We have all seen Chuck or whatever his name is. He is the drifter or the homeless guy. He doesn’t make eye contact or most of us hope he doesn’t. He doesn’t smell or look good. Chuck, from a life of drugs was missing his entire bottom teeth except for 2 smoked stained stubbed teeth sticking out towards his bottom lip. His long dirty blonde hair was tied in a ponytail down the middle of his stained Iowa Hawkeyes tee shirt. He rode up on his squeaky bicycle with that homeless look. You know the one that I am talking about. Alone, dejected, ashamed and sure that we were going to judge him.
His first question to me was, “Can I help you?” You see I was standing outside of the church in Moore, Ok that we have been serving alongside for the past 3 weeks, which the storm had not been kind to us the night before. It was about 7:00 am on Sunday morning and the storm had destroyed all of the tents. I was feeling alone, dejected, ashamed and sure that he was going to judge me. With those four words of Can I help you the spirit of God bound us together for the day. Chuck and I worked together all day feeding the people in need of Oklahoma. We talked about the stories of life and the will of God and how much God loved him. I must have told Chuck a couple of dozen times during the day how much God loved him. It was worth the trip to Moore just to see the change in Chuck and for him to know that Jesus loves him. Chuck will be helping the team up there serve food and helping out over the next week. Please pray for Chuck to find a job so that he can move on to what God is doing with him.
I noticed him as a large group came up which I thought were coming to eat. He had on a Phillies cap and introduced themselves as a group from Chicago. I kidded him about a Chicago guy who was wearing a Phillies hat and asked him how we could help him. He said that they had brought a group over from Chicago and they had to catch a plane back later tonight and wanted to see if they could help out. He asked what we do and I told him that we were being the hands and feet of Jesus. He then introduced himself as Rabbi Mason and we stared at each other and then hugged and I said, “Were glad you’re here.” He then took his team and they delivered meals and cold water out to the neighborhoods. The lines that are normally there between the Jewish faith and that of Christians were erased for that day and we stood shoulder to shoulder and served God by serving the people of Moore, Oklahoma.
The Budget rental truck pulled up into our parking lot and this boundless energy came out of the truck and the other car that was with them. Four college age girls had driven from Tampa, Florida to make donations for the victims of the tornados. They had felt lead after seeing the devastation on the news to help out. They put up a website and raised over $6,000 dollars and supplies and then drove for 27 hours to deliver it. One of them went to church occasionally and the others were not Christians but their hearts were being turned by God to direct them to Mission U-too. We had a chance to spend time with them as we all unloaded the truck and then they even served with us for a while. Then they went and bought more supplies for us and even came back the next day to spend some more time with us. They said that this trip had changed their lives and that they couldn’t wait for the next disaster. Then she looked at me and smiled and said you know what I mean, right? I did know what she meant. You see it is very fulfilling to serve.
I drove home on Sunday Evening. I was tired both physically and spiritually and even though exhaustion was setting in I felt energized by the previous few days. I have not even touched on the incredible stories of loss and hurts and hopelessness that are felt in Oklahoma now and well into the future. These people have gone through life changing events and it will be a part of their history that will be talked about for years. To experience what Mission U-too is about please consider attending one of our local mission events. We cook food every week for people in need, the homeless, the addicts and everyone who needs a free meal. People come and join us at first because of the free food and then they keep coming back for the hugs.
When you feed people physically they start to trust and build relationships around the food table. Then they become part of a family and that allows us then to sow into them spiritually.
You see we love, because He first loved us.
Chas Winckel started serving with Mission U-Too in 2011 with the Bastrop Fires. After a year of God put it on his hart to get more involved with Mission U-Too, him and his wife Laurie started our Round Rock location and serve as the site coordinators.