“Traveling through the country, passing from one gathering to another, he (Paul) gave constant encouragement, lifting their spirits and charging them with fresh hope.” —Acts 20:2 (emphasis added)
This portion of Word reminds me of the Friends Day that Coldwater hosts two times a month. This particular phrase is a beautiful summary of what we strive to do each time: give constant encouragement, lift their spirits and charge them with fresh hope.
A friend recently shared this story:
One Friends Day, Karen struck up a conversation with one of our friends who had come to pick up a much needed bed. This friend shared with Karen that through the journey of her life, she had found it necessary to go to several food pantries for survival. She shared how the very first time she came to Coldwater, someone asked if they could give her a hug. She was skeptical, as this had never happened at any other food pantry, but she cautiously said yes, and allowed herself to be hugged.
She then shared how over the next several months, she's come to know many of our friends who volunteer, and has finally come to understand, and trust, that we care about her. We care about her stories, her life, her hardships and her joys. And she cares about us as well.
This is an encouraging picture of what Coldwater is all about: a place to give constant encouragement, lifting their spirits and charging them with fresh hope.
From "us to them", and even more importantly, from "them to us". This is a crucial step in the direction we seek to go: where we are all just "us.”