Simple service

TESTIMONY: God asks us to do what we can

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Janna Morris, center, and her sister, Sandy Almos, right, deliver socks gathered by women at Cross Timbers Church to an Oklahoma City homeless shelter. Photo: Janna Morris

We arrived at the homeless shelter early and immediately sensed poverty and a feeling of hopelessness. Boarded-up windows on houses, trash and general squalor confronted us all around. Men and women stood in the cold, some waiting to catch a ride on the bus and some waiting with nowhere to go. A man dug in the dumpster with his feet 6 inches off the ground. Some people talked to themselves, their bodies dirty and their clothing in many stages of disrepair.

In contrast, my sister and I, along with our husbands, sat in a warm car with fresh clothes on, stomachs full and homes to return to after our Christmas shopping outing. It felt like we were in another country, but we weren’t.

Our Women of Joy group at Cross Timbers Church had recently completed a Bible study about Acts called The Gospel on the Ground by Kristi McLelland. The study encouraged us to spread the mustard seeds of faith wherever we go and instilled in us an understanding that it is our responsibility to reach out to those in need, just as Jesus did.

The Women of Joy Bible study group at Cross Timbers Church held a Christmas party before representatives delivered the socks they collected. Photo: Janna Morris

In response, our hearts urged us to help the local homeless community. So, in December 2023, I and the other women in the study collected 160 pairs of warm, thick socks for Homeless Alliance in Oklahoma City.

Although a few minutes earlier I thought we were going to make a huge dent on the sock shortage in this homeless community, now I felt guilty to be bringing so little.

A young woman met us at the front door and took the socks from us. We talked for a moment and asked what else they needed. The woman said the shelter would go through 50,000 pairs of underwear within a year. With no laundry facilities, most people wear out their clothing and throw it away. It’s hard to imagine, but clean clothes cost money.

The exchange took only 15 minutes, but our lives were changed. We saw that serving doesn’t have to be a huge ordeal; God simply asks us to do what we can.

Our group’s new challenge is to continue to collect items for the shelter all year round. We’ve placed a tall wicker basket with a removable bag in our classroom and are now collecting underwear for the shelter. It’s fun to see the basket fill up. When the bag is full, we’ll take the donations to the shelter and begin again. We plan to start a new collection this fall and would like to get the church involved in the project as well.

We are grateful for the Lord’s urging and that we followed his leading. Our group of women ranges in age from 60 to 90, and this experience has shown us that we can continue to be used by God in both big and small ways.

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