Even in the midst of such uncertain and difficult times, there's hope building on College Hill through relationships unfolding more and more everyday. We are out about 3 times a week, for 2-4 hours at a time, delivering hot meals or household food/goods boxes, and praying over our neighbors. We've had the opportunity to stop and chat with so many, and not just those we are directly serving.
We currently serve about 40 households, over 150 people in total. We have several prayer partners in the neighborhood and throughout the surrounding community, including Blue Ridge. So many have dropped off supplies, assembled craft activities, and helped deliver goods and meals to homes. The Agape center donated canned goods, frozen meats, eggs, and children's crafts for ALL our homes in need. Downtown restaurants, including The White Hart Cafe, Jimmy's on the James, Shoemakers, and Rendez-Vous cook dinner meals twice a week and we deliver to our families. Cotton Connections approached us and is providing team shirts and shirts for the children in our community, free of charge.
Several have commented that in all their many years here on College Hill, no ministry has come directly to doors and delivered needed items. There are plenty of places to go to receive help but to have a neighbor show up, chat, and bring items to each house, is just so special and so needed. Single moms are so grateful to not have to take their children with them to the grocery store, or on public transportation to get to the store, and the children are excited to see what fun items we have in the bags for them.
We get together as a team to pray before heading out each day and we cast the vision of leaning into the Holy Spirit. This week, one of our young men expressed his concern over us not directly preaching the gospel. We assured him that is definitely our hope and goal for our community, but it's not a strict process of praying with every household that we are following. We don't want to push our beliefs on anyone, but we have our hearts actively listening to hear what God wants us to do next as we go out in the neighborhood.
Later that same day, we were delivering hot meals and had a couple extras. An older gentleman was limping down the street and we stopped to offer him one. He happily accepted and explained his knee-replacement surgery was put off until June because of COVID-19. He's in a lot of pain and concerned about not being able to work and provide for his family. He said he knows God is a good God and will take care of him, but it's just hard. He looked right at the young man who had questioned the degree of evangelism in our current ministry earlier and asked him to pray for the community right there. God has a great way of reminding us that if we follow and obey Him, He will move hearts and minds.
The hope is to build relationships and disciple those who come to serve as well. One young lady came to help assemble outgoing food boxes for Easter weekend and she had lost her job just days before. We were able to listen to her struggles and pray over her current situation. She was beaming and so excited to be a part of something so much bigger than her current struggles. She said it brought her needed perspective.
God is moving, and it is exciting to reflect His light during such a dark and uncertain time.