A small wooden plank folds gently down to create a welcoming desk in the doorway of our mission bus. Our guests that approach the mobile supply bus easily reach for the snacks in the tub next to my intake forms. The outdoor elements breeze in as the doors never shut until the last life is served. The colorful pad that sits snugly at the top of the bus stairwell is an old bus seat that my students covered in bright outdoor fabric. Its quite comfortable for such a make shift outreach desk.
No matter the day we serve, at least one of our beloved dogs comes with. The driver seat seems to be their perch every time we begin our day of street missions. As if to freely welcome the folks needing supplies and to stand guard I would suppose. I have learned that our dogs discern many times far better than we do. They watch over me as I sit at the desk while greeting our guests and properly signing them in.
Always sending out in twos or three’s no matter the trip. It’s God’s design. My husband and I strive to be the two yet as the mobile mission grows others have signed on to travel along and serve with us. It is right to bring new faces as this is faith in action and a hands on experience of our Gods provision and love for the lost and the hurting. The bus provides a raw, vulnerability that not many care to embrace. For us, it is exactly how God would have us be. Love no matter while opening our lives for Christ’s spirit to lead.
Since the first days of building the non profit mission back in 2003, it was made clear in my prayer time to not attach a criteria to whom we serve. Allowing for blind faith in who God would need to be reached to come forth. It has been the backbone of the Full Circle Outreach mission that God birthed within me from the very start. Out in the bus on the streets of our cities, there is no direction given beside, “go and trust in Him who called us to love as he has first loved us”. There are days when we just get in and drive seeking the life God’s love nudged us out to find. We could fill up a massive book with all the random acts of kindness and love that has blossomed in the fourteen years of service in street missions, both in the warehouse and in mobile missions. The buses have only added a chapter to the pages that have been filled on this stunning journey in serving our Lord God and those around us within our reach that are seeking hope and direction.
It’s not a complex method, really the most simple method of caring that I have been a part of. Filling up supplies, filling up bellies, filling up hope tanks with the reminder that their lives are not forgotten. The needs are endless, yet I have learned to know what we can do and know what we have. We have the love of the Lord and can give what we have including a hug and a prayer after the tummies are full and the feet are warmed. How could I ever pray over a lost, cold soul if I not provide the blanket as I love. To say let me pray for you only to send them off still cold is cruel, especially when I know I am leaving to my own warmth and comfort…otherwise, easy for me to say easy for me to pray and meaning comes with dedicated passion and provision. I have witnessed the never ending void in life after life. I carry the witnessed aching of the souls that we feed random on the streets. It never leaves me. Many times in the quiet mornings I will leave the warmth of my bed and step outside in my bare feet to remember the cold that far to many are experiencing all alone. We must not forget. Remembering is part of the fuel that turns the key to the engine of the bus each day that we are allowed to go forth.
In that moment of given love even when faced with an angry hardened soul, I remember the harshness of what they must be tangled in and I am driven to love even harder and to plant a seed of hope until the next time when more trust is earned by our commitment to show up again and extend truth and love no matter.
Many times people ask us why we dont have more pics of the motion of our serving. I have to confess it is tempting at times to step out and snap pics of the lives overwhelmed in beautiful tears as love hits them. Hoping to bring awareness to the real needs and the movement of simply loving. Yet the dignity of the lives is far more needed to be spared than the opportunity for a picture. Those that travel with us or who know us as friends, understand the passion and fruit behind the mission that we have come to know as “full circle”. Our guests who have turned into family know us and they hold the rightful memory of what God’s love from the angles of our hearts look like. To us and to them, their specific picture is captured in our Fathers eyes and carried every moment in His heart. Those of us that are blessed enough to share the small beautiful piece of solution and revelation in a life, never ever forget. To this day I can remember the color of so many eyes that I have stared into. Many years can even pass by and when those eyes arrive again in front of me, their picture no matter how dark it may have been, lightens up my memory and never fades.
I hope the one person that is led to read this blog that I sat quietly in my little desk to write from my heart, is provoked radically to move out and to not over think only do as Christ has asked us to move for him. I pray that I write not just to write but to inspire radical movement for the one that has shown us unconditional love and to be a face to face reminder that hope is here and that lives are not ever forgotten in the one that created us. We are his hands and feet. In an old bus traveling down the streets of my city, I am overwhelmed with the joy of giving. If I am a part of Gods body than why else could I not move fearlessly, contagiously and lovingly. What a day to be alive for the King of Glory!