A while back I had a free evening, so I decided to go to the store and buy some items to give away to those who needed them more than I do. It was a good idea, something I want my life to be characterized by more and more.
But it was embarrassing.
I realized that everyone I knew had enough, that I didn’t know many people who were truly in need, and that I need to change that. I needed to go and intentionally meet people who don’t live like I do or think like I do, people who could never repay me. For their sake but for my own as well.
I remember a time that I could have echoed his words; that I really do not know anyone in serious need of anything. God has brought me to a place in my life where that no longer applies. I spend every day with people at the bottom. Hurricane Katrina took all their possessions, uprooted their lives, and left them grasping to stay afloat. Building materials, clothing, school supplies, food, clean drinking water, baby formula, furniture, bedding, transportation, you name it; people in Lakeshore need it.
God’s gracious hand of provision allows me to begin meeting a dizzying array of these needs. We see 2,500 or so registered families come through our distribution center. Through the hard work of volunteers we have rehabbed over 100 flooded homes in our community. We have begun working on the 29th house built completely from the ground up. With all that, I still feel the overwhelming reality that over 4000 families still live in temporary housing in our county. For many, nothing more than a camper provides them shelter. Those living in FEMA provided housing know that in a matter of days or weeks this option will dry up, leaving them completely homeless once again. Some folks have come by the church asking for tents to live in. The need remains great.