Sunday, October 19, 2008

Convoy of Hope

Yesterday was a humbling, emotionally exhausting day. I was one of the hundreds of followers of Jesus Christ who showed up at the Convoy of Hope that took place at E. Russell Hicks Middle School in Hagerstown, Maryland. Our goal and mission was to provide for hurting families in the area and share the blessed hope that we have in Jesus Christ with whoever needed to hear it.

Reflecting on the day, I remembered the lady who asked for prayer for her husband who is dying of diabetes and has no health care.

Or the gentlemen who shared that his kidneys were failing and that he was on a list for a donor; upon finishing a prayer with him, he fell into my arms and wept. I could tell he had not felt loved in quite sometime. As I walked him out to where he could get his free groceries, he continued to thank me, tears rolling down his face.

I recall the young lady and her 1 1/2 year old son who were on there own. She shared about her past drug addiction and about how God had used her little boy to "straighten her out."

And the dear lady who accepted Christ as her Savior and with tears in her eyes, hugged me. She was a "New creation" (2 Cor. 5:17).

Upon returning home, and scooping up my oldest daughter into my arms, I could not help but weep for those whom I had met and prayed with that day. I could not help but admit to being spoiled. I remarked to my wife, "The last time I had to go to the doctor, I complained about how long I had to sit in the waiting room. Today, I met people who were dying and didn't have health care."

I was challenged by many of the things I had seen and heard at the Convoy of Hope and a few observations really stayed with me:

1) I met people that were hungry, poor, cold, sick, and/or broken, yet they longed for one thing more than any other: God. They longed for His comfort, His strength, and His provision. Their situation, in most cases, did not lead them to curse God, but to cry out to Him.

2) With all that the guests received that day- food, entertainment, haircuts, medical checks, and job opportunities- they seemed to appreciate one thing more than any other- that someone cared for them and took the time to show them love.

I was told, by a fellow worker, of a lady who had 9 to 10 of her family members with her and was able to get a free, professionally done, family portrait taken. As she walked into the prayer tent she was crying and remarked, "We (her family) have never had the chance to have a picture done all together, professionally like this." I wonder if she is still looking at the picture at this very moment.

Even more so, I wonder if God was watching and smiling because His church was together, being the body of Christ to those in need.

I was honored to be a part of the Convoy of Hope and sincerely hope that the guests gained as much from the experience as I did.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad A. Gross

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