Jesus told us, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” The word blessed can mean happy. Doing something that makes you happy is kind of the definition of fun. I can tell you from experience, Jesus did not lie. Now the world has us all excited about receiving. And receiving things can be pretty happy sometimes, especially if we are in a tight spot and they fill a crying need. Well, to be the one who gets to fill that need is even happier! We don’t have much of anything of our own. What we do have, we share. So to do this ministry is such a joy. We have time and some cooking skill, so April and Kevin and I cooked yesterday. And I get to be a delivery person for what you all give, and thus, share in the fun!
Today is St. Nicholas Day. Last night we gave out the dollar coins to the people to celebrate this. I asked for special prayer, because last year things got out of hand and about $300 was stolen. Now I was there to give it away, so it wasn’t a loss to the ministry, but it wasn’t a good scene and wasn’t good for the soul of the persons who stole it. God answers prayer. We didn’t have such a huge crowd. I waited until we were just about done serving food. I did not try to tell the story to the crowd all at once. I did not carry the rolls of coins in a bag. I wore my winter coat that was entirely too warm, but had the right, zippered pockets, and carried a few rolls of coins in each pocket at a time. I just wandered through the people and handed out three dollars to each, remembering their faces. Soon someone asked why there were three coins. So I told them about St. Nicholas inheriting three bags of gold and the three daughters of the poor man. The poor man could not afford dowries for his daughters, so Bishop Nicholas, on the eve of when each of them were to be sold into slavery threw a bag of gold up and over, so that it fell down into the hearth, thus providing dowries for each of these girls in turn. Someone else asked, so I told them again, only this time I mentioned the St. Nicholas’ Cross that you see on all pawnbrokers’ shops, because he redeemed the maidens, and one always hopes one can redeem one’s possessions from the pawnbroker. I had way more than enough coins for everybody. I ended up giving to people twice and some more than twice. Steve and I started to go to the other end of the park and distributed there.
I went back and got more coins. Anthony went with me and we circled two blocks to where people were camped and gave out coins. I handed three coins to one older man saying, “In honor of St. Nicholas, God bless you.” He looked at me kind of startled. Anthony told him that they were dollar coins. The man was just so surprised and grateful. He said, “I’m a Muslim, but I understand some things about Christianity and you’re a righteous man. God bless you.” Then he said to Anthony, “Stick with him. Out here, it could get messy.” I turned back to him and gave him three more dollars and asked him to pray for me. He had tears in his eyes.
When we got back to the benches where we serve, the Project HOME outreach van was there. I reached in the window and gave the volunteers coins for St. Nicholas Day. One of them had come out with us a couple of years ago as it turns out. It apparently was when I was in the hospital, because someone else was in charge. She had very nice things to say about The King’s Jubilee and they learned some things about St. Nicholas.
I also talked to Sadie. Sadie and Daniel are two of the sweetest people you would ever want to meet. Please keep them in your prayers. They have had the worst couple of years. Daniel wasn’t allowed to come out on the damp night, because he has walking pneumonia. Sadie just had surgery for stomach cancer and has started chemo. Earlier this year she had a heart attack and stents and a broken foot. Their 14 year old special needs daughter was repeatedly raped by a fellow special needs student. They had finally moved off the street, then lost their place, because they had taken in a brother-in-law who had a criminal record that got the whole family thrown out of public housing. They were being good Christians to help their nieces and nephews, and they get penalized for it. They are off the street again. Thank God. They maintain a positive and cheerful attitude through it all. They are amazing people! Daniel’s Birthday is tomorrow. I sent extra coins home with Sadie to help celebrate.
Thank you all for enabling me to deliver a bit of happiness to some of our brothers and sisters on the street. We really are having fun!
Be blessed! Have some fun!