It’s hard to believe that yesterday was Wednesday and that today is our final day of ministry here in Portland. The week has literally flown by.
Yesterday morning was like the other mornings in our week; we were back working with the children of Shepherd’s Door. Our students have really come to love spending time with these children. It will be sad to leave them today. We know that they are in a good place at Shepherd’s Door, which is an excellent program and facility really doing the work necessary to help the women transition back into society as functioning members and good parents. I can also tell you that as leaders, we are impressed with the work and effort our students have given to make Kid’s Club the best it could be. Our students spent extra time working on the skits, crafts, games, and songs to make them the best they could be. It has been a joy to watch our students serving here at Shepherd’s Door this week.
“It’s the lunches in the park group!”
That is a what one gentleman told us as we entered the Waterfront Park to hand out meals to hungry people. We once again broke into separate groups for this activity. We were all able to find a few folks to sit and talk with as we shared our lunches. This hour proved to be a good experience once again as it pushed us out of our comfort zones and allowed us to sit with and reach out to people we would usually either ignore or maybe go out of our way to avoid. It is important for us to break down stereotypes we might have of homelessness and learn that simple acts of kindness can go along way.
Homeless services at Union Gospel Mission was the next part of our day. After finishing lunch, we volunteered for a few hours with Union Gospel Mission in their homeless services. Several members of our group helped sort through clothing donations while the rest served sandwiches, pastries, juice, and water to the guests coming into the mission’s day room.
Enter “Big Al.”
Alphonso, or “Big Al” is a volunteer at the mission. He is a larger than life character, full of life and the love of God. Meeting him was a highlight for sure. At one point, Big Al got worked up with love and joy that he began preaching and singing. He spoke of repentance, grace, and faith in Jesus that leads to life greater than what most are experiencing living on the streets. Apparently, Big Al has spent some time on the streets before meeting Jesus and having his life turned around. It’s safe to say that for those of us in the room, Big Al took us to church. You don’t come across people like Big Al very often, but when you do, you know that you are spending time with someone special.
Food carts here we come.
Last night was our free night, and we got to go down to a food cart area for dinner. We got to choose from around 12 different food carts. Thai, Indian, Korean-Hawaiin, salad carts, burgers, and more. Each cart often had a variety of dishes done with a unique twist. It was fun to try different foods and to see which students were adventurous and which ones were not quite ready for the exotic. I think everyone enjoyed themselves, and everyone found something to eat that they liked.
JKPC Glo-Golf Classic 2017.
After dinner, we headed out to a glow in the dark mini golf course for the first ever JKPC Go-Golf Classic. We are pleased to report that Elijah took the championship, with Blaise coming in a strong second. We congratulate these two fine mini-golfers for a vigorous and fair competition. They are models for the next generation in effort, humility, and fair play.
Oh yeah, after the golf classic, Harrison and Tavia ate salt and vinegar crickets.
Keep Portland Weird.