Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Shopping Carts and Humble Hearts

How many shopping carts would it take to hold all of your earthly possessions?

On Thursday, November 15th we had the opportunity to play for Mel Trotter Ministries, a homeless shelter in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan. We got there pretty early, so we decided to walk through a display called "A Walk in Their Shoes" - run by the ministry. The display took us on a walk through the different "stages" of a homeless person's life, including living out of a car, taking shelter in doorways, finding warmth near trash can fires or exhaust grates on buildings, and why so many homeless use shopping carts. At each different exhibit there were reflection questions to get us thinking about ministry to the homeless. Questions like, "How do you feel when you see a homeless person sleeping on a park bench?" or, "Do you think it's their fault that they are homeless?" and, at the exhibit describing the importance of a shopping cart to a homeless man or woman, one of the questions was, "How many shopping carts would it take to hold all of your earthly possessions?"

As we continued through the afternoon and evening at Mel Trotter, that question stuck in my brain. I have a pretty good idea of the answer because it was only three months ago that Brad and I packed up our whole apartment to head out to Minnesota. I thought about how much I have been given and how much I have been entrusted with, and I really thought about the way I'm using what I have. Am I using it to build up my "kingdom" or to build up God's?

Later that evening we played a concert for the women that are housed at the shelter. It was such a blessing to play for these women. They received our ministry with open hearts, many had tears in their eyes as we worshiped. During the Dare You to Move drama they cheered loudly every time Jesus defeated the demons. I had the opportunity to give my testimony, and as I was speaking I felt so much love radiating from their faces. We went there to minister to them, but they ended up being so much more of a blessing to us because of their love for the Lord, and their excitement about what He has done for them, even though they faced really hard circumstances. It was a really humbling experience. A line from our song Hallelujah says, "Whatever's in front of me, I'll choose to sing Hallelujah." These women were such an awesome example of that decision.

- Renee

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