Every year in April our church pulls together to bless our neighbors through Sharefest, a giant yard sale where everything is nice and everything is free. We collect our extra clothes, appliances, furniture, books, shoes, lamps and toasters and then give them away to people who need them more than we do. The event's purpose is two fold: 1. To help our neighbors by meeting their physical needs and 2. To welcome our neighbors into our midst, giving them a reason to believe this is a community in which they'd be welcome, a community that loves and shares.
In an effort to be more welcoming, we've recently begun serving breakfast to the men, women and children who arrive SO early to get in line for Sharefest (this year we had a family arrive at midnight to get the first spot in line). We hand out breakfast tacos, play with the kids, serve coffee.
This year though we did something special. Thanks to new member Terri Arnold, we collected prayer requests from every person in line. Then we gathered the whole line into a circle on the green grass of our front yard, held hands and prayed over those requests, name by name, in English AND Spanish.
Just try to look at these pictures and not tear up:
It's always a joy to share our stuff, but this year we got the chance to share our hearts. AND we got to welcome the burdens, pains, hurts and struggles on the hearts of our neighbors, lifting that load to God, asking for the kind of help we can't provide but He most certainly can.
Praise God for opportunities like these!