Lessons Learned

I have loved this journey on which I have embarked. I've learned so much, and I am so grateful to this ministry and to the people who love it as much as I do. Let's review some of the things I've learned.

Lesson #1 - First impressions are not everything. Bad days and awkward moments happen to everyone. Always give a second chance. And a third chance. And a fourth chance. Never give up on someone. Be kind, even when they are not kind. People will always surprise you, if you give them the chance.
Lesson #2 - Everyone just wants and needs love. It's true. It may sound cheesy and like a Beatles song, but it is 100% true. The transformative power of unconditional love is amazing. Try it. Love people without expecting anything in return. It will change your life and theirs. "No greater love has no man than this, that he who lay down his life for his friends." [John 15:13]

Lesson #3 - Know your own boundaries. Constantly giving and giving is tiring. Know when to say no and have down time for yourself. It is important to allow yourself to be loved and be filled up, because only then will you be able to give love as you have been given. "Love your neighbor as you love yourself." Learn to love yourself, or how else will you know how to love your neighbor?

Lesson #4 - Always hope. Always, always, always hope. Have faith that positive change will happen, that God will move and work and Love as only He can. Never give up--on anything or anyone. "Greater things have yet to come, greater things are still to be done in this city."

These are just the basics. I learn lessons everyday. That is what makes life an adventure...we are always learning and growing. No matter if we are rich or poor, young or old, we can always change and grow. We can always love. And that's the coolest part about it. "Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails."

Grace and Peace

The Same Kind of Different As Me

Go buy this book right now and read it. It is one of the best books I have ever read. Seriously. I know that everyone says this and you think, "yeah, right," but I am not exaggerating. Same Kind of Different As Me follows the stories of two men--a black, homeless man and a wealthy, white man--and the unlikely, incredible friendship that blossomed when their paths crossed.

It sheds an incredible, unique light onto the issue of homelessness and poverty, and life in the deep south in the 1960s and 70s.

I'll tell you a little bit about the story without giving too much away. :)

Ron Hall was a successful businessman who had recently started a new career as an art dealer, making his salary triple. Ron had a wife and two children, and a nice house on the nicest street. He was living the "American dream."

Denver Moore grew up on a plantation in the deep south, working as a sharecropper from birth. The Civil Rights Movement had skipped that small community in Louisiana. It was modern-day slavery. He could earn no money, and he owned nothing but the shirt on his back.

Ron and his wife, Deborah were involved in a tennis club. A couple they knew invited them to a Bible study. After several meetings, Ron and Deborah came to know Jesus as their Savior. Deborah was diligent in her pursuit of God. She began volunteering at a homeless shelter, and begged Ron to go with her. He started going, begrudgingly at first. This is where they both meet Denver.

Denver was dubious of the happy white lady when she first began speaking to him at the shelter. He had never spoken to a white lady before in his life (well, he had once, but that incident had left him nearly dead. Needless to say, he never tried again). But she was persistent, almost pestering.

He didn't know how she found out his name, but she had. Every week Deborah would say, "Denver, God has a calling on your life." He told her to stop "messin'" with him because he was a mean man. "You are not a mean man, and I don't ever want to hear you say that," she'd said.

This was how the relationship started. Deborah talking to Denver when no one else would, and begging Ron to do the same thing.

I'm not telling any more of the story because you MUST buy it and read it. But, I will tell you, I cried like a baby from the time they met Denver until the last page. I went through boxes of tissues and had mountains of white balls all over my floor for a week.
It is a powerful and beautiful story of redemption, and the transformation that occurs when one is offered unconditional love.

This story encouraged my heart, as I have started volunteering with the same kind of people as Denver. They can be reached, and my life will never be the same--the adventure of a lifetime!