Did you know God is Good?! Just when you have lost your faith, gotten a bad report, had your patience tested, trying to make people happy, God is there by your side, saying it's ok, I am with you.
Not sure you can get any more activities into last Saturday, but we tried. As I drove up to the center, a lady got out of her car and asked are you Brian. I said yes ma'am, what can I do for you? She said, did someone tell you we were coming today to work around the center. I said, no ma'am but that's ok. She was the teacher in charge of the Keithville Middle School Student Council. As we talked, more and more and more children showed up until we had 15 young people running all around the center. Several of them asked as they got out of their cars, about the name Anna Jackson, painted on our curb. I said, why? Most of them have a teacher named Anna Jackson. I said, yes that is the same lady. I told them she use to be the preacher's wife here and loved the community. In fact, she is on my list to invite to speak to us in one of our chapel times. What are the odds of a group of children showing up, unannounced, knowing a lady who we want to talk to our community! God is good.
We had a couple of Brookwood families come and got started on painting Krysten's office. Sure brightens up the place with a fresh coat of paint. Momma T and Ms Patty were busy preparing for U 2 Saturday, with Krysten's help. And then a gentleman pulls up with tractors and chain saws and Ms Patty got her trees cut down in preparation of our fruit grove to being planted. Mr Scott leads his band of followers to visit our friends. Wow what a morning. God is good.
One of our friends who live outside, Robert came back with Mr Scott to wash his clothes. Robert told us a couple of weeks ago, the land owner was selling the property, where his camp is, to the railroad people and he was going to have to move. We have been looking for a spot to move him, so after he got his clothes in the wash, we left to go check out some spots. I asked Robert if he would like to live inside if we could find him a place and he said that would be ok. So we stopped by an old friend Big D and talked with him. Big D has a barbeque place on Common street down the hill from First Methodist. We have had several barbeque suppers there with our friends. Big D has always helped out the guys if he could. We asked Big D if Robert could stay behind his place in an old trailer. We walked around the building and Big D offered Robert a place to stay in a storage room that was nicer than the trailer. So we spent Saturday afternoon moving Robert's stuff from one camp to his new home. God is good.
Sunday evening, we had the opportunity to come together to celebrate the life of one of our friends, Danny Hopkins. We met Danny on one of our Saturday visits, living under an overpass on Mansfield road. He had just arrived from New Orleans getting away from the hurricane. The first memory of Danny was his smile and his camp. Danny had made his camp complete with a bathroom area, a dining place and campfire section. He had mirrors to shave by, a bowl to wash your face, built out of other people's trash. The next week, we met William there. Not too long after that, Danny was forced to leave that camp and we found him at his new camp in the woods off Pines Road. Danny loved people, he would love to talk to the young people we would bring by to visit him. He always had a story about himself or somebody, always to be sure to put a smile on your face. He loved his dogs and cats.
We gathered at small church on Pines Road Sunday night, and as we walked into the sanctuary, we were surprised to see the placed packed with people. The church did not know about the Pool or Common Ground we did not know about Danny's church. What an amazing site to see, how many folks were effected by Danny's smile. The pastor spoke about Danny's character, his smile and his love of Jesus. The pastor said, his first meeting with Danny, Danny said, I am the ultimate camper! The church had prepared a feast following the celebration in their fellowship hall. We talked with the pastor about common ground and how we could work together. He said he was from Lufkin and had worked with the homeless there. Pastor David, said all of this is happening for a reason. Yes we will miss Danny but look how his life will live on through others. God is good.
Tuesday evening we had a Board meeting. Most of us do not like these things, but Ms Lisa makes it is as painless as possible. The first order of business was to vote on the purchase of property across the street on Southern from the center. A family owns 5 lots and through the negotiations with Ms Lisa they have agreed to sell us all the lots at a reduced price. Dr Phil will begin building his Tiny houses on two of the lots and the other lots will be there for us to use when God determines it is time to use them. One of the lots is the concrete parking lot we all thought the church had already owned but that was not correct. It has already been suggested we have a community work day and maybe put a dumpster there for the community. Pretty cool. God is good.
Mr Brian had to leave the meeting so maybe others can let us know what else went on. John Sauls and Momma T did give a report on the kitchen update. The plans have been approved by the state fire Marshall and now they are at the city offices for permits. We are purchasing a new vent hood, a new stove and other equipment. Can you imagine in several months what delicicious things will be coming out of that place! Wonder what God has in store for that place? What lives will be changed. Wow, God is good.
We talked about the need for funding for the operations of our center. Ms Lisa and Ms Georgeanne do a great job in finding us funding for projects, but most grants are not awarded for helping with the electricity, gas, water bills. We need to begin thinking, out side the box of having a fund raiser of some sort to help with these costs. No idea is crazy, let us hear from you some thoughts.
We had another amazing night at our community men's Bible study. Matt brought more men from Airline Baptist and they shared their hearts with us. We had a new man from our community come. It is something special when men can come together and share what is on their hearts with each other. One of the guys, shared what a blessing it has been for him to become involved with Common Ground. He went on his first visit of outdoor friends Saturday and he was blown away by what he saw and experienced. He said he has been praying to God to bring people into his life who live out the Good News, not just talk about it. He has found folks who do that at Common Ground. Thank you God, your are great!
We again gathered for our community meal, with the crowd being down a little with the weather being so nasty. We got to see the Christmas lights and decorations the young people hung around the center last Saturday. It put everybody in a better mood, don't you think?! I will say the children were wound up, with school getting out and the anticipation of Santa coming. Mr Scott has been able to get some can goods from the Food Bank the last several weeks which helps with the lowering of costs in the purchasing of can goods for our grocery bags. God supplies.
We moved into our Bible study, reading the last part of Acts 25 and 26. It was nice to have one of our young people, Zig Zag, some of us know her as Allison was back with her extended family. We read where Paul again challenges the king and the leaders about Jesus and the Good News. Paul always seeming to have the right words to dispute their accusations. Wouldn't it be nice to have Paul's boldness and authority to make such claims when we are confronted with disbelief from others? Oh wait, we can, Paul was full of the Holy Spirit, the same Holy Spirit that is in us. He just allowed the Spirit to flow freely in and through him, why can't we do the same? The same God who spoke to Paul, can speak to us, for He is good!
Next Thursday, we will hopefully start a new tradition, of going around the neighborhood, caroling. Joey wants to bring hot chocolate and he said he would bake cookies for the evening. Come and join in on the fun. New memories to be made.
Also, next Thursday, we will have our first chapel gathering. We plan to start our chapel worship time at 5 and move into our meal at 5:30. Pete, is preparing the music with help from Ms Abbie playing the keyboard, Mary playing her flute, and a new friend Mark playing the guitar. Ms Sarah and Mr Scott will lead us in through words. It has been a long time in coming, but we are finally here, worshipping God through prayer, song and words, pretty awesome. Following our chapel time, we will move into our meal, with Santa visiting with everybody during our meal. What an amazing God we have.
Prayers were lifted up for Ms Hat's sister, Nancy as she goes through hip surgery. William continues to ask for prayers as he struggles with alcohol. Gus has a new friend, Katie, going through abuse from her husband and not knowing what to do. Beth's brother John as he deals with a pinch nerve. Travel mercies for family and friends as they make their way home. Lomax and his grandmother as they go through the season for the first time without his grandfather and her husband. Dawn's son Rain, that he find his way back to his mom.
Don't forget our breakfast is this Saturday. Momma T will need help preparing our meal of biscuits and gravy. If you can come by at 8 to help please do so, if not join her and the rest of the community at 9.
A reminder, Ms Sarah and Mr Scott and the young adults will have their Christmas Eve services at the community chapel. Food and snacks will be provided at 11 in the community hall and the service will begin at 11:20, ending at midnight.
Keep Gus in your prayers as he continues to seek God outside under the bridge. He has a blog, www.thegiftoflvoe.blogspot.com. Great reading, might make you mad, will make you think, definitely will stir your heart. What a pleasure it is to know a young man who truly lives out the Good News.
Thank you all for living out the Good News. It is easy to write such stories, because you all are living not talking about changing lives. These are just a few stories of many more that go on every week. You take time to be with others, listening to their stories, helping them to turn their lives over to God and isn't that what it is all about. We led them to Christ, let God change their hearts. God is Good! All the time! Amen.