One of the things that drew me to Hope House as a place to live and serve is the premise that God is working and we get to be on the lookout for where He’s working and join Him.
The other day I ran into Kroger just to pick up some stamps. I had a few errands I was running that day and needed to pop into the store briefly. While I was standing at the counter, I saw a coworker Rae and her daughter Charlee grabbing a cart. I smiled and said hello, as it had only been a few hours since I last saw them at church. We talked about the Oscar’s Party we were both attending that evening and started to go our separate ways when I heard Charlee ask from her spot pushing the cart, “Do you want to walk with us?”
My inner dialogue began. Did I want to walk with them? No, not really. But what was the hurry? And Charlee asked so politely! I only had one more stop on my list. I probably had time to walk with them. Ok why not?
I joined them walking through the store, picking up this and that. Average grocery shopping trip. But I must have heard Charlee say at least five times, “I love shopping.” “I’ll go shopping with Daddy later.” “I just looove to shop!”
You see, Charlee loves shopping. She loves doing work with her mom or dad. She loves pushing the cart and being a part of the trip. She loves having a role to play, scanning the objects and passing them to me as I fill the bags. And I realize, that’s not too different than me wanting to do work with my Daddy (God).
I want to know where God is working and join Him there. I want to go shopping with Him. I want to be around Him while He’s working. I want to see what He’s doing and how He’s doing it. I want to be a part of the experience. I want a role to play in the work. I want to follow in His ways as He leads and guides where He’s going. I want to be close by His side at work, not looking through the aisles for where He is just to see Him turn the corner. I don’t want to get distracted in the candy aisle when He’s in the frozen foods section. I want to follow Daddy and stay close to Him. Because I know that Daddy has a mission to do, a purpose to accomplish, and I can either be a part of it or grab my own cart and shop for myself.
The mission here at Hope House is to encourage and accompany kids toward their potential and I’ve gotten to join God in being a face for His encouragement and relationship with kids in the neighborhood.
Part of my role here at Hope House is leading a program we call Turf Wars. This program was birthed out of wanting to stay in relationship and connection with our kids. In my opinion, it’s hard to have a relationship with someone if you only see them for three months out of the year, and that’s what happens around here.
In the summer, we can’t get the kids to leave! And why would we want to when they’re so loving and fun to be around?! They are on our ‘turf’ from sunrise to sundown until the leaves begin to change and the temperature slowly (sometimes quickly) falls. During these colder months, we want to continue to be in relationship and that means getting on their turf; going to the kids.
Whether it’s at school or outside of school, turf wars is designed to shepherd our volunteers and staff to be a part of a kid’s life outside the lines of 840 Marlborough. In these past couple months, we’ve had the opportunity to show our love and see our kids reaching their potential in numerous ways; through going to birthday parties, eating at the local culinary school, attending district basketball games, and going into schools for their assemblies.
February was Black History Month and at a local school they had an assembly where two of our kids were going to be singing MoTown classics. During one of the performances the speaker system playing the music shut off, leaving only one of the boys on stage with a microphone and a shocked audience. Like a true professional though, he didn’t miss a beat as he kept singing and even got the audience involved clapping along to “I Heard it Through the Grapevine.” His boldness, courage and talent that got him through that song gave us a new insight to the young man God created. We got to look on him with a glimmer of pride and beam with joy in the audience seeing his fearlessness. We got a sample of the sweet taste of seeing God at work through his life and that’s just the first course of meals He has planned for each one of us when we start out going shopping with Him keeping close by His side.
Amy Paruk – Staff Member at Hope House