Day Six JournalAnother day of wonderful experiences for our particular team. The twelve of us who had been reassigned to the Salvation Army Center at Ground Zero for two days, were reassigned today to the Lamb's Church where the other six of our team have been for the past two days. The Lamb's Church is located right off Broadway and is the old Lambs Club and theater where actors stayed many years ago. It is where Lerner and Lowe met, and a favorite place of respite for Fred Astaire. Purchased by the Nazarene Church some years ago, it is a church and center for outreach for them.
Because of 9/11 it has become a place for the distribution of toys and gifts for those families who have suffered economically, and has been staffed by volunteers who act as "shoppers" assisting those families with wonderful Christmas gifts and counseling. Our happy band joined the melee there with four of us offering very brief counseling as we shared the best gift of all . . . the story of Christmas.
I'm sure that we'll have the opportunity to share what others have experienced there, but since I was one of the four, I'd like to share my four hour experience at this wonderful center. I had the opportunity to share with 10 people in three hours, and was introduced to 8 very strong evangelical believers who are struggling this year. None of the 10 have suffered personal loss as a result of 9/11, but each has found it more difficult to find a new job since then, and several had been previously laid off. One grandmother who is raising her grandchildren shared that she'd lost her son earlier this year. He'd been murdered and she missed him terribly this first Christmas, and we cried and prayed for nearly a half hour. I gave her a couple of different bibles and children's books, and as she was about to leave she turned to me and said
"At the funeral home after the service I went to another room for a few minutes. As I was leaving the first room,
I placed the urn containing my son's ashes on a chair and said 'STAY !!!' and left. When I returned five minutes later,
it was still there. I have to tell you that it was the first time in 33 years that that boy listened to me !!!.
We laughed and hugged, cried some more and then laughed again as she went on her way..
I was free and able to pray with all ten, and marvel at the strength of character each showed in the face of their particular adversity. Each was feeling great economic pressure, but none were without hope, and each seemed more concerned for their witness than their situation. What a blessing to me and to others they come in contact with during the holiday season. What a joy to be a part of a ministry even for a few hours that reached out to them and gave them a refreshing cup of water and assistance where it counts.
There were 4 who were single mothers with a total of 15 children between them if I count correctly, and the oldest of the four was 26. Each has made mistakes in their lives, but each was devoted to their children and each was so thankful to be able to come to the Lambs Church and receive nice gifts for their children. All took home new bibles and when I asked one what she wanted for Christmas herself, she said "to be able to live my life for Christ first, and everything else below that". She somehow manages to have the child old enough to be in school in a Christian School, and is planning to send them all there if God provides the way.