Serving Hoosier in need

This past Saturday I was witness to God working through myself and several others by helping out less fortunate Hoosier residents in Bloomington. Cru (Campus Crusade for Christ) teamed up with a couple different churches to start a movement called SHINE. It’s interesting because the word SHINE was chosen to represent God’s light shining and spreading the Word to others while helping them out, but it also can spell out Serving Hoosiers In NEed. Anyways, after weeks of advertising and collecting clothes, food, toiletries, and new Bibles, dozens of students from Cru came together on Saturday to share the wealth.

We met at a local Methodist Church to sing a few songs of worship and discuss our game plan. After separating into pairs we headed out to three different areas of the community. My friend and I were assigned to a trailer park on the south side of town, along with about eight other students. We had boxes filled with food, toiletries, and a brand new Bible. Our mission was to go to trailers that we felt drawn to and speak to them about the gap between the university and the community, and then share some words of encouragement regarding God. Finally, we were to give them this “box of love” and be on our way. My friend and I were quite nervous because neither of us had spoken to strangers about God yet since both of us had just recently been saved. We were excited about the challenge though and we knew the Holy Spirit would guide us through. The first two homes we went to nobody answered. After that, we talked to a man who directed us to a different trailer stating that “they needed it more.” So, we took his advice and headed that way. We found two little girls playing outside and a young, single mother sitting inside. We told her who we where and what we were doing and then gave her the box and her daughters a bracelet that represented different aspects of God. She seemed very thankful and we felt better by helping her.

Next, we met a guy who didn’t necessarily want to talk about God, but was accepting and thankful. We went back to my truck and didn’t know what to do next because each pair was only supposed to give out two boxes. We contemplated if we should just grab another and keep going or wait on the others. We decided to grab another and we soon found out why.

As we grabbed the third box, we decided to try and find the most run-down looking trailer and go to it. We found one that looked in terrible condition and headed towards it. On the way though, we saw two boys trying to jump start a truck with a riding lawn mower. This caught our attention, and we quickly went to speak to them instead. After telling the boys who we were they got their grandmother and told us to talk to her. An elderly woman struggled to walk down the steps and asked if we were trying to sell something. I told her no, that instead we were here to give her something, and she smiled from ear to ear and invited us inside. As soon as she said this, I could feel my spirits being lifted and God getting ready to work through me. Her trailer was a little messy, but she cleared room for us on the couch and told us to sit. Right away we could tell she was thrilled that we were there and that we had made her day. My friend and I each spoke for a minute or two and told her our story about why we were out giving to the needy, and she opened up and talked to us for over 45 minutes. It was truly amazing. As her two dogs ran around excited, she told us how thankful she was that we came. “I just wish there was more young men out their like you today,” she said, almost tearing up. She told us that she was a believer in God, but hasn’t attended church since her dad died. She then went on to say how she adopted her two grandsons because the state took them away from their mom and step dad due to abuse. She said she knew God wanted her to take these kids. She was a war veteran, she’s living on social security, she had been evicted from her apartment a week earlier, she had no real family in her life anymore besides these grandchildren, and she has an upcoming biopsy to determine if she has cancer. She told us she was scared and we filled her with words of comfort through the Holy Spirit. At this point, it was more than obvious that God directed us to her trailer for a reason. Her list of problems grew bigger and bigger: one of the grandsons had just been expelled from school, her trailer has no running water and needs new floors, and she didn’t know how she was going to get groceries this month.

The more we talked with her, I was filled with an incredible feeling of the Holy Spirit working in me, and several times I had to do my best to not shed a tear. It was more than obvious that God put us in her home to give her new hope, reassurance, and comfort. We took down her information and told her we would try and get her plugged in with a good church that she felt comfortable with. We then thanked her for allowing us into her home and speaking with us for a long time. I closed our visit with a prayer and we left her home.

As soon as we walked back to my truck, my friend and I just looked at each other with the biggest smiles and couldn’t explain how awesome we felt. I would rather be doing that every Saturday of the year than out drinking and partying like everyone else I know. This was better than partying and drinking. The satisfaction, joy, and love I was filled with trumped all materialistic things I lived for in the past. God was working through me and I loved it. There were two boxes left in my truck and we took them to her as well, giving her three total.

Moral of the story: Life’s not about living for yourself. There are people out there who have it way rougher than you and struggle each and every day just to make ends meet. I challenge you to volunteer to help others and see if it doesn’t put things into perspective for you.

God Bless.

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