Thursday, July 18, 2013

Winter in July

The Grace Place project to update the brick house on the Sharon church property to use for missions and fellowship is underway.  We currently are waiting on the proper permits.  Josh, a member at Sharon, reflects below about a relationship that developed during the Room in the Inn ministry with the homeless last winter.  While it is far from being winter now with the heat, humidity, and rain, Josh’s story gives perspective to what is currently happening with the creation of Grace Place.  Enjoy!

My Winter
"Tuesday nights last winter were a very spiritual journey for me.  My neighbors with whom I spent these nights with gave me more than I could ever repay.  I have learned invaluable lessons about real relationships, deep discipleship, and selfless service.  In the book of Matthew 25:40 Jesus says, 'I assure you that when you have done it for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you have done it for me.'  After all, Jesus was homeless at times.  In Luke 9:58 Jesus replied, 'Foxes have dens and the birds in the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.'

One guest, who I'll call Adam, has become a good buddy.  Adam stuck out with a young smile and a hug at the door when he arrived to the church for room in the inn Christmas day.  During dinner I sat across from Adam and we talked about trivial things like sports and weather.  Once dinner was over, we all headed down to the brick house for showers, laundry, and ultimately bed.  While doing laundry Adam started to open up to me and tell me his story of having both his parents deceased and overcoming addiction.  He even showed me his yellow N.A. chip which represents nine months clean time.  The more he spoke, the more his story aligned with mine.  Struggling through the same experiences, we shared a strong bond.  I gave him my card, and since Christmas we have been meeting almost weekly for a burger and conversation.

Discipleship is an area in which I can always grow.  A disciple is defined as a learner, a pupil, or one who comes to be taught.  My efforts of passing out Bibles and praying with our guests fade in comparison to the impact of what I have learned from them, whether it is the vitality of their hope, the dignity of their spirit, or their incredible capacity for praise and thanksgiving in such impossible circumstances.

We try to serve all needs possible with what means we have.  Frequently, guests would come in to our church lacking adequate clothing, some with nothing but what they were wearing.  What touched me the most was when we would give out clothes to our guests who needed it, several of them came back minutes later with an item of their own to give to us for the next man in need.      

Sharon United Methodist Church - the spiritual crossroads of SouthPark, leading people to life rich in Christ through Real Relationships, Deep Discipleship, and Selfless Service is our vision statement.  Grace Place fits very well into our vision for Sharon United Methodist Church.  By opening up this area we would create much needed opportunity for not only members of our congregation, but also members of our community to serve and to be served, to teach and to learn, and to ultimately grow spiritually.”

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