It's Monday and the week has flown by. Last week was jammed packed with ministry opportunities and task. Monday was recovery day; Tuesday I spent time with a family in Oakwood. Wednesday the kids had doctor’s appointments, Thursday, Phil met with Peace Lutheran Church and I worked to created a story board for that. Then the kids and I went to a math and science fair. And, finally on Friday there was Friday Morning coffee and taxes. But, let me tell you a little more about the family from Oakwood.
Her husband is a double amputee and the wife has suffered many injuries. They are trying to get their home in order so they can be reunited with their granddaughter. As I took a walk through the home my heart broke at all that my eyes beheld. I had never seen anything like it before. This family has been connected with the Church in Oakwood for several months. We could not ignore their hurt because of these words in Psalm 82:3-4.
"Give justice to the weak and fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked."
This family has an income of $1600 monthly and pays $425 in rent and has a gas bill on average of $600. WHY is the bill so high? Well, because there are gaping holes in the floor, the front door, and the windows. They have to borrow money from others to get food. They don't qualify for food stamps because they make too much money, yet not enough to survive. The husband and wife don't even sleep in the same bed. He has a special bed (twin) and the wife sleeps on the couch. That couch was left there by the previous residents and is sloped in many areas. She suffers from ulcers in her abdominal area and has problems with the disk in her neck which causes very painful headaches. If that isn't enough she has also had three eye surgeries and is 70% blind. There a many with this story. The story of, one thing after another. But, these people are right in our midst. What can be done in light of the word that has been resting on my heart?
Here is our current direction. We are partnering with Chi Alpha a college ministry of University Central Arkansas (Conway) to serve this family. Chi Alpha does what is called "Not So Extreme Home Makeovers" were they gather about 40-75 students to help serve a family. The City of Hope Outreach has what is called "The Nehemiah Project" based from the book of Nehemiah. We want to help rebuild this area of Conway. Many people have ignored this area, and we are crying out on their behalf. So we are putting together our resources and skill to help change this situation. Not only that but we are working with this family toward empowerment and responsibility.
I have to add this in as a HUGE side note. We talked to them about moving into a trailer that was a whole lot better and a little less then what they are paying now. Her response was, “But we don’t want to leave the church”. I was floored at that statement. She went on to explain that this was the only church they felt at home in. She mentioned how much they are loved and cared for, when they needed hope Phil would show up at their front door.
It is hard to change behaviors without instruction. People need people who will be willing to take time out of their "busy" lives and lovingly train and instruct in everyday basics. We can't assume that everyone has been taught from the same values and skill sets. When a person is struggling and is searching then we need to be there.
- King's Club in Oakwood Saturday February 13, 2010 @ 1:00PM
- Sunday Worship in Oakwood Sunday February 14, 2010 @ 1:00PM
- Community Meeting in Oakwood Friday 19, 2010 @ 4:00PM
- Nehemiah Project/ Not So Extreme Home Make Over in Oakwood Saturday February 20,2010 @ 10:00AM