Saturday, November 10, 2012

"I Want Them to Have Hope" (2011)

Yes, my soul, finds rest in God; my hope comes from him.  Psalm 62:5

I doubted the possibilities of Operation Sleep Tight.  I questioned myself in allowing Josiah to follow through with his thought of providing some warmth to the homeless this winter.  Is this the right thing?  How will this work?  Can our family afford 10 sleeping bags just in case he is unable to raise support?

Because of my doubt, I've been left with humility, gratitude, and amazement at what God has done through Josiah's mission.

Instead of raising 10 sleeping bags, as was the goal, Josiah was able to deliver 25 sleeping bags to those in need on Monday night while working alongside People Loving Nashville.  Then, an additional 15 sleeping bags were given to those at Green Street Church.  And as I write this, he has 6 more sleeping bags beside our Christmas tree and a few more coming in the mail.

Operation Sleep Tight has provided at least 46 sleeping bags to the homeless this winter!  And from the mouth of one man who received one, he sang, "I'm not going to be cold tonight!  Oh no!  I'm not going to be cold!"  (The dance he did was quite comical when reenacted by Josiah!)

Josiah personally handed out each sleeping bag and greeted each person respectfully.  When the last sleeping bag was handed out on Monday night, Josiah looked up at Sergio and asked, "Dad, what else can I do to help?"  Although there were no more sleeping bags to give, Josiah's sweet heart was not finished serving.  They joined a youth group and began passing out clothing items.

Josiah has been encouraged by his friends making homemade doggy treats to purchase some sleeping bags, he's been encouraged by our realtor whom he just met on Sunday, grandmothers, my long-time friends, Sergio's co-workers, a couple in our church here, & some of our neighbors.

Friends from Joplin, MO
I'd like to share one more thing about Josiah that I think you should know.  On Wednesday night, Sergio stood up before those at Green Street Church and interviewed Josiah.  Josiah was so shy and pretty much kept his face in Sergio's arm.  However, when Sergio asked Josiah, "What would you like everyone to know that receives a sleeping bag?"  Josiah quietly replied, "I want them to have hope."

I stood in the very back keeping our 2 & 3 yr olds quiet during their interview.  I watched as some clapped, some chanted his name, & as Josiah walked down the middle aisle to me, a man gave him a high-five.

We can not simply give them a title as "homeless" and be comfortable with all that it entitles.  No, because they are not just homeless; they are men, women, teens, and children who are hurting.  So, what can be done?  I couldn't say it any better than what the People Loving Nashville have already stated:

We are all hungry, so we bring food.
We are all shamed in our nakedness, so we bring clothes.
We are all broken, so we bring ears to listen and hear.
We are all scared, so we bring comfort.
We are all guilty, so we bring acceptance and honesty.
We are all living in chaos, so we bring peace.
We are all lonely, so we bring friendship and community.
We are all hurt, so we bring love.

Josiah showed me as well as others the meaning of unconditional love.  A love that shows no favoritism based on status, looks, needs, or what someone can give back to us.  Josiah showed me how to have faith like a child and believe that God will provide for His children.

His words play over again in my head, "That they have hope", and I couldn't agree with him more.

Mother Teresa is quoted saying, "If you can't feed 100 people, then just feed one."

I think that it can also be said in other ways.  If you can't clothe 100, then clothe one.  If you can't provide 100 sleeping bags, then provide one.  If you can't share the Gospel with 100, then share it with one.

But God will never forget the needy; the hope of the afflicted will never perish.  Psalm 9:17-19

Operation Sleep Tight was not done by one person, but was accomplished by the generosity of many.   We are truly grateful.
Let us not be satisfied with just giving money. Money is not enough, money can be got, but they need your hearts to love them. So, spread your love everywhere you go.  -Mother Teresa

*Please excuse the quality of pictures taken as they were taken with our cell phone.*

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