With an open bus door in the middle of winter, our family sets up the coffee outside our bus on an up-cycled pallet wood bench made with love by the hands of my husband. Fresh cookies lovingly wait to fill a hungry tummy. Our Full Circle sign steers people to our doors. A simple statement of love on the platform of an old school bus. One by one people cradle to the bus in the brisk winter wind in search of supplies and hope. Leaning out the door with an eager smile and a voice filled welcome, breaks through even the hardest of hearts. Followed by a common curious question, “who are you and what is this?” The question has become something that I look forward too now as the answer has brought people to genuine tears to hear we are simply loving and sharing what God has given us to give to them. Simple, to the point laced with passionate love. Love unto God and for the hurting.
The purity that comes from an old hand painted bus is astounding. People no longer see the need to carry their pride when they are not forced to come within material doors. Its just us and the wind. Gods design of equal or mutual ground. As our family and visiting team mates give our testimony of why we are here, lives break open and love radiates. We have found that God slows time down when we are in serving from the bus on the streets within our reach. The rawness of the mission breaks down barriers quickly and allows for heart work to openly sore. No time is wasted. Everything becomes meaningful.
I have had people say, why do you do this? Who do you work for? Who sent you? People are so curious as the bus is out of the norm and not wrapped around a program or clinically presented. Much of the time we resort to laughter and lighthearted answers. One of my favorites is, “We’re just a bunch of people in a bus, loving our God and serving the lives around us because we too have a story and understand the need to be reminded that you are not forgotten and that you are loved.” An honest loving punch to the heart in hopes of reaching the hurting and the forgotten. The bus represents an authentic drive to sincerely reach out. Not too many travel out to where the people are, most often they stand in lines and hope to break through to the gate keeper before support arrives. From owning and operating our Outreach Center warehouse for thirteen years, I understand the need for support centers and the beauty and safety that surfaces from true loving environments, yet our mission bus simply taps the heart from a different perspective and is now one that my husband and I have come to prefer now that we constantly witness the impact.
This last week in Portland we joined hands with one of our life long friends, Pastor Chris and Debbi Blair. Pastor Chris was our Pastor from Powell Butte Church and now has become Pastor at CrossRoads Church in Portland. Serving in Unity along beside their food bank has become one of our favorite journey’s. Let’s face it, wherever there is unity, God smiles so it only makes sense to serve outside their doors. This last week Gods love allowed for 104 lives to be filled with supplies from our mission bus. We sent gifts with the single mama’s for their kids waiting in the warmth of their car or at a home/shelter. One of our most heartwarming work is with the seniors that depend on the food banks in order to live. The seniors delicately walk up to the bus and always express the deepest kindness of anyone. They simply are so touched to see others out in the element giving of needed supplies with hugs and loving conversation. So many forgotten so many in need. A high majority of our seniors are left all alone and with very little food or supplies. They are truly forgotten. It is an honor to love them and wrap a new warm blanket around them and pack new warm socks and hygiene kits and treats.
Before we refurbished our little bus, Mark, we used our bigger bus, Matthew. Matthew has a full coffee station and we would bring a youth with us and have them focus on pumping coffee’s out to the waiting line. Under the bridges in Salem we would serve no less than 150 people every time we pulled in. With our little bus, Mark we set up our coffee station outside of the bus and one of us works to pour coffee for the folks while loving on them. Just giving supplies out defeats the purpose of sharing Gods love and being the hope and reminder of their lives really matter. Its about the relationship. The places that we consistently visit are coming to know us and send messages on our facebook. The lives we touch also touch our lives. It is a mutual pass of encouragement. The simplicity speaks loudly. Today more laundry of the donations that fill our bus is to be done. Taking the time to pray over the pieces and sing over Gods provision is another piece to this beautiful gift of a journey. Happy to be here today and to prepare as God wills the next step. Love love love.