This is a guest post by LBF Member and Open Table Coordinator Donna Brendel.
In April, LBF committed to partner with Open Table for our second opportunity to serve someone struggling with homelessness. Ten committed members from our LBF family and one from Solid Ground Church joined us on our journey help a brother or sister in need for a full year. Our second table was off and running full of excitement. Team training took place in May, while our transitional partner, Mercy House, helped us to identify an individual who was willing to participate in LBF’s Open Table Ministry.
We were introduced to our brother, Richard H., and after many meetings with him, and going through all the background screening/processes he must do, we had our official launch on July 28th. Nothing brings strangers together like food! Our “Breaking of the Bread” Dinner was a huge success in forming a foundation of relationships. The evening was a total success as our table members met with our brother after dinner, to tell him more about our own lives and why we wanted to take this journey with him. Richard was very emotional and stated that for the first time in a very long time, he actually felt a part of something.
He declared that he had hope for a better future with eleven people who truly seemed to care about him. He had new friends who he could call on in times of need.
This journey has already been quite a learning experience for Table members and for Richard. Even before we even had our official launch, Richard had some serious car problems which were making it hard for him to get to work. He needed $1,800.00 to get his car fixed and had set up his own GoFundMe account to ask his friends to help contribute towards his car repairs. LBF joined in, posting this need on our social media and many from LBF generously responded helping Richard get the funds to fix his car.
While his car was being worked on, members of the Open Table Team stepped in to give Richard rides to and from work and were trying to be supportive in any way they could to help him keep his job. Richard was, and still is so grateful for all the help, and for the people outside of the Table that gave to the fund. And we all are grateful for the over and above help from Luis and Rosario Lucas, who own a car repair business. They met with Richard and fixed another issue with his car at their own expense!
Open Table truly is a team effort – our Table Members, our church and our extended networks of relationships. It is so good to see each and every one of you step out and fulfill our mission which is: “To passionately pursue LIFE in Jesus and to lead our neighbors do the same.” We look forward to the ongoing process of helping Richard grow. Thank you for your prayers.
For more info on Open Table, check out Russ Parker’s article on it here.