November Reflections from Dana
November – a time to give thanks and reflect.  And in Family Promise, it is good to take time to do both.  I am learning that lesson!  I am learning how to take time!   I am also re-learning enormous lessons through Family Promise.  On top of my learning list are:  1) Absolute thankfulness and 2) what humility in service really means.  I certainly thought I knew what both looked like…but God is forever the teacher, and forever the gentle shepherd…and sometimes he is even not so gentle!  I am learning these lessons through the teaching through the volunteers, the guests we serve, the board and the staff of LFP.
Thankfulness clearly flows here in this program.  It flows in the hearts of guests, who are so grateful for a safe place for their children, for good food each day, and for friends that they are meeting, who are making such a difference in the hope for the future.  It also flows through the volunteers, who sacrifice their time and in doing so, find they are blessed in ways they never thought possible.  Blessed by the service, blessed by the relationships with the guests, blessed by the stories and shared struggles, blessed by the Lord’s presence.
Thankfulness flows in the hearts of the board.  Our last meeting had a wonderful different twist, where in addition to the usual business, each board member was asked to explain why they participate in this organization as a board member.  I was ministered to that afternoon by the heart filled testimonies of why each member serves as they do.  Listening to their stories, I was overjoyed and honored to serve alongside these very special stewards of Family Promise of Lawrence.
As a staff, Becky, Kendra, and I,  pray daily for each of our guests, for the congregations who partner with us in this good work, for the volunteers who make this organization work and make the real impact in the lives of the guests, and often for each other – for patience, for wisdom, for strength, for love.  Each part of this team of people, van drivers, Becky, our Guest and Volunteer Coordinator, and Kendra, our Family Service Coordinator are amazing individuals, who constantly reach out of themselves, and serve with grace.  Many days are difficult, but those days also build the template for the most overflowing thanksgiving.
Everyone who is touched, or touches this organization, has a story and it is a beautiful tapestry woven together by God.  People from all chapters of life, from different ages, socio – economic backgrounds, careers, cultures, faith heritages, family lineage, educations, experiences, languages, outlooks, and on this day, different political parties! …and when I look at the full tapestry, I can barely take it in – with the overwhelming joy and thanksgiving I feel.  Differences are respected, celebrated, and worthy of rejoicing.  Differences are what makes the tapestry so beautiful – not what unwinds the tapestry.  Not many organizations that I’ve been a part of can thrive like that – with the differences celebrated, and embraced, and people lay into vulnerabilities, love and serve, and accept blessings.  This is only because it is God’s work.  God brings people together to serve and love God’s people.  And I am thankful.

Consider Sponsoring a family for Christmas:
If you would like to sponsor a family for the holidays, we have a wonderful volunteer this year that is working with Becky to make that happen.  Becky is getting out the wish lists out to graduate families. This is a great activity for the congregations to do together, as you will have served many of these families.  We will also be sponsoring the families that are in the rotation and transitional housing during Christmas, so there will be plenty of opportunities to bless families!
Other ways to give during Christmas:
Family Promise of Lawrence is always grateful for gift cards.  Some of the great needs are for gas cards, gift cards to grocery stores, Walmart or Target.  These are used for guests and graduates and are such a blessing throughout the year.

If you have a Christmas tree and decorations you are not wanting anymore, we have 2 transitional homes, and several graduates who would be happy to take them off your hands.  Please consider donating them to Family Promise, we will get them to where they will be a joy for others!

Training:
Monday November 12th at Plymouth at 7:00 PM

Day Center and Transitional Housing Needs:
Shampoo and Conditioner
Body wash
Laundry Detergent and Drier Sheets
Body Wash
Size 4 diapers
Kleenex
T-paper
Cleaning supplies