By Larry Short
I wanted to provide an update on our second “Freezing Nights” project, which took place last Monday evening.
We hosted 26 local homeless guests here in our facility, offering a warm place to sleep, good food, and a listening ear. This ministry is being undertaken in conjunction with the work of the Puyallup Homeless Coalition.
In addition to hosting nearly twice as many guests, there were the following other contrasts to our first event, two weeks’ earlier:
- Almost twice as many volunteers participated, and we were substantially better organized.
- We had a more intentional focus on evangelism. Bob Hedge shared pocket New Testaments (courtesy of the Gideons) and sat down and chatted with those guests willing to talk with him about the Bible. Brian Holthe (our new coordinator) shared his testimony during a pre-breakfast devotional. And Bob Walsh and I were privileged to lead our guests in worship in the sanctuary for nearly an hour on Monday evening.
- Where our first event was pretty quiet and uneventful, this event was quite different due to an altercation that had occurred between some of the guests at one of the pick-up points. Several individuals were seriously inebriated, which created some unique challenges for the evening and late night shifts.
I want to thank all the volunteers and donors whose efforts and prayers made this event possible. (We really felt the impact of your prayers, especially between about 11 p.m. and 1 a.m.!) I don’t have space here to list everyone (and would probably miss someone anyway). But you know who you are … and you are deeply appreciated! I believe the heart of God is pleased by this very rubber-meets-the-road ministry to our community. I have no doubt you will someday hear His “Well done, thou good and faithful servant!”
I also want to thank the children of this church, who created beautiful and thoughtful cards for each of our guests. We placed these in lunches. What a great love offering!
So, what’s next? We are debriefing with Freezing Nights leadership (and other churches) next Tuesday on how to help moderate the behavior of some of the more disruptive individuals. We have committed to them that we will host the group one Monday night per month. Our next Freezing Nights is therefore scheduled for two nights after Christmas, on December 27.
Please continue saving warm clothing (especially socks); gently used top sheets, towels, and wash clothes; personal (hotel-sized) toiletries; used Christian books and Bibles; and other items for this ministry, not to mention food. You can bring these items any time during regular office hours to the church office, designated for “Freezing Nights.”
In addition, please pray about joining with us on December 27 to pray for this ministry and serve our guests in whatever way you can, even if by simply “being present” with them and providing a listening ear.