“I’m too busy to be compassionate”Compassion requires less time than consideration
The thought to pick up socks for the needy when buying clothes
The thought to keep breakfast bars in one’s car
The thought to give away clothes instead of throwing
The thought to speak a kind word instead of harsh
The thought to step toward instead of away
The thought to smile and listen instead of turn away and ignore
But speedy compassion changes no one
It is only love in the short termOpportunity for change only occurs in long words:
Longsuffering(Long in time, not letters)
Opportunity is found in creating new contexts
in which another might thrive.
Opportunity is found in seeing the positive change
(and diminishing the enduring negatives)
Opportunity is found in the trusting, sacrificial welcome
So I am in Albertsons to get some cat food and of course they are sold out. As I am leaving this guy who is physically about 60 but mentally about 9, comes up to me and introduces himself and shakes my hand and tells me he is shopping with his Momma. I tell him my name and then he asks loudly if we can be friends? I say, “ Sure. I can always do with another friend.”
Then there is this older than me old guy who spouts off, “Well for Christ sake does that F***’n Retard gotta make friends with every —–“(oh you get the picture)
And he strides up to me and says, “Why don’t you tell this—-to get out of here?”
(Forgot to say that my new friend’s name is Bruce) Now Bruce begins to cry and I comfort him which ticks off the Mouth no end.
Now the Mouth is trying to pick a fight and his wife comes over and tries to calm him down, the Manager of the store speaks up and the Mouth turns on her and the 5′ 110 pound unarmed female security guard and they both scurry away for the protection of the office.
Meanwhile the wife is trying to calm him down but the Mouth is having none of it and raises his hand to slap her, which is when I stepped into the path and took the hit in the face. Even with the beard it was loud and smarted a bit and right after the hit came a command to hold, and this was from an armed Police officer. Two actually, one with the can of mace and two with a taser in hand.
“ PLEASE!!!”, screamed the wife, “ He ran out of his medicine that is why he is acting that way.” They had just got their SS check so they could afford to buy them.
I turn to the officer with the mace and said, “Call in an ambulance and take him to the ER and they can mainline the meds and that will calm him down.”
The officer nodded and asked if I wanted to press charges? and I said, “No”.
His wife was very apologetic and was weeping and I asked if I could pray for and with her and she said she was Catholic and I said there is only one Jesus, she smiled and I led out with “Our Father who is in Heaven”, and Bruce and his Mom joined in and there was the murmuring of at least 10 other voices praying with us as the Kingdom of God showed up.
“Gentle” gives me inner peace.
It reminds me of a mother
Seeing her child for the first time
And maybe the sway of a pencil when you draw.
“Gentle” to me is a word
A word that can empower or take.
It’s like characters or songs
Though they sound hard, they’re gentle
Maybe not to most
But if they let you in their shell,
You find a new thing
Maybe even a broken thing.
“Gentle” is not purposeful,
Where you can love,
Or just be you.
“Gentle” is a friendship:
A safe place.
It’s a place to sleep,
Or put your head down.
“Gentle” isn’t a lie,
It’s a way.
And a child’s first tear.
Photos and story by Mary Anne Funk
Anawim Christian Community receives clothing donations on a regular basis from community members throughout Oregon. The donations that come in help clothe the homeless community and those living in poverty.
Normally, the clothing donations make their way from the Red Barn at the Anawim Sanctuary into the community clothing room after they’ve been cleaned and sorted into sizes, gender, and seasonal wear. Then they’re distributed directly and freely to those in need of clothing as well as to other ministries who give directly to those in need. No one is charged for the clothes they receive. It is, in its truest form, a gift economy in full circle.
This year, thanks to the community’s spirit of giving, Anawim was blessed with an abundance of clothing donations for kids. It was a much needed blessing for the community that they serve.
With their clothing room now amply supplied for families, they began to look at what they could do with the surplus of clothing they received from the community. In the continuation of the ideals of a gift economy, Anawim decided to hold their very first free clothing give away event just in time for back to school.
Genevieve Cochran, a long time community volunteer and advocate for the homeless community, spearheaded the clothing giveaway after discussing, with Anawim Pastor Steve Kimes on what to do with the abundance of clothing donations that Anawim had received for children this year. In order to be ready for a back to school event, Genevieve only had five and a half weeks to bring it all together, which she noted could not have been done without her volunteers.
Event posters, social media and word of mouth were used to reach the public.
“Every time we have an event like this, especially when we do them the first time,” said Steve Kimes, Pastor of Anawim Christian Community, “I am always nervous about whether the community will respond to the need, and whether we will be able to communicate to those in need that we are available to help.” “In this event,” he went on to say, “it was a perfect storm, so to speak. We received ample donations and many people showed up to the event, showing both the need and the willingness to help.”
At the end of the event, Anawim donated the remaining clothes from the event to Bethel, the other church that shares their building. Bethel is gathering clothing and other supplies to send back home in Africa. Another great example of a gift economy in full circle.
Meet and Follow Media Mary at http://hogansheroesfanclub.com/blogs/visual-journalism-blog/
Anawim’s Clothing Room: Located in their Gresham location: 19626 NE Glisan
Hours: Wednesdays from 5 to 7 and Saturdays from 11am to 1pm.
All clothing is always free, no ID is necessary, and each family gets one set of clothes per person.
Most weekends we leave Mercy Table excited about what God is doing: He chooses to use us to create a church that welcomes drug addicts, thieves, ex cons, you name it, that wouldn’t otherwise step foot into a church, and we get the chance to share a meal with them and share the love of Christ.
If you look at what we do with spiritual eyes, the picture is obvious, essentially it’s Jesus with tax collectors, it’s the great commission lived out, its walking in faith and obedience, it’s “fishing”, it’s being a missionary family, it’s really a beautiful thing. God using a family that is available to Him for His purpose.
BUT if you look at it with worldly eyes, we are basically crazy. While there is enough evidence to make a great case for that, (without even knowing that our family does MT) or maybe it seems like a really nice thing to do.
We have been doing this for two years (CRAZY!!!, can’t believe it’s been that long already!) and we have always discussed and prayed over the fact we are called to His purpose, which means our kids are called, however He wants us to be wise in what we do.
So what does that look like for our family?
He knew we had five young children when He called us.
And He knew who He was calling us to work with.
After a very eventful Saturday in June we made lots of decisions regarding the ministry. God took us on a journey in two of the longest short weeks ever.
The thought of quitting was on our radar for sure, yet, at the same time, we knew that was fear-based and God called us to this, and if He called us to Uganda we wouldn’t get there and try to go home because our kids weren’t safe, so, now what. How do we do this safely, wisely, but remain obedient to the call?
First we knew we had to have childcare for our own kiddos, something we’d been praying about for months, yet were not blessed with help. So we decided Nick would go alone until we had help, our bold prayer was, God if you want us to continue this ministry we HAVE to have childcare.
A tiny pinch of me (and Nick) wanted to just quit and go back to comfy suburb life attending church on Sundays, and for that matter let’s just go back to Texas and have a giant home (in a reasonable market for crying out loud!!) and raise our family and never leave home, or at least never be around people who aren’t safe (whatever that means).
We took August off, the whole month, none of us went, those whom God serves through us knew we weren’t going to be there on Saturdays. Our kids reaction to the news was interesting. They were concerned for specific people and concerned about what they would eat and other things, (thank you God for teaching my kids (Your kids), and giving them a heart for others and You, through this ministry you called our family to)
August we prayed, boldly, fearfully and fully confident that He would answer, If you want us to continue, bring us childcare and more help.
He brought us FOUR trusted friends to watch our kids AND an incredible God fearing, Jesus loving, Bible reading woman, who has walked the life that some of our people have, AND a college student to serve with us.
So, we have our answer.
(We would still love to have help, please please pray about joining us.)
Today was an incredible day of being able to focus on what He has called us to do, without worrying about our own kids, and it was so amazing to see Him work through the new volunteers, and spend time with my MT kids. Nick led a great message, I say led a message because our church is far from traditional and often Nicks message is a giant conversation about the Gospel. (INCREDIBLE to be a part of)