This fall, the girls in our Teen Council program have been individually organizing different service projects for our group to participate in. One of those projects involved helping out at a local soup kitchen not far from Hope House. Before we were allowed to lift a finger to help, we first had to watch a short training video. The video walked us through the history of the organization and shared its vision and goals. At the very end of the video, a man shared a story that really touched me.
There was a visiting group of volunteers who had come to help prepare and serve meals. The group worked hard prepping food and loving on the people in line as they served them. Toward the end of their time, a woman who was serving the food suddenly stopped and screamed. She ran out from behind the serving area and grabbed a man that was in line. It turned out that this man was her brother that she hadn’t seen in 15 years! She smothered him with hugs and kisses, embracing him as they talked for the rest of the time.
It goes without saying that everyone in both lines was shocked. What are the chances of something like this happening…especially after 15 years? But what stood out to the man sharing the story was the genuine way this woman literally embraced her brother. She had seen numerous people while volunteering and lovingly served them all well, but when she saw her biological brother, it was a completely different reaction. He said that is the goal of their organization – to love and embrace all of their brothers and sisters that way. To hug and kiss their neighbors, to serve them as if they were long lost relatives they haven’t seen in years, to literally come around the line that divides volunteer and recipient and connect on a deeper level.
As the young ladies on our Teen Council continue to grow in Christ, it’s so awesome to see them in action; loving and serving in this way. In the last six months, I have seen them come from around the serving line and engage with their brothers and sisters. It encourages me to see them being such an example for their peers. As they have stepped up to love their neighbors, they have grown in the process, and it is a joy and great privilege to witness.
Riley Chowning – Assistant Director