I should be sharing more at worship and think a lot about what to say when Phil or Karen ask where we have seen God at work. I worry about speaking and don’t raise my hand. Volunteering with Soup to Go we see God everywhere in the fellowship of cooking and driving to Boston, in the people we serve and in the staff at Woods Mullen.
Our last visit, June 23rd was no different. We had a new cook in the kitchen, Carol, and Amy who volunteers “regularly” and a lot to do with just the three of us. We got everything prepared with plenty of time for talking laughing. John arrived a little early and helped us complete packing and loading. It was going to be just the two of us today when surprise, Susan arrived and wanted to join us- awesome (others have done the same the last few outings).
At Woods Mullen we had as many people to serve as on a cold winter day with more coming in when they heard brownies were being served and knew “the Church” was here. We had just enough to serve everyone. We all commented on how happy everyone seemed. Even Maria who we have known for years and our conversations usually go to “she thinks our food is institutional and is not good” was happy. I thought maybe it was the underwear she requested, and I brought on our last visit, but then Maria revealed that she may not there the next time we come, she has housing! We need to pray for this as I have heard it before (about a year ago), but this time it sounds for sure. Maria was glowing.
We didn’t play bingo this time but had time to sit and catch up. Susan met up with a woman who has not been there for our lunches in sometime. She is doing well and is staying somewhere outside the shelter. It was awesome to watch both their joy for each other as they caught up. I was being quizzed on how STG is funded and organized and then discussions on whether our church accepts donations. Think of the parable of the widow with two copper coins, Luke 21 – amazing.
The large turnout also reminded me of a discussion I had with Wyan, one of the managers, a couple of years ago when I was trying to figure out when or how many visits we could make over the summer. And that summer is hard; many people, including me, vacation, etc. Wyan simply said “We will be here. Summer is no different, we will be here and appreciate every time you come”. I think about that conversation often. The women are always there, and our visits are awesome.
We have three lunches planned this summer; July 14, July 28, and Aug 11. Aug 11 is our Sundae dessert, which everyone loves. It is hard find the open dates and give up a Saturday morning, but please considered signing up to cook or serve. Bring a friend. You will see God in action and the women will be there.
Hello everyone! The problem with having a blog is keeping up with it… I promise to do better going forward!
It’s been six months and we’ve been busy. When I asked Wyan, the day manager at Woods Mullen about serving over the summer he said, “we’ll all be here”. I said to myself, dah, stupid question… So we went for it, knowing getting volunteers can be tough during the summer. Thank you everyone who helped. We had no issues keeping up and I know the women at WM appreciated it. Being consistent really means something. We made knew friends, got to know some old ones better and got to experience the excitement of people moving in to a place of their own – awesome!
ver the summer I saw a movie at Old South Church called “Under the Bridge”. The director and crew spent a summer with a homeless community living under a bridge in Indianapolis. The movie presented many different viewpoints from politicians, neighbors, churches, other shelters, etc. It really made you think. The movie is available on Amazon. I hope to show it to SHF before this year’s mission trip. Maybe we can get a group together?
So it is Christmas… the fall has gone fast. We have kept up with two or three visits to WM each month. The fellowship of cooking never gets old. People still make their sandwiches to the left or to the right, or up and down and usually in the opposite direction of their neighbor. Come and cook with us and you will see what I mean.
During our days serving at South Station and Boston Common we got to be known as “The Chili People." It seems at WM we are now known as “The Pickle People.” The women love the pickles, although when we arrive I do hear the word spread that “the church is here”.
The past few years I have been invited to serve Thanksgiving dinner at Boston Garden on the Tuesday or Monday before Thanksgiving. I usually see several of our friends from the old days. They don’t usually recognize me until I say that I am one of "The Chili People." Then we reminisce, everyone remembers Amy and Bill. Most have moved into an apartment or room, but are still around South Station or the Common and the rumor is always that we are coming back…
Last week I messed up. I forget to buy the pickles, I was going to take a week off from bingo, and then I over cooked the brownies. I worry about every one of our outings and I thought the women would let me have it for no pickles/no bingo and then there was the brownies. Before I go on, nearly every week that I can remember, Laura S has been donating Dancing Deer brownies for us to serve – thank you Laura! So back to last weekend. I should know better than to worry, God will take care of my worries. No one complained about bingo or pickles. Everyone seemed to understand. They told me that they appreciated them, but they did not complain or give me grief. The brownies on the other hand were pretty hard and complaints started coming down to the serving area. The staff got upset at the women for complaining. God got us all together. I told the staff the women could complain about the brownies (some were really hard) and that I could take it. I had plenty of brownies and sorted through to find the softest ones and brought them out to make amends. The women were great. My brownies gave us plenty to talk about! Everyone had advice and we laughed a lot. God is awesome. We are making brownies again for our Dec 17th outing. With God’s help we will be redeemed… Come and join us.
Another great outing Saturday. A full cooking crew, Rich, Angie and their two boys, and Megan with son Kyle. The twins enjoyed breakfast and a movie while we got soup and chili ready and then joined us to make sandwiches. While we cleaned up, the boys put together toothbrush kits and got the toiletries together, a couple of mature 5 year olds…
Saturday was a beautiful day and everyone seemed to come in for our lunch. Many compliments to the cooks. We’ll give special credit to Megan for spicing the soup and chili. I forgot to say after the last outing that we discovered the women love pickles. BJs was out of rolls and the pickles called out to me when I was picking up the cold cuts. I don’t think we can have lunch without them again. Everyone is always excited for our lunch, but the pickles seemed over the top. Everyone was looking forward to Bingo after lunch. Rich called a great game.
A few things to think/pray about:
I met a young woman who was new to the shelter and she asked where we were from and after I told her she asked if our van would be there tomorrow (Sunday) to pick up people for church. It seemed a letdown to say that we would not be there. As we ate strawberry shortcake after church this morning I keep wondering what if and why not?
When I was pulling things from the STG closet for the toiletry kits I came across a bag labeled “to Steve from Art and Alex.” Inside the bag was a new shirt and pants and winter coat along the cards from my Sunday school class encouraging and congratulating Steve on his new job. This was from the old days of STG. Alex got to be friends with Steve through STG at South Station. He would ask for something and Alex would make sure we brought it next time, but often Steve was not there and it would be sometime before we saw him again. This bag was from 2010, one of our last outings to South. Alex works in Boston now and still sees Steve on occasion. Pray that Steve can get himself together, and stay together and get/keep that job he hoped for.
Also, pray for all of the workers at Woods Mullen who have a tough job of keeping the shelter orderly and who really care for all of the women. We have watched staff have to speak to guests about behavior, but with compassion that is truly impressive. God is awesome!
Watch for future dates, July 30 and August 20 are tentative for now.
Another awesome out on Saturday! Tim O organized a FOY class reunion to prepare the meal. I will let Tim's email below speak for how that went. I was joined at WM by Time and Kevin S. Lunch was great as usual, many compliments to the chefs and to Dancing Deer Bakery and Laura for tasty dessert treats. Learned from a couple of women that they will be moving to their own place soon. It was nice to hear from S that her family/father was helping her get her apartment ready and that both women knew of New Life as a resource for things they need to get started! God is Good. We had a spirited game of Bingo for the prize packs of toiletries and flip flops that Tim put together (enough packs to carry over to Bingo Tuesday...).
Our next our is scheduled for June 25th. We could use a couple of cooks and some company serving. Enjoy Tim's email.
Looking forward to serving with you
After hand-washing and a captivating discussion on kitchen safety, the boys were so eager to begin their kitchen tasks that they rocketed past the lonely donuts, imprisoned in a box on the table (they were emancipated later). About ten minutes into his chosen assignment, Tristan was coveting other vegetables as he mournfully chopped a mischievous bag of onions. Reid and Jack M. fared much better as they sliced celery and carrots with the enthusiasm and precision of a Benihana dinner spectacular. Isaac and Stephen browned the beef in anticipation of Top Chef, Griffin's fashionably late arrival. As Newsboys, "We Believe" blared on my Bluetooth speaker, Isaac asked if I had any other music. I said that I had both kinds: Christian Rock AND Christian Contemporary. We (and by "we," I mean "I") settled on Toby Mac.
Stephen and Griffin struggled with an old-fashioned, hand-crank, can-opener when I stepped in to ensure their safety. With all of the precision, comedic timing of a Swiss watch, I wrestled the tomato sauce lid off with a perfect flourish, swirling a glob of crimson goo onto Griffin's favorite pair of sweat pants. There was an audible gasp as Griffin's usual affable smile momentarily morphed into a steel-eyed glare, only to return to his good-natured giggle. I'm thankful for Christ's preaching of forgiveness and for over-developed senses of humor.
Isaac, Tristan, Reid, Stephen, and Jack M. made short work of the synchronized sandwich making, coordinating a kaleidoscopic mosaic of ham, turkey and cheese into fresh sandwiches for the guests at the shelter. The boys mastered the art of counter sanitization which they can demonstrate for each of you at home. Griffin demonstrated both interest and aptitude making the chicken soup and chili. These boys have some skills.
After everyone loaded the bounty into his car, Art led a prayer thanking God for working through your son's hands and for the opportunity to serve Him with all the glory going to God.
I've had a chance to reflect on the Soup2Go ministry and Art Davies' service in particular. It's got to be tough to be a man with such a swollen heart for the homeless to see them in constant need. Over a period of years longer than some of your sons have been alive, I don't know how he does it time after time again...and I don't know how I don't.
We had a great outing on May 14. Plenty of help in the kitchen and serving made the work easy and more time for fellowship. As usual the soup and chili came out awesome and the guests at WM really enjoyed the meal. One of the things that has struck me since starting to volunteer with STG is the response to our sandwiches. As things settled down and lunch had been served I joined a group to sit with them and have some of our chili. I couldn't help listening in to the discussion around the table behind me as the group talked about how fresh, how soft, how moist, the bread in the sandwiches is. Things we take for granted, fresh bread, a home cooked meal...
We brought in the toiletries kits the children put together during the City Mission presentations plus some magazines that had been dropped off in the STG bin in the lobby and had a spirited game(s) of Bingo after lunch. Everyone was a winner.
I am excited for our outing this Saturday. We will be joined in the kitchen by a group of my coworkers, celebrating the 60th anniversary of SGH with service to the community. Joining to serve at WM are Bridget, Leah, Molly and Grace, long time volunteers for STG.
Our June 11th outing is being staffed by a FOY reunion class. Hopefully some of the kids will have there parents join to serve the food the help prepare...
Watch for a dates, one each, in July and August.
We are blessed to bring some cheer to a group that really needs a lift. Sign up on the below or in the church lobby if you are interested in helping cook or serve. Please continue to drop of books or magazines as well as unused shampoos and other toiletries from your hotel travels in the bins located in the church lobby.
Author - Art Davies
I have been serving with STG since joining Amy and Julie's Disciple Bible study in 2002. Many thanks to STG founders; Amy, Julie, Wendy L, Wendy G, Margi, Joan S and (tell me who I missed) and also to all those who have served with STG over the years. Most of all, thanks to God for blessing us to serve, Jesus for the examples of what it means to serve and the Holy Spirit for working in us as we prepare, serve and tell our stories.