Ok so I’m on my study break and felt compelled to talk about what happened yesterday. I mean I wanted to talk about it right after it happened but 1. I wanted it to settle in on what actually happened and 2. I was just way too exhausted. So anyways, my roommate Ralph and I went to the homeless shelter with our church college small group, and a group of about 8 of us helped to cook and feed breakfast/lunch to the homeless of Stockton. You know the saying where you go out and try to bless other people and wind up getting blessed yourself? Well I experience that first hand.
I’ve never been to something like this before, and at first it went a little slow. We were all just cooking and helping prepping breakfast, and then we opened the kitchen and those who lived in the homeless shelter came to us and got food, first was the kids and then the adults were allowed to come up. I helped serve people rice; it was like a fireman chain where we filled plates with food, and I got the rice (not because I was the only Asian there lol) but even that didn’t touch me yet. What really got it started was when I was alone, helping pack the van to go out into the streets. Then a few homeless women came up to me and asked me if we had more coffee. That was the first time I was spoken directly by any of them and I helped them get some coffee, and immediately I saw just how grateful they were. For a mini Styrofoam cup of coffee! But that’s when God really started to work. We went out to the streets with our extra food that we didn’t serve, and set up a table for anyone to come up to and get food. While setting it up, I started to get the oatmeal cauldron (yes it was basically a cauldron) and set it up so I could serve it to the people. But then I was taken away from there to help out with the drinks, and by the time I was done, another girl had taken the oatmeal duties and I was left with nothing, or so it seemed.
I wound up with a couple hundred paper lunch bags, all of them had a banana and a ham&cheese sandwich in them. Basically what I had to do was give everyone who wanted one a sack lunch, which was usually difficult because the people would get breakfast food first, and their hands would be totally full with food and I would be at the end offering them more. But I saw this as such a blessing for me because I’m the kind of person who loves to interact with people in this case. I mean I don’t really like meeting new people and making new friends super quick (yes introverted) but in this case I wanted to talk directly and look into the eyes of those who we were serving, and God gave me that opportunity.
Also, when I grew up, I don’t know about you guys but my parents gave me the impression that homeless people were dangerous and scary folks. But personally, my whole experience just changed that perception. I mean sure there are desperate ones who will do anything for drugs or alcohol but then there are those who were just misfortunate and things just didn’t go their way. There were a couple of people who I saw there who just broke my heart, and I will never forget their faces and how grateful they were for food. One of them was an elderly Asian man, who was just so gnarled and wrinkled and helpless. The one image that I will never forget though is a family of 5 coming to our table asking for food. There were two parents, and then 3 kids, 1 boy and 2 girls. One of the girls was still in a stroller and the other two kids were no older than 6 or 7. They came to our tables all hungry, but seemed soooo content with what they received. They asked for sack lunches and because I felt so much compassion for them, I offered them a few more for later, but they just smiled at me and kindly declined. How is it possible that there are people out there who have that kind of a heart? Where they have literally nothing, and yet they turn down extras because they know that there are other people who need it as well. How lucky are we to be in the situations we are in. Right now I am sitting in the library at a $40,000 a year university studying for my future, and waiting to get food in 20 minutes. There are people out there who have no idea when their next meal will come, but are content with what they have in the present.
I know this is a freaking long post, but God spoke to me in VOLUMES with this experience. My eyes have been opened because I know that I have been put in a good position to help others out. And just like I was saying, I went expecting to bless other people but they wound up blessing my life in ways that words just cannot describe.