It was January 21st when it all began. I can tell you the exact day, because my life and heart were changed and I had no idea what was to come.
January 21st was the day we set out to connect with our inner city community in a whole new way. Many neighborhoods were considered, but only one had been chosen for us to go out and bless. As volunteers gathered that day we heard the instructions of what part of the block each team would go to, how we would let them know we were there, where they could find our truck full of clothes and groceries, and we were reminded of things to consider for safety. We were all experiencing our own emotions that moment!
Many were thrilled to see this day finally arrive where we would go out and meet the community.
Others were nervous becsaue they were taking a first step.
And yet, others had been around that neighborhood awhile and wondered why we were going to this particular street — a street marked with crime, drive-by shootings, and crack houses.
I remember so vividly our car pulling on to the street that day. Reflecting back, it’s like seeing everything in slow motion.
The block where my team started has wrecked my heart in a whole new way. I took in all the sights, smells, and sounds. I looked around wanting to capture it all. But the sight that would not leave my mind was all the children’s toys laying around. I knew there were children there obviously, but where.
It was then that one child emerged. I fell in love with this boy and by the end of the day he was running to hug me. His mom is just precious and when we brought out the candy it was like Christmas. Kids came – kids with shoes, without shoes; kids with clothes, kids without; kids needing diapers, and formula, and food. While our team met and loved on children, other teams walked the block and picked up trash while meeting the neighbors. And even another team met a man who could not hear nor speak, but they found a way to communicate through an old spiral tablet.
Since January 21st, we have been back to that neighborhood to connect with the same block. We’ve cleaned up truck loads of trash (needles and all), clothed many in need, fed the hungry, and loved on more children. Our team found out that one of the boys on our part of the street was having his 2 year old birthday, so we arranged a head of time to go back and take some gifts and a cake to the family. Once again the excitement and joy in the children’s eyes and hearts were better than a Christmas morning surprise. (I think the adults there are still trying to figure us out.)
I had waited in anticipation of going back out this month to check on the families and to hug the children. But everything changed — in the blink of an eye one early morning.
With a drive-by shooting on that block the day before we were supposed to go, we had to postpone our trip. While I get the safety issues, all my heart wants to do is go get the children – hug them, love them, feed them. Or maybe we should go to the hospital where the one injured lays. Or maybe our hearts are drawn to be with the family who might need a friend in their time of grief. Our hearts long to go because that is “our” adopted block.
So while I have stopped the last two months and poured into a block, along with many other incredible people, this weekend I was stopped! This stopping makes me cry and pound my fist! It’s a stopping that has strengthened even further a passion that I had. It’s a stopping that will not stop me, nor the others. It’s a stopping that I know will be blessed beyond measure when the time is right to return to our block.
What makes you cry your eyes out?
Who in your community could use some help?