Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Serving Our Peeps

I'm sitting here at my desk listening to freezing rain as it hits my window. We are in for quite a storm tonight. While the world outside my window is dangerous and wet and cold with blowing and drifting snow, I am warm and cozy inside my home. My fire is lit, I'm wearing my favorite snugly robe and I just finished a delicious homemade dinner.

Others are not so lucky. I met many of them a couple weeks ago when I had the privilege of serving at our city's homeless shelter.

When people think of Traverse City, most people imagine the beautiful beaches, Cherry Festivals, Sleeping Bear Dunes and unique downtown shops. They don't consider that we also have our own homeless population.

While Traverse City has a homeless shelter, it doesn't meet the needs of our community. To solve that problem, a group of people developed a program called Safe Harbor that provide sanctuary to the homeless. Safe Harbor
rotates among a network of local churches each week from November until May. Each participating church recruits members to prepare meals, visit with the guests, clean the facility, serve meals and spend the night to ensure the safety of all.

The night I spent was eye-opening. I learned that people are the same no matter their circumstances. They have hopes for their future, they dream about a better life. They follow sports and news. And they listen to a little ZZ Top. Like Disco Don.

When I arrived, Disco Don came up to my car listening to his ipod and doing a little dance. (And, yes. I said ipod, because everyone needs their tunes.) Disco Don offered me his ear buds so I could enjoy the song he was boogieing to. I politely declined, explaining that I could hear it just fine from where I was. He then said to me, "You know Ma'am. I love Jesus. And I like my smokes. And I love God, but I like to drink." I smiled and said that I also love Jesus and enjoy a drink every now and then and he danced happily away.

I also met a man and woman who are planning to get married in April. They were talking about the details of there wedding: who is going to be Best Man, what kind of dress she wants to wear, hoping their friends will be able to make it. Why had it never occurred to me that homeless people meet, fall in love, and plan a future together? Just like you and I.

Then there was Philip. Philip has nicely trimmed hair, white, straight teeth. He's smart as a whip and very well-read. He discussed the primaries, gas prices and shared his opinions on many other subjects. His clothing was clean, brand-name and he was very well-mannered. And yet, he has no job, he has no car, he has no home.

I met Carol who was certain all of the women at the shelter were conspiring against her. She refused to sleep in the same room as them because she feared for her life. Instead she made up a cot outside the parish library and stayed there all evening. Even to eat her meals.

When I sat down to talk to her, she asked me about the business I am in (real estate) and proceeded to tell me how standards and practices of the real estate and mortgage industries need to change. She explained in great detail how she knew there is a recession around the corner and offered her suggestions as to how it can be avoided. And yet, she is homeless.

I met mothers and father. Grandparents. A young gentleman who works hard every single day but just can't seem to get ahead.

Another of the guests goes out every night around 10pm and spends three or four house collecting beer and pop cans to return for money.

I met very young adults who have family in town. And yet, they are homeless.

As I sat in my chair during my "awake" shift in the early hours, I listened to the quiet (and sometimes loud) snoring of these men and women who through some bad habits (drugs and alcohol), poor choices (drinking under age, not paying tickets) and other more complicated reasons (mental illnesses) do not have the blessings that I have.

It is my belief that our purpose in this world is to serve others. Whether it is our own families, a depressed co-worker, a sick neighbor, the homeless. We can"buy a man to fish" or "teach a man to fish", we just need to get that guy a fish.

Our challenge is to touch people's lives. In whatever way we can, every single day. And then go home and shake our groove thang like Disco Don.

I wrote this post originally a couple years ago at my other blog Sisters of a Different Order. Since then, I have had the pleasure of serving guests with Safe Harbor at different churches. The Faith Group will be taping a show all about serving our brothers and sisters in need next week. Please pray for our special guest, and for those who really need our help so much.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Transforming Your City

Can you imagine pulling up to a bank drive-thru and having the teller offer to pray for you? It's happening in cities throughout our country thanks to the work of Market Place Ministries. In this episode of The Faith Group, we talk to Deanna Cannon and Lori King about their ministry Transformation Traverse City.

Watch in on Up North Channel 97 Wednesday 10:30pm, Fridays at 7pm, and Sunday at 10:30am, or online right here.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Being The Best Version of Ourselves

In 2010, we challenge ourselves to have a God-filled year. A year that has resolutions based on being the person God wants each of us to be. You can view the show right here.

We also discuss not just "going through the motions" as sung by Matthew West. Such a great message!

We would love to hear what your resolutions are this year. Please leave us a comment!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Celebrations

Get into the TRUE holiday spirit with us by watching our two Christmas shows online.

Our first show we talk about Christmas traditions and our scriptures goal for 2010. We also have the most beautiful music by Carrie Hart sung in the studio. You can watch it here.

The second show is Jane Cavender and D.C. Cavender present this special edition featuring musical performances by New Hope Community Church members. Check them out here!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Operation Christmas Child

We are on location this week! Jane, Carrie and Judi (along with Logan!) visited the work site where hundreds of volunteers gathered to pack Christmas boxes to send to children who may otherwise receive nothing. It was a very moving experience to see all of the people--old and young alike--who were there working to make a difference in the lives of children across the world.

You can watch it online here, or view it on Up North Channel 2 Sunday at 10:30 AM, Wednesday at 10:30 PM and Friday at 7:00 PM.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Giving Thanks.

Being grateful is easy when things are going smoothly in our lives. But when there's a bump in the road, that's when we really need to take a long, hard look at what God has done for us and live our lives with genuine thanksgiving.

Our special guest Sarah Holmes tells her story of being a mom to four children, including a son who survived the impossible, with grace and affection. You can watch the show here.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

How Do You Pray?

How do you pray? Do you have special quiet time in the morning? Are you like me and you chat with God all throughout the day? Do you journal your prayers so you can look back and recognize where and how God worked in your life?

Some people are intimidated by prayer. They have so much reverance for the Lord, that they fail to go to him as their Father in Heaven. Others are able to pray on the spot in front of others as they feel led by the Holy Spirit.
When I was growing up, we had "family prayer" every Friday night. All eight kids and mom and dad would kneel in a circle and take turns praying. As I have grown older, I have backed away from praying in front of others, but have made the decision to change that. My own little family has begun our own "family prayer" tradition at dinner each evening. I can already see the difference it is making.

Please share with us how you pray now, how your prayer life has evolved over the years or prayers you need from us. Make sure you watch this week's show on prayer with our special guest Jennifer Stoll. You can find it here.