Throughout this year, I’ve been so encouraged by the newsletters from Mission Year’s East Garfield Park team. I’ve been praying for them and their ministry in my old neighborhood: for building meaningful relationships based on God’s unconditional love, for their walk with God and each other in community, and for strength and dedication. This past weekend, I had the blessing of meeting with them, staying with them one night, and going to church with them (SOOO good to see everyone I’d missed and worship together!) and praying with them.
Today, I got Carter and Stephen (pictured middle and right, respectively)’s newsletters in my email, and was incredibly encouraged by their tales of hanging out with Debbie, who was SUCH a blessing to me and my team in so many ways. She taught me what a true neighbor is, and I hope one day I’ll get there. But, I wanted to share this blerb about relational offering (which is giving back what God has given you as a blessing to people God has placed in your life) from Carter’s newsletter, because I was so encouraged by it:
I have been inspired lately by two guests in
Breakthroughʼs interim housing program. Ken, who
is at the menʼs center and Sarah, who is down the
street at the womenʼs center, are married. I admire
their dedication to stick it out together despite the
the trials of homelessness, unemployment and not
getting to spend much time together.
Occasionally when we are gathered
together with the other team from the South Side,
we pass around a hat to collect an offering, then
we discuss ways which we could use the money to
bless someone in our community. This month we
decided to use the money from the offering to give
to Ken and Sarah a gift card for Inspiration
Kitchen, a nice cafe walking distance from
Breakthrough. This will give them an opportunity
to spend some quality time together and will let
them know that someone cares about them and
admires their dedication to one another.
Participating in a relational offering has
been a great blessing for me to be a part of this
year. It is a practice that I will seek to do in future
communities I am a part of.
“What God hath joined together, let
no man put asunder.”
-Matthew 19:6 (shared with me by Sarah”
P.S. I was going to put just a picture of the neighborhood, but when I searched “East Garfield Park, Chicago” on Google images, the team’s picture came up. Legit. :)