Christmas Dinner (Service Night Recap | 12.19)

Haven5Man, it seemed like everything that could go wrong today did. Tonight was to be our Christmas Dinner at the Haven Center, a local homeless shelter. We served a meal last December, and this year I had the same catering company simply replicate the order. The catering company is located nearly an hour away from the church, and I received a call 30 minutes before we wanted to leave asking where we were located. Two leaders let me know that they would not be able to make it. The extra cookies that we were to take with us were locked in a room in the church that I did not have access to. A couple of students who had signed up to help serve let me know they were not going to be coming. The food containers did not fit well into the van. I was not able to get the drink before we needed to leave the parking lot (something I had hoped to arrange yesterday and did not get to do). We could not find the toys we set aside 2 months ago to give to the children at the center. We ran out of cups. The caterers did not get the correct food order to us. A couple of teens were a little stand-offish, and it was almost impossible to get them to interact with the very people we had served dinner to. And I am sure there are a couple more items I am forgetting right now.

But despite all that went wrong, God still used this evening to teach me.Haven9

Though our group was small, it helped that we did not outnumber the people at the center (On a happy note, there have been a lot of families that have been able to move into permanent housing over the past couple of weeks!). It also gave Kelly and I the chance to take our own children with us and let them serve as well. (That is our son with Kelly in the Featured Image) and Santa in the We were able to really connect with some of the kids and their parents, hearing their stories and sharing the love of Jesus with them. One child who did not speak any English (from what I can tell) decided to simply toss around a Nerf football with one of our teens. And of course, Santa himself showed up (one of the men from our church who visits many places as Santa around this time of year). Santa gave away toys we picked up to replace the ones that were MIA, and he made many little children’s’ evenings merry. And even the food being late allowed us to be in the parking lot when a student arrived who had been having trouble finding the church. And after the night was done, as we were waiting for one last set of parents to arrive I was able to chat with our new student (and with another leader) and got to discover a lot about her life up to this point, and even help her understand one of the deep mysteries of God!

In short, the evening was fantastic. God’s plans were better than mine would have been, and I am grateful that He chose to work through the children, teenagers and adults that we had in our little group tonight.