A Week to Remember

 By Rev. Travis Franklin
I must admit I was somewhat nervous as we awaited the arrival of the first 12 people that were on their way from the site of the Helping Hands Ministry in Belton, Texas. These 12 persons represented
4 different families of a new program called “Family Promise.” Family Promise is a nationwide ministry that seeks to help homeless families get back on their feet. The ministry seeks to create opportunities for moms and dads to get help related to how to interview for jobs, improving their skills related to the workplace, and to help aid them in getting job interviews and find housing and support to get them back on their feet. During their time in the Family Promise ministry their children are cared for and provided transportation to and from school and helped with tutoring and homework. The ministry seeks the help of local churches in the area to help provide a home for these families on a weekly basis including, meals, snacks, entertainment, and as much of a home environment as the church can provide them as they seek to get back on their feet.
We were waiting that Sunday afternoon for our first families to arrive. We really didn’t know what to expect. Our Ministry Team had voted unanimously to be one of the first churches in on the ground floor of developing this ministry for our county. Our Director of Outreach, Rolly Correa, had worked closely with the new administrator of Family Promise to get the ministry up and running as there was a great need in our area for such ministry. As we shared the vision for this ministry with our congregation they had many questions related to understanding that these families would be living in our church for the entire week. Our congregation would provide 3 meals a day for them, entertainment when they returned at night to the church, a place to sleep, snacks, and most of all support and love. When we began to circulate the list of different ways in which our congregation to help we were somewhat nervous about whether we would have enough people sign up to provide all we needed to provide. By the time the Sunday had arrived for the families to come and begin their stay with us we had over 50 people signed up to volunteer for the variety of needs we were to provide for these families. I was overwhelmed at the response of our congregation! Once again they had heard the call of God to ministry and had responded to reach beyond themselves in partnership with God in loving people.
As that first group arrived that Sunday afternoon at our church our nervousness soon faded. As we met them and began to welcome them into our family we soon discovered they were people just like us. All week long I was in and out of the church and was blessed to see and experience the love of God in action to make a difference in the lives of people. As the week ended we all hated to see them go for they had become our brothers and sisters. That was almost two years ago now. Other families have come and gone since and each experience has been unique. There is nothing quite like seeing and being a part of the ministry of the love of God through the church of Jesus Christ. That first week will always be with me. It was indeed a week to remember!!!!