22 Jun Home from LA! Dream Center missions trip
I am so thankful for home–for family, and for the cleanliness that we
are so blessed to have.
This week at the LA Dream Center was incredible. That is basically
the only word that describes the place. Imagine a place that is a
refuge and home for over 500 people–a
place where all of who live there, live there for the purpose of
wanting a better life for themselves–or to GeV their time to
serving– because they simply realized that what they were doing…
Now the Dream Center is an old hospital purchased for being remodeled
and used for perhaps the homeless and/or broken people who just want
to start over. It is an absolutely huge place, but the hearts of
everyone working there were so massively big, that the building was
filled to the brim. No joke–with people and love.
As I went throughout the week, I started realizing how incredibly
peaceful and full of joy I was! So for a while I thought simply about
just that. Several times we had opportunities to go serve
food to the homeless people–or to
just simply say hello or share a hug. This was not about sharing the
story about Jesus to strangers. This was living the gospel. This was a
chance to “let our light shine before men…” this was LOVING PEOPLE.
LOVE!! (because we love God first, of course!) no bible stories, no
preachin’. Just loving. Anyway, at the Dream Center, this love flowed
from every single leader, helper, or even from the guys and gals there
in the Descipleship program– and it quietly blew my mind! NOW I can’t
stop thinking about it! It was a small, small revealing example to me
of what heaven will be like. We literally were carefree all week.
Nobody to impress–nothing weighing on our shoulders…just wake up,
roll out of bed to breakfast (with no care to dress up nice), then off
to SERVE. It just didn’t matter to anyone what we looked like..no one
was caught up in the physical aspect of life at
all. Everyone there was there to serve others– to lay aside all they
want for themselves and focus on things other than ME.
Everyday we were up for breakfast at 6:50am and put to bed around
midnight– but each day was packed with serving the people at the
Dream Center (cleaning within a 5 mile radius in and outside of the
actual building) or serving the people on the streets (just simply
hanging out with them or providing free food for them). Not always was
it the people that were homeless, however. We went to Venice Beach and
downtown Hollywood several times and simply loved on people. Handed
out some candy… 🙂 I was even able to talk a bit with a couple
musicians down there! So much fun 🙂
Two days of this week we spent on what is called the food truck
ministry, which I think was my favorite (it was ALL awesome). We piled
a bunch of food into a big truck (bananas, onions, soup, beans,
tortillas, rice crispies, and grapes) and drove down to several
locations where families who couldn’t afford to buy food would gather
to pick up food for their family. At each location we served over 250
families! (one location was down in the “projects” of LA where every
house had barred windows because of the shootings and heavy gang
affiliations in the area. It was so great
because the Dream Center told us that because of what they have done
for the people down there, the gangs realize
that we come to help, so they are
actually want to protect us! How cool is that?!) Anyway, what I
enjoyed about the food truck was the fact that when we would bring the
food to each location, all the food would be in boxes and wrapped up
still. So we would unload it all out onto the street where we would
continue to untie onion bags and seal up grapes, etc, to then place
everything in separate shopping bags to be placed in piles according
to what was in each sack to set up an asembly line. The coolest part
about it, was that at every stop, the people who we served wanted to
serve us and help us get the food ready. They got down on the ground
with us to sort out rotten onions and grapes and sack everything to
get the job done. They were so willing and their loved flowed from so
deep from within their hearts that we received some kisses! Their
appreciation and gratitude was so beautiful. Here these people are–
literally in a place of poverty and unsure where the next meal will
come from, and their love is so much deeper and more real than the
majority of people I have met in my life. There is a deep love that
the world of “well-off” or “comfortable living” people miss out on! To
loose it all and have LOVE is MUCH MORE than to have it all and have
no love or a lack of. What would it be like if our world would just
stop thinking about “me” and “my desires and dreams” and started
focusing on serving others?! Who ever said true joy comes from having
what you want? Who ever said self is important?!!
I know I have been re-evaluating how much I focus on myself and what I
want.. And yes, I have failed and will continue to fail, because I am
a sinner. But as I fail, I just find myself miserable because it
doesn’t always work to do what I want. There is never total
satisfaction! So I will continue to be in pursuit of serving, while
God prunes out my selfishness little by little. We MUST stand up to
SERVE others. We must. If we don’t, how bad could it get? What in the
world is so special to be noticed anyway?
All in all, this week was incredible, and I definitely wanted to stay
longer. The work was hard, but it wasn’t like work at all–it was
addicting work! You work and serve, but there is complete peace and
joy because you are with family that really only cares for your heart,
and you are helping people do what they can’t. The physical aspect
gets erased after you realize that you have so immeasuarbly blessed
someone who cannot pay you back– to give without getting anything..
It is so satisfying!
Don’t get me wrong.. It is not only the poor that need to be served.
No excuses people.
True joy comes from the bottom. In many aspects…
The first shall be last and the last first.