Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time: September 17, 2017
SJE's Street Ministry has been servicing over 30 individuals/families over these past few weeks. Thank you to the SJE community for your help through donations that allow us to continue to support those that are in need. Thank you to the parish for allowing us to do this work. If you’d like to volunteer and/or donate, please contact Alex Finta at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are in need of the following donations:
We have been given the gift of helping children in need and request the supplies necessary to properly service them. Financial donations are most welcome as they allow us to purchase items as they are needed. Sometimes things “come up” and we need to make a quick purchase. Checks may be made payable to St. John the Evangelist or donations left in the Parish Office. Checks can be made payable to 'St. John the Evangelist' and can be left in the parish office. Donations can be left in the rectory during regular business hours.
And so last night we went out again. Anticipating a good night to reconnect with the people we met last week, our preparation was filled with hope and joy. Excited to include in our packing the items that were specifically requested, we set off to Mastic Movie Land for our first stop. When we pulled into the parking lot we saw our friend Jim* stationed in front of the Family Dollar store. We set up our table and organized the bins in the vans for the distribution of clothing and toiletries. Then we gathered the items we had brought specifically for Jim*, prepared him a cup of coffee, grabbed him a bagged lunch and headed around the corner to where he was sitting. He seemed overwhelmed by our generosity and though a bit quieter than last week, he seemed extremely grateful for everything we brought. The brand-new sneakers in just his size and the unex-pected jacket that fit him to a T really seemed to touch him. With great humility and gratitude he accepted everything. We wished him a good week. As we left we asked him to pray for us and promised to pray for him. So let’s all lift Jim* in prayer. Our hearts were so full… and that was only the beginning.
All of a sudden a little boy came running toward us. His name was Frank* and he was about seven years old. With his big brown eyes and dark hair he asked who we were and what this was all about. He told us that his mom was in the car and she wanted to know. As best as you can explain our ministry to a seven-year-old, we did so and as quickly as his little legs carried him toward us, he ran back across the parking lot to explain everything to his mom. A minute later he was back. This time his questions was, “Is it for free?” With a resounding, “Absolutely yes!” we answered his question and again those little legs scur-ried back across the parking lot. Within a few minutes we were joined by Frank's* mom Marie*, his older sister Jennifer* and his younger sister Megan*. The children were bursting with excitement.
They each took a bagged lunch. We asked Marie* if she needed any clothing or toiletries. As we spoke to her it became clear to us that we need to start bringing children's cloth-ing with us. She didn’t ask for anything for herself, only for her kids. Unfortunately we could only offer the younger children toys. We were able to outfit Jennifer* with a pair of jeans and a jacket which she immediately put on as she was shivering in the night air. Noticing that Marie* was also cold, we went back to the van and found a jacket that would fit her. She also put hers on immediately. We gave socks to Frank*, but could not provide any additional clothing for the little ones. We were so upset about that. But Marie* and her family were not disappointed at all. They were thankful and happy and the conversation that followed created another connection. God was working. Those children were so much fun and brought so much joy to our little set up in the parking lot that it was clear that our God was right there with us and that His Most Holy Spirit was bearing much fruit.
Before we left Mastic Movie Land we had served 13 people. After servicing 4 more at the train station, our total came to 17 for the night.
Thank you Heavenly Father for the awesome privilege of serving Your people, our brothers and sis-ters. Thank you for providing all that we need each and every day. Fill us with Your Grace. Amen!
*All names have been changed to protect the identities of those we serve.