What do you do when you are broken and wrecked? Or beyond words to explain a situation?
Here’s where I try to tell you what my heart and mind have been trying to process. But I truly think there is no way to convey the darkness of the world until you go and walk among it. I’m not talking about just showing up and serving — I’m talking walking it out with broken, messy, and hurting people.
This past weekend was Taking it to the Streets where many come together to serve our homeless community. If you live in Corpus Christi, you need to join us. If you don’t, this is what it’s all about.
Taking it to the Streets
Two weekends a month where we provide a meal, usually something like BBQ chicken, sandwiches or hotdogs with chips and desserts. The heat pegged out around 100 degrees this weekend and we served well-over 1000 drinks, mostly water. We take bins of clothing, shoes, as well as hygiene products to the streets. We set up tables for serving food and tables and chairs where we can all sit around a visit and get to know one another as we share a meal. As the band plays worship to Jesus, it truly is a heavenly feast!
The past few times we have gone out, I have spent most of my time pouring into the volunteers that come to serve as we usually have about 75 or so. But this time was different, my heart ached to visit with and know the community. With about 300 homeless there, I made sure I sat down on the curb to make new friends and to catch up with some old ones.
Some were doing good. Some were doing worse. Some weren’t around because their crack addiction had consumed their evening. My heart broke trying to understand each person’s story. It’s hard not to have a heavy heart when you’ve spent so much time pouring in to someone and they take three-steps backwards!
Sometimes that heaviness just makes you want to scream.
As I visited, processed, and invited many to church the next day I saw out of the corner of my eye a family who we had recently helped. We had met them on the streets, invited them to church, and they showed up a few weeks ago. It was a sight many of us will never forget . . .
a young mom and dad
a 6-month old baby covered in bug bites and rashes
a worn baby carrier full of 1000’s of roaches
and a bottle full of mold.
My heart screamed that day! My mind couldn’t even process what I had seen. This was Corpus Christi, Texas for crying out loud — not Guatemala, Africa, Haiti or another third-world country.
As I make my way to the family, I notice the baby is not in the brand-new carrier we had bought for the baby. I hug the mom and dad. I ask about the baby and they point to my daughter who was holding the baby. Through the crowd I make my way to the baby and notice my daughter crying. My heart is beating faster wondering what might have happened to the baby.
Operation Baby Rescue
My daughter and friends standing around begin to tell me the mom had said,
“I don’t want this baby. I was mad when I got pregnant and now I have CPS on me. Will you take this baby until after the 4th so we can go party?”
Now, I’m crying too. My daughter is ready to adopt the child. What the heck? What kind of world are we living in? There were no words to process the crazy going on.
The baby looked worse, the new carrier was full of bugs already, and the bottle was mildewed. There was a doctor serving with us who examined the baby and agreed antibiotics were needed.
Standing in the midst of this situation, it all seemed so unreal.
My mind is trying to make sense of something that seems senseless.
Don’t ask me why I couldn’t comprehend this. See, I had just heard that a mission trip with Operation Baby Rescue was being planned and I was begging to know the specifics. I wanted to be a part of a team that went to a third-world country to rescue babies from malnutrition. I wanted to bring justice to what seemed like the death of a baby if help wasn’t found.
It all made sense when it was in a foreign country. But now — seven miles from my home Operation Baby Rescue was commencing.
While the parents ate, friends bathed the baby in the back of their car. They came together with a plan and would take the baby overnight. Forms were signed. Witnesses were there in plenty. I am so proud of my friend who stood up, took an unknown baby to clean and shower love upon. No questions asked. No what-if’s.
“Serve my people” sounds so easy.
When Jesus says serve my people it sounds so pleasant and nice. Feed people sandwiches that are hungry. Teach others Bible studies. Greet people at church.
Could it be that’s all we see to do because that’s all we are comfortable with? When Jesus says serve, I think we are supposed to live our life with our eyes open looking for opportunities to serve. Sometimes those opportunities come in the most inconvenient ways — like rescuing a baby.
Maybe we have it all wrong? Maybe we aren’t suppose to spend so much time in Bible studies and church? Maybe we aren’t suppose to hide behind our Christianese talk and perfect churches?
Maybe serving as Jesus did isn’t easy?
Maybe living like Jesus actually requires us to live more in the messy places?
Maybe, and hopefully, when this baby is old enough he will “amen” loudly all the above!