The line was forming outside of the doors along the busy street as we walked past. We rang the buzzer, were allowed in, given name tags and then waited for instructions on how we were to serve that night. The men working in the kitchen were incredibly joyful, some had a new lease on life as a result of the second chance they’ve been given and they were so thankful that we had come to help out. We decided to serve restaurant style. That meant that we would take the meal and deliver it to the table to each individual.
At 6:00 they opened the doors, one by one the homeless, incredibly hungry soul walked slowly to their table to be served a hot meal. They are the men and women we see on the street corners and try to avoid eye contact with. It’s easier that way isn’t it? Pretend we don’t see them so we won’t feel so bad, or is that just me? But now, their tired bodies are sitting at a table in front of me waiting to be fed. Some of them are young and look new to this life. Some of them are old and the streets have taken their toll on body and mind. The lines on their faces tell so much, their eyes are deep with stories. How did they get to where they are now? We don’t have the time to find out. But we do have the time to serve them a meal, look into their eyes and smile. Almost all of them are so grateful that it makes my heart sink to know how ungrateful mine is so often. It’s a slower night at the mission so some of them go out and return again not just once but twice to receive 3 plates of food. They are so hungry. I pray that God would meet the hunger of their deepest need as well, providing ways for them to know Him if they don’t. Because bread alone is not the Satisfier, only He is.
Our staff team has committed to serve the city and take students with us. One of the ways we can do that is through partnering with the Portland Rescue Mission. Our job is easy, all we do is show up, smile and make conversation, and hand someone a hot meal. After dinner there is a short worship time and devotion (given by someone in our group). People are welcome to stay and usually about 100 stay and listen. Last week I was able to go with our team and take students from PSU. What a privilege and another experience where the Lord graciously shows me more of His heart for the city and opens my heart to more of His precious people.
*For more incredible stories visit the Portland Rescue Mission Blog.