Guest post by Chloe Liv.
Written on her 14th birthday.
“This is going to be the BEST Christmas ever! I actually have soap to shower!”
Her words stopped me in my tracks, as a tear ran down my cheek. Her clothes were torn and dirty. Her hair looked like it hadn’t been brushed or washed in a week. She was missing some of her teeth and the ones she still had needed a toothbrush badly. I don’t know where she slept last night, and she probably doesn’t know where she’ll sleep tonight.
And to think I was upset about not getting an ipod for Christmas this year…
I recently went with a church on a mission trip and was homeless for 3 days and nights.
Now I feel guilty that I just got done throwing my fit about not getting a big Christmas, and this woman was crying tears of joy over getting… soap.
My hair is clean. I showered today in a clean shower with hot water. My teeth are brushed. And when I go home I have a nice, soft, cozy bed to sleep in.
I ate dinner tonight. I knew when I woke up this morning that I would eat dinner tonight. And I might have leftovers that would get thrown away.
For my birthday this year and maybe next year and the next, I am collecting things from anyone who will give stuff for all these people we met.
I don’t know how they got homeless, and I don’t know how to get them a home, but I’m going to do what I can to love on them because maybe they just need to know somebody cares.
They told her it was unsightly. I couldn’t believe my ears. The empty milk jugs were “unsightly” so they should be hidden somewhere.
These empty milk jugs were used to put laundry soap in for people who needed it but couldn’t afford it. She spent her own money and made gallons and gallons of laundry soap every week at a much lower cost than was available at the store.
She had a laundry soap ministry. All she asked for was that people bring rinsed, empty, plastic milk jugs so that they’d have enough containers for all the laundry soap.
And it was FREE to anyone who asked for it.
Helping other people IS unsightly. It’s not pretty sometimes. Why are people embarrassed about helping other people? Do they think we should all just have pretty ministries?
That’s not how it works.
Life is messy. We need to meet people right where they are and help pick them up out of the trash their lives are in.
Jesus helped many people. And it wasn’t a pretty ministry. He spent time teaching and healing the broken, sick, prostitutes, people with leprosy, and tax collectors. Check out Matthew 9:9-13.
I want to be a part of a church that has those unsightly, empty milk jugs somewhere in the hallways so that when people ask about them we can tell them how they can help people get laundry soap. (And no, the empty milk jugs shouldn’t be out on “display” either.)
Ironic. The “unsightly” milk jugs were used for soap to wash stuff and make it clean.
Sometimes genuinely loving on people is just not a pretty ministry.