...and then i met Jeff and Stan.
See, the first Sunday every other month our church has a Community Outreach Meal. Pastor W. or Mr. Alfred cook up a big entree, and others bring desserts and bread, and a free meal is served to all who want to come.
Most of the people who show up are homeless, including homeless families. Each volunteer has a name tag, and each person who comes is given a name tag and is escorted to a seat at a table, and served a meal. Volunteers bring them whatever they need, and we sit with them and talk to them.
As i was plating up desserts, Jeff walked up to me and Mary, who was working with me. He has been on the streets for many years, the pastors all know him, but i hadn't met him before. He can barely speak, but he indicated to me and Mary that his side is hurting, his ribs and his lungs. He asked for prayer, so we prayed over him, then made sure he sat down for a meal. Jeff looks like what you typically think of when you think about a homeless person, and he does have many health issues, made worse by the years on the streets, and the fact that he can only stay sober occasionally. He tries, though, and last night, he came for prayer and food, and for someone to actually lay hands on him and pray, because he probably doesn't get much physical contact with people. He got it last night.
Once i was done setting all the desserts out on plates, i noticed a table with only one person sitting there, so i went over and introduced myself and sat down.
Stan and i started talking. He asked if i had any brothers and sisters. Yes, i told him, i have two younger brothers.
He asked if i loved them, and i told him that indeed i did. He then told me, "I don't have any family except my father in Mississippi, who isn't in the best of health, and my sister, who hates me."
When i noted how sad it must be for him that his sister feels that way, he continued his story.
"When I was three years old, she tried to choke me to death with a pillow, and when I was eight she split the back of my head with a baseball bat. Both times, she was trying to kill me. After that, my mom kept me with her and sent my sister to live with my dad, so we wouldn't be near each other.
"Then, when our mother died, and we were at the funeral, she wouldn't even hug me. She told me to stay away from her. One of my uncles asked her why she treated me that way, and she told him she hated me because I was born, and that me being born meant she wasn't an only child any more, and so she would never like me because I was born!"
He and i commiserated about how awful it is to have such a hard, hateful heart. We discussed family, and the importance of love, and a few other things. When he left i made sure he got an extra plate of food to take with him for later, and i gave him my word i would pray for his sister's heart toward him to heal and be changed.
The evening was a long one, as we served meals, and packed meals for another pastor who works with the homeless every week to take out that evening. He gave every one of them out that night, he goes into the woods, and behind the places in the city where most of us don't even think to go, and he fed the homeless who live there the meals we had packed.
After that, the youth group and the children's choir came in and had their dinners, too. They had brought more food for their groups and all of the food got shared, and nothing went to waste as any extras will be given to people who come to the church during the week asking for help.
So i didn't get an Awww Monday picture, because of Jeff, and Stan, and the homeless children and their parents for whom we packed extra boxes, and our own children's choir and youth group, and thinking about how it all fits together that we need to raise our kids to be of service so that maybe someday there won't have to be people who wait for the Community Outreach Meal to get a good dinner, to find people who will sit and talk with them and hear their stories, to find someone willing to lay hands on them and pray. We all need that stuff every day, not just once every couple of months.
Area Code Day -- US (went into effect this day in 1951)
Day of Russian Militsiya -- Russia
Dia de la Tradicion -- Argentina (birth anniversary of Jose Hernandez)
Edmund Fitzgerald Memorial Beacon Lighting -- Split Rock Lighthouse, Two Harbors, MN, US (memorial for the Edmund Fitzgerald and all who have lost their lives in Great Lakes shipwrecks)
First Cry of Independence Day / Los Santos Uprising Day -- Panama (an official flag day)
Forget-Me-Not Day -- informal day to spend a bit of time with relatives you don't see often
Goddess of Reason's Day (Revolutionary France)
Guinness World Records' Day -- celebrating ordinary people who do extraordinary things, go try for a record! anniversary of the day in 1951 that Sir Hugh Beaver got the idea to create a book supplying answers to much debated questions, such as which game birds are the fastest fliers
The Guinness World Records Book now holds the title of the best-selling copyrighted book of all time, and is one of the most frequently stolen books from US libraries!
Hari Pahlawan -- Indonesia (Heroes' Day/Warrior's Day)
Heir to the Throne Day -- Tuvalu (Prince of Wales birth anniversary celebration)
Martini -- Ancient Latvian Calendar (beginning of winter festival that starts on Martinmas Eve)
Maputo Day -- Maputo, Mozambique
National Toothpaste Appreciation Day -- not official, but i'm sure the dentifrice industry loves this one
National Vanilla Cupcake Day
National Young Readers' Week -- US, sponsored by Pizza Hut's BookIt! Program and the Library of Congress; listen to a different celebrity read a book each day through the 14th
Sleep Dangerously Night -- internet generated, a night to switch sides of the bed with your spouse and see who falls out of bed first
St. Andrew Avellino's Day (Patron of apoplexics, for a holy death, stroke victims; Badlato, Naples, and Sicily, Italy; stroke victims; for a holy death; against apoplexy, strokes, and sudden death)
St. Martin's Eve -- Germany; Portugal (Martimas Eve)
Tori No Ichi -- Japan (a "rooster day" in which to wish good luck and prosperity at temple and shrine ceremonies around the country)
Tree Festival Day -- Tunisia (equivalent to Arbor Day, as well as an agricultural festival)
USMC Day -- US (anniversary of founding in 1775, includes the Marine Corps Birthday Ball)
Wish-Spoiling Sports Day -- Fairy Calendar (Imps, Gremlins, and grumpy Goblins)
World Orphans Day -- originally an initiative of The Stars Foundation; cannot find a current sponsor, although there is a Facebook page for this day, and a site where you can find out more about orphans in the developing world
World Science Day for Peace and Development -- UN
Establishment of Badlands National Park, SD, US, 1978
Establisnment of the United States Marine Corps, 1775
Ellen Pompeo, 1969
Vanessa Angel, 1963
Neil Gaiman, 1960
MacKenzie Phillips, 1959
Roland Emmerich, 1955
Ann Reinking, 1949
Donna Fargo, 1949
Tim Rice, 1944
Russel Charles Means, 1940
Russel Means, 1939
Roy Scheider, 1932
Richard Burton, 1925
Jane Froman, 1907
Claude Rains, 1889
Friedrick Voon Schiller, 1759
Oliver Goldsmith, 1728
William Hogarth, 1697
Martin Luther, 1483
Microsoft Windows, 1983 (sometimes so slow, it's called "win-doze")
"Sesame Street", 1969
Today in History:
Rene Descartes has the dreams that inspire his Meditations on First Philosophy, 1619
The Dutch formally cede New Netherlands to the English; it is renamed New York, 1674
France ends forced worship of God, substitute the Goddess of Reason, 1793
The US state of Kentucky outlaws dueling, 1801
Stanley presumes that he has met Livingston in Ujiji, Central Africa, 1871
The first Woman's Christian Temperance Union meeting is held in Boston, 1891
The first Gideon Bible is put in a hotel room, 1908
Hirohito ascends the throne as Emperor of Japan, 1928
The Hope Diamond is donated to the Smithsonian Institution by New York diamond merchant Harry Winston, 1958
The 729-foot-long freighter SS Edmund Fitzgerald sinks during a storm on Lake Superior, killing all 29 crew on board, 1975
A 106-car Canadian Pacific freight train carrying explosive and poisonous chemicals from Windsor, Ontario, Canada derails in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada just west of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, causing a massive explosion and the largest peacetime evacuation in Canadian history and one of the largest in North American history, 1979
The communist regime of Bulgaria falls, 1989
The "Codex Leicester", the only Leonardo da Vinci manuscript owned in the United States and the only one in the world still in private hands, was sold at auction to Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, who paid $30.8 million, 1994
Thousands of people people march toward the royal palace of Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur to hand over a memorandum to the King demanding electoral reform, 2007
Vietnam evacuates about 600,000 citizens under the threat of Typhoon Haiyan, 2013
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