As a church we had the privilege of opening our doors to the homeless in our community when we hosted the Cold Weather Shelter from February 27-March 6. With this week came countless stories as we were able to love on the folks and experience God working in their lives. While we can’t possibly share all of the stories here, we compiled a few highlights from some of our volunteers:
Lisa Taylor has been faithful in organizing the Cold Weather Shelter over the past several years, and one particular moment that stood out to her this year was the Ash Wednesday Worship Gathering.
A few of the repeating guests attended that gathering where they were able to engage and connect with God through worship, prayer and communion. Tears streamed down one man’s face as he worshipped and listened to Ryan’s powerful message.
“Watching Molly pray over the girls and Steve pray over the men was awe-inspiring,” Lisa said. “Having the privilege to witness God ministering one-on-one was so awesome.”
Molly Smith, another faithful team member at the Cold Weather Shelter said that the kids impacted her the most:
It was a pleasure and delight to see our own Grace kids, children of volunteers, loving on and caring for the children of the guests in the shelter this week and weekend. Every night there seemed to be a different table full of boys and girls – some homeless, some whose parents were serving dinner or helping on the evening shift. What a gift to our guests to see their children able to run and play and laugh like children and not worry about the burdens of their current situation. And thanks to the parents who brought their sweet kiddos along, knowing that through these such experiences we are raising up the next generation to care for those in need. As Pastor Mark would always say, “Way to go, GraceKids!”
Marsha Hayleck was touched by how her own kids got involved with the Cold Weather Shelter. She said her daughter had initially been very shy and timid around one of the female guests who often talked to her. After a little bit of time, her daughter opened up, started to draw with the guest, and gave one of her drawings to the guest, making her tear up.
These three stories are just a snapshot of what happened throughout the week, and the way that Molly summed up her thoughts about the event resonates with us all:
In all, I was just so proud to see how our Grace family steps up to share our blessings and truly care for others and such a loving and nonjudgmental way!”
Thank you to our 200 volunteers who helped make Cold Weather Shelter a success! We look forward to seeing how God continues to use you to make an impact for His Kingdom!