Please continue to pray for Mollie Mostert as she continues her mission work in Africa. Her words: “I’m fine, having a wonderful, productive time.”
Mollie Mostert requests that we pray for Judy in Eldoret, Kenya. She has stage four cancer. Medical care there is poor. Prayers needed for God to comfort her and for pain relief.
Tonight’s midweek topic:
HUMILITY THAT LIFTS OUR BURDENS!
What “Burdens” do you feel yourself carrying in life? What burdens are you tempted to feel? Did you know that our readiness to embrace the humility of Jesus is key to our ability to lift these burdens from our shoulders? Tonight we will examine how.
Children’s classes: Nursery through 5th Grade and a study hall for those with homework to finish.
INTERN POSITION AVAILABLE
The Athens Church of Christ is looking for an intern to work with our teen girls as well as serve alongside the current ministry leaders part-time in the teen ministry. This is a paid position and would start immediately. This position would require you to be available during the summer. If you are interested, contact Cindy Pursell at 706-713-6727 or email at email@example.com.
2019 GIVING STATEMENTS AVAILABLE TONIGHT
Look for Dana Chacon in the courtyard before and after midweek service to get your 2019 Giving Statement today. If you would like to have it emailed to you, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
On December 20th we delivered six twin mattresses to one of our former guest families. Long time Family Promise of Athens volunteer Pete Nicholls and I went by our storage unit to load up nice, thick comfy twin mattresses that were recently donated to Family Promise to replace the thin RV mattresses we had given them when they moved into their apartment. It was so good to see this particular family six months after they graduated from our shelter program. This was the first family I was able to help move into their new home. The children were so excited to get upgraded beds, especially the two teenage boys who needed more support for their growing bodies. We brought these two entire beds (frames, box springs, and mattresses) while we just brought replacement mattresses for the four younger children. The work went quickly with the children helping to carry the mattresses and bed parts.
After we got the rooms reset we loaded the older mattresses onto the trailer, wondering aloud what to do with them. While we worked with straps to tie down the load a group of neighborhood kids rode up on bikes. They began climbing all over the trailer and mattresses, asking, “What are you doing with all of these?” It must have been quite a sight – six mattresses stacked on the back of a trailer parked on the street in front of their apartment building. I joked with the nearest climber “Do you need one?”
“I don’t have a bed,” was his quiet, almost bashful reply.
“Really? Do you need one?” I inquired in a more serious tone. He nodded. I said, “Go ask your mom.”
In a flash he was gone, pedaling up the hill, straight to the door of his apartment. The other kids were still clamoring on the trailer and piling atop the mattresses. I glanced towards the apartment and saw the kid talking to his mom, pointing towards us. I walked towards them and the mom came outside. I introduced myself and made her the offer, “Do you need a mattress? He said he needed one.”
“We could use some,” she said, mirroring her son’s almost bashful demeanor.
“How many do you need?”
“Can I have four?” she quietly asked.
I walked back down towards the trailer. He beat me there. By the time I arrived he was jumping on the trailer, proclaiming, “This one is mine! I’m getting a bed!” As we undid the straps he grabbed the topmost mattress, balancing it on his head, carefully crossing the street towards his apartment. Pete followed after, another mattress balanced on his head in a similar fashion. Another kid grabbed a mattress and followed, and then another.
While the prizes were being hauled away another one of our former guests (who also lives in the same neighborhood) walked over and gave me a huge hug. “I thought that was you!” she exclaimed. “What are y’all doing?”
I explained that we had brought some replacement beds to another graduate of Family Promise. She inquired about what was going to happen to the last two mattresses that were still on the trailer. I asked if she needed them. “I could definitely use them.” Almost immediately one of the kids who had been climbing on the trailer asked if he and his brother could take them to her house. I said, “of course.”
“For a dollar?” he asked with a smirk over his shoulder.
I laughed, “if I have a dollar, sure.” Before long he was skipping back. I pulled the sole dollar from my wallet and handed it to him. “Good job, thanks!”
Pete and I rolled up the straps and marveled that we were able to get all of the mattresses to people who needed them. We didn’t have to figure out where to store them, or as a last resort, where to dispose of them.
As we drove through the neighborhood in deepening twilight, lights were coming on in apartment windows all around us. I wondered aloud how many other children here would be going to sleep without beds tonight. And then my thoughts expanded to other neighborhoods in our city and to other cities and towns in our state.
Poverty affects all of life.
While many individuals and families in our town are homeless, many others have homes but can’t afford more than the bare essentials. When their children are little they sleep in cribs or share beds with siblings, but as they get older and outgrow their cribs or “baby beds” it is difficult for many families to afford to buy a “big kid” bed. As a result children end up doubling or tripling up or sleeping on the couch. In some cases, older children sleep on a pile of blankets, pillows, or clothes on the floor. Even worse, if a family is ever evicted, they often lose everything. If no storage unit is available or if friends can’t store a families’ belongings, everything the family owns is piled in the front yard to be picked over by neighbors, lost to the elements, or hauled off to the dump. When finding a new place to live these families are literally starting over with nothing but the clothes on their backs. It’s one of the hidden costs of poverty. Anymore just having a job and an apartment is not enough to afford to live in most communities in our nation.
Today was a good day! Those who donated mattresses last month when we expressed a need not only filled our storage unit, but today helped three families! The six mattresses we took from storage were multiplied as we are able to provide beds for twelve children in one neighborhood.
Thank you for supporting the work of Family Promise of Athens as we seek to alleviate family homelessness in our community one family (and one bed) at a time!
We are a proud affiliate of Family Promise National.
Homelessness is hard. Volunteering is easy.
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Nathan C. Byrd, III, PhD Assistant Director
Family Promise of Athens (formerly Interfaith Hospitality Network)