Man, I really wish I had a picture to upload for this blog post. But I don’t have one at the moment, so you have to just imagine with me.
Imagine not having a place to call home every day. Imagine not having the money to send your kids to school. Imagine that the uncertainty of tomorrow is your greatest fear. This is a reality for many families in America. Families are without homes every day. There is no reliable source of income because companies don’t want to hire someone who doesn’t have a stable living situation. Every day, these families are left wondering where they may end up.
When I joined Trinity’s outreach team and got involved with Family Promise, I wasn’t sure what it would entail. But I knew God wanted me to be here. This is what I was called to do.
For those unfamiliar with Family Promise, it is a program that partners with churches and opens up their doors to families as they are close to getting back on their feet. These families, many with children, stay at a church for a full week. Members of the church volunteer to serve food, help out with various things and provide a place to sleep. During the day these families head out to school and the resource center to help secure jobs or housing.
Trinity has been involved with Family Promise for a few years now. It’s not an easy ministry. I know it isn’t. We are welcoming strangers to our church. We have to prepare food and eat with them. At least someone has to stay overnight to make sure nothing goes wrong. There are a lot of uncertainties. But I remember that my time for these families is my time for Jesus.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” — Matthew 25:34-36 (NIV)
Jesus calls us to love and serve one another. For those who are suffering, He calls us to love them. What we do for them, we do for Christ.
But what exactly is Family Promise? I know I kind of explained what we do. But let me tell you what Family Promise means to me.
The biggest excitement for me during Family Promise week is when the families arrive onto our campus. Think about it. These families are probably tired. They have been moving from place to place every week. It’s taxing on them. And we have the opportunity to shoulder some of the burdens from them. We have a room set up for them to rest. We have food ready for them to eat. But most importantly, we are there to support them. I’m just excited because I get to make some new friends.
I love talking during dinner time. Of course, food is great but the conversations I have with the families warms my hearts. Many times, these families just want to talk about anything and everything. Their plight is never brought up. Instead I find myself talking with moms about raising a child. I laugh with the teenagers about different TV shows we likes. Dads are talking to me about sports. They have stories about where they are from and how they ended up in this part of the neighborhood. They enjoy it when we get a chance to play with their kids — it’s a relief that for about an hour, they can just relax a little.
Thank you Lord for blessing me with this opportunity to love these families like this.
Serving with Family Promise isn’t easy. It’s not supposed to be easy. We’re away from home. We are preparing food for people we don’t know. And sometimes we have to stay overnight away from our bed. It requires time, commitment, our own resources, to make it work. But we make it work. These families are worth our time. We may not know them well. We might not even know if what we did is truly making an impact. But Jesus doesn’t call us to seek that instant gratification. He calls us to have faith in love. He calls us to serve.
He calls us to love. He calls us to serve. He calls us to be uncomfortable.
Aren’t these families worth it? Absolutely!
I am overjoyed every time I hear about one of the families I met and their success stories. A family finds housing. The mom got a job. Dad got a car. My friends are doing well. They were so close to getting things together and now it finally has happened. That makes me happy. God is good!
That’s why it’s the best thing I have ever done with Trinity. This is the word of our Lord in action. This is us in action. This is love.
Our next scheduled host week at Trinity is Oct 9-16. I would love to see our church unite and volunteer that week. Let us love as God has loved us.
If you have never served at Family Promise before, I hope this helps you grasp an idea of what we do. And if you have any more questions or are interested in serving, please let me know. It’s hard sometimes to share the importance of this ministry without any tangible evidence that it works. But our Lord calls us to love in faith.
In the following weeks, we will start promoting our next host week with possibly a video as well. If you have ever served, please share your testimonies with one another about Family Promise. We as a church can change the world and it starts with the people of our neighborhood.
God bless you all and I look forward to serving with you!
Samuel Lam: Samuel is a Bay Area native living in Southern California working in sports media. He blogs on many topics, including sports, music, movies, travel and especially faith. Sam also runs his own personal sports blog on his free time. Check him out at: Green Eggs and Lam & But At The End Of The Day.