This post originally posted on The Jesters Pub on October 4, 2005
Last night was one of the most memorable of my life and once again a reminder of the blessings in my life and the blessings that God pours out on us when we simply give of ourselves. I was invited by Mary Rude one of my high school volunteers to join her and her family in downtown tampa where they feed homeless people each Monday night. I was eagerly looking forward to finally joining them downtown and being a part of their incredible ministry.
I brought about five pairs of jeans and some shirts to give out and they were snatched up right away. Basically Mary's family brings hot meals and desserts and sack lunches, which they pay for themselves, every Monday night and there are literally about 60 to 80 people who line-up to receive the food each Monday. I became a server of the hot dogs. They were the most popular. It was amazing and heartbreaking all at the same time as I handed out hot dogs to young, old, black, white, oriental, male and female all who were homeless, all who would sleep that night on the hard Earth.
Each face represented some sad story, a story of a person who by all regards is now forgotten in our society, except on Monday nights @ 7pm. I got to sit and talk with Curtis who was forty one and had a warm and inviitng personality. He talked about his life and how he had quit in life so many times but he was tired of quitting, he also talked about how his family had never been there for him and how he could have made something of his life. He talked about God and how he knew that God loved him and he just wanted to do what the Lord wanted him to do, but he just hadn't been able to.
I am always amazed by the honesty of people like Curtis who have no images to uphold, no self-righteousness to protect and can be raw before people and God. Curtis may be considered to be in poverty but I have met so many people who make 150,000 a year in my life who live in poverty of the soul because of their lack of honesty before God. I met Jesus last night, I felt him near, I felt His pleasure and I knew he was close to all of us in that place. I left downtown last night thanking God for my time there, for the people that I met, and for the Kingdom of God I saw lived out through hot dogs and coconut cake. I will be back next week!
Since this posting Mary's family ministry has become known as Amazing Love Ministries. Go to their website or their Facebook page to read their newsletters, see pics and other info about how this awesome ministry has grown or to support them financially.
I recently spoke their on a Monday night and it was a huge blessing to me to see what God has done with this ministry.
Here is a video about the minstry: