Personal Stories from a Treasured Family
Thanks for prayers for housing. It came true. Thank you and thank our Lord. Those were words from Boston Billy’s prayer request on May 6. For almost 2 years, Community Meal volunteers had been praying Billy through many difficult times. Because his “home” was Shelter #5 at Lincoln Park, we prayed for his safety: Been having trouble at the park with the dogs – their owners let them attack me. We prayed for his emotional well being: I feel so alone and disconnected… like I got dropped off into the park from another time and place. We prayed for courage: I am on the list for housing and I don’t trust the system. And we prayed for his walk with God: My prayer is to surrender my life to his control for the good of my soul. We cared for him, fed him, grieved with him and now rejoice with him. His experience with homelessness was ours; his transition out of that dark place into safety and new possibilities is something for which God is to be praised.
Over the past three years, West Side has served a hot lunch to over 2,800 guests. The homeless community describes it as “the best food out there.” Every other Saturday, 13-15 volunteers usher an average of 55 guests (almost all we know by name) into Howell Auditorium from our courtyard, where they enjoyed coffee and fellowship while waiting for the doors to open. We supply them scarves and hats knitted by members along with clothing, blankets, sleeping bags, and toiletries. After guests are served as many helpings as they want, leftover food is taken to places like the new Mary’s Place family shelter in White Center or Camp Second Chance on Meyers Way.
Prayer is important to our ministry. We pray with volunteers as the food is prepared; the guests join us in blessing the meal in Howell before they are served. We also ask visitors to tell us how we can pray for them. Their requests tell personal stories, some uplifting like Billy’s and some heartbreaking.
Me + my service dog need housing. Ann’s prayer was heard. She got housing for herself and her very sweet pit bull, but died a week later. Shortly after, her brother died. Larry and Marilyn, their parents and regular guests, struggle to understand their loss.
Pray for spiritual clarity, healing, God’s direction and His protection from Satan and others. This request from Micah reflected the struggles he faced as a homeless man with addiction and relationship issues who was also dealing with a lymphoma diagnosis. He slept in Hope Lutheran’s parking lot and died on the streets of West Seattle.
My friend, Ann, passed away. She climbed trees and threw down apples into my apron when we were children. Barbara lives not far from our church and is often seen walking on California Avenue across from the church. It took 3 years and Lee Sundquist’s continued exhortation for her to come in. Now she is a regular and has opened up to our staff. With her prayer request, she gave us a glimpse into a time of long ago happiness. We see how that can turn into a life that no one would have planned.
That WSPC knows how much their generosity means to us. The meals are lovely. Someone who came to our meal on May 6 wrote this. Doesn’t that say it all!
This is why we started this ministry! These guests have become part of the West Side family. We offer them food, recognition of their humanity and longings, and most of all, prayer that God’s peace and comfort can be found in this world. We have had much joy doing it and have been amazingly aware of the Lord’s leading. Become a volunteer and find out how rewarding it can be! Contact Lin Snavely (206-935-4477; LinS@wspc.org) for more details.