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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Reflection of my time at Andre House

The first few months of being on staff at Andre House have been a mix of blessings and challenges. The work can be physically demanding with long days, but it can also be mentally and emotionally demanding. One of the hardest things to deal with is seeing and talking to those who have been trying to work themselves out of their current situation. It is very hard for many to do. The families they come from and their past mistakes or misfortunes put them at a great disadvantage. For many of them, there is nothing they want more than to break free of the cycle they find themselves in but they cannot find a way out. I meet many who are trying so hard to overcome the numerous obstacles of poverty and homelessness but they just keep getting knocked down and kicked in the side. As I talk to them, I try to offer good solutions or alternatives but I quickly realize that often times there are none. Sadly, many when they find themselves at this point simply lose hope. Their dreams of living a “normal” life have been crushed too many times to really believe any longer that things could ever change and so they just stop trying. This is one of the hardest and saddest things for me to see, and honestly, if I were in their position, I could probably do no better – in fact I likely would have given into despair long before they did.

However, there are many blessings that come with the job, too. The first thing that comes to mind is the times that we can offer some encouragement to those who might be right on the edge of losing hope and are given that extra positive word of support that keeps them going. That is one of the most rewarding experiences: to see God actually use me in some small way to make a difference in the life of someone who is really in need – in need of food and clothing, but also (and perhaps more importantly) in need of a friend to encourage and support them. Of all the things I do here at Andre House, I get the most joy out of those relationships that are formed and being a part of these people’s lives. I really don’t have much to offer them that they couldn’t find somewhere else and I am just the same as they are. We are all broken and in need, and being with the people here helps me recognize my own weakness and the necessity of relying on God for strength. Sometimes in our lives of privilege and comfort, we kind of start to forget that we need God at all. This experience has brought me to a place where I have been humbled and reminded again of my dependence on God. And I feel so honored that, despite the fact that I am not worthy or qualified to do so, the Lord has allowed me to play some small role in bringing about His Kingdom – that as I learn from my brothers and sisters, God also chooses to use me to bring a little hope to them.

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