Author of Today’s Post is Kristin
God’s blessings continue to be bountiful in Columbus. We had the opportunity to attend a worship service this morning with the Church of All People members, with a heavy focus on maintaining the innocence and love the children have with Jesus. The congregants and shoppers of the Free Store, who waited for their 20 minute turn, sang and worshipped while they waited, a perfect way to spend the time. When their turn came, they began to peruse the store for clothing, shoes, household items, kids/babies clothing, toys and other items, with a daily limit of 30 pieces. An 85 year old volunteer arranges clothing on the wall every week, “because she has an eye for style”, and has done so for 14 years, along with other volunteer duties in the Free Store. And she does a mighty fine job at that. Within the first 2 groups of shoppers, 2 of the 4 outfits were spoken for on her display wall. It was our pleasure to help sort donated clothes, hang them up, engage with the shoppers and keep everything neat and tidy in the store.
Half of us continued the journey at Mary’s house to get her porch painted and backyard flower bed arranged. Mary is an immigrant from Ghana who does not read or write. However, she has a hand written message on her front and back door, on a lined piece of notebook paper, JESUS SAVES. She also has JESUS written in the same fashion on the door to her bathroom. She immigrated to the US 7 years ago to marry a retired US Veteran, during a visit with family, which was an unexpected union to both. Sadly, she lost him 6 short years later, and has had a bit of a struggle to keep up with her house, without family nearby (her children still reside in Ghana). The opportunity to serve this congregant, could not be bestowed to a more deserving child of God. She exudes the radiant hospitality the Church for All People encourages it’s members to show to others, each and every time she opens her door to the mission team.
The other half completed a lot of work around the Church Of All People’s property, tree trimming, weeding, trash pick up and general “sprucing up” of the joint. Like the good old Kansas weather, Ohio has been receiving a lot of rain. Because of this, it has been hard for the church to keep up with some of the yard work, so this will help staff get ahead of schedule on the list of items that has continued to pile up.
We had dinner at the Roots Café, just a short 5 min drive down the street. We were fortunate enough to meet some new members from the community who live in an “affordable food” desert. The options for acquiring food that is within their budget, and within a close geographic proximity are scarce. Every Tuesday night, Roots offers a free meal for anyone interested in joining. They also offer breakfast and lunch M-F where they have a sliding scale for payment, depending on individual circumstances. We have encountered so many of Columbus’ solutions to this problem, with multitudes of partnerships along with a relationship with the Midwest Ohio Food bank. We mingled with patrons to find out different concerns that people had within their communities, so that they could continue to stay current and active with addressing concerns. This brought up concerns with overcrowded schools, cost of transportation, affordable health insurance, drug use and drug dealing and stable housing for released prisoners exiting their halfway house. We also did crafts and activities with the children who were in attendance. It is truly remarkable how the investment in helping people with many obstacles is always at the forefront of each group we encounter here. If there is a will, there is a way. And it has been even more memorable that those who have a relationship with God are full of hope, positivity, gratefulness and happiness to share the blessings they are counting.