It is not always easy to get “excited” about doing evening outreach every week, especially when you have had a very long day. God is aware of this, and for that reason he occasionally offers us exchanges meant to encourage and to energize us. This is exactly what occurred to me last month while doing outreach. I recall being extremely tired and frustrated by the early day events that are associated with being a director of a grass roots organization. We loaded our vehicles with the food that we would be giving families who are homeless and living in motels. As soon as we finished praying, my thought was to simply remain in the background and to let others do the “heavy lifting.”
God had other plans. At the first of four motels, a woman named Ceci walked directly over to me and said that a few minutes before we arrived, she was praying that God would send her someone to help feed her kids. Ceci had run out of food stamps two days prior and had no way of feeding her children. Actually, Ceci had another option. She had done it in the past and she did not want to resort to it again. You see, Ceci has been housed on San Fernando Valley’s Sepulveda Boulevard where prostitution is still prevalent. Ceci’s prayer was a supplication that God might intervene and that she might not have to prostitute herself as she had done in the past.
As Ceci shared the graphic details of her situation, I could feel my heart wrenching. I assured her that as long as we were around, she would never have to prostitute herself ever again. As I was telling her about all of our programs, I could sense that God had used this woman to speak in to my life. It was meant to assure me that the work that we do is impactful and that when I am tired, he is able! In addition, more than anything, I should be mindful of this fact.
Ceci is now a regular at our food pantry where she receives food for her family. In getting to know Ceci, I have learned that she has an amazing voice and that she has been part of worship groups all of her life. It just so happens that there is another mom who I met who is a trained worship leader. Stay tuned… God is good!
~ Submitted by Manny Flores, executive director of North Valley Caring Services