, not usually during service.
I met 4 women at Pioneer Square Starbucks to talk about sexual assault presentations at Lincoln High School. Within an hour we pooled resources for the curriculum, developed a team to talk to the school committee, and talked about how the organizations need to work together. I left with contacts for working with the school but also a team who works with sexual violence and solicitation among street kids. People working to help people. God's hand is near.
I walk out into the square as the wind whipps into my face. Not many folks around asking for money so I head to Earl. Earl faithfully holds up a sign and asks for coins every day at the square. "Hmmm, I haven't talked to Earl for a while." I head over their. It is a cold day and the wind makes it even worse, even though the sun beats down on the bricks. "Excuse me," a woman with lips so chapped they are bleeding says, "I wonder if you have a dollar to spare?" "Actually," I said, "I'm going over here to take Earl to lunch--you wanna come?" "Well, OK, who is this Earl?" Earl looks up, smiles, and quietly says, "me!" Marilyn, Earl, and I head for Carls Jr. for lunch. We talk and Marilyn tells us she has no place for the night. She's cold, her lips hurt, and she has some withdrawl. "I don't want a shelter and I don't want to use tonight." I remember Dignity Village. At Agape they tell us anyone is welcome to stay the night, get a shower, have a meal, and have some one to remind them they can stay clean. "How do I get there?" she asks. I tell her which bus to take, but she has no money. Earl reaches into his pocket and pulls out a 2 zone bus ticket. "People give me these every day, you can have mine..." he smiles. People working to help people. God's hand is near.
I go to see Maria. She's home from the hospital with Erin. It's been 3 weeks since she was born. As I mentioned in an earlier blog Maria was one of the first people we met before launch. Erin is doing great and Maria deeply loves her. She tells me how much she appreciates the women at Agape who are helping her. I remember that one of the nurses in the NICU said Maria wrote that Agape loves pregnant women and drug addicts. People working to help people. God's hand is near.
My last trip for the day is to Dignity Village for home community. We start core values class. 7 are planning to take the class. Kevin and Lia are there ahead of me getting everyone together. Kevin is a student at Multnomah Seminary Lia a student at PCC. They will get married this July. They love God. They really love each other. They love the people at the village. I show up late and we talk about core values. Somebody comes in, "Hey Pastor Taco, you're right--Marilyn came on the bus." The group lets her in, fixes a plate of food for her, and welcomes her. She feels warm, accepted, and rested. Agape's core values are love, relationship, and empowerment. I see this in the group even before the Core Values class begins. People working to help people. God's hand is near.
Lori and I never thought Agape would look like this--but God is in charge. Still we are encouraged as we see People working to help people. God's hand is near. I think about the minister who told me that Jesus did not bring a social gospel, and we need to focus on people's spiritual salvation rather than physical needs. I guess he doesn't see what we see. Too bad!