Last week Ed and I were in downtown Fort Collins where we had a nice lunch with some new friends that we met in church. After lunch on our way through town we drove past The Rescue Mission where several homeless people were gathered outside waiting for a meal. Right around the corner was Catholic Family Charities where more homeless people were waiting outside on the lawn and then we drove past a city park on the north end of town where homeless people gather to talk, sit on the benches or sleep on the lawn. All of the people we saw were very tired looking, unkept, unattractive and quite honestly I felt overwhelmed seeing all of them and realizing how much help they needed. In feeling overwhelmed I thought it sure would be much easier, and nicer!, to just stay in my comfortable world of having lunch with friends, driving in our nice truck and forgetting about all the hard work ahead of us with Soaring Wings Ministries. As we were driving through town, I turned and asked Ed, "Why does God care so much about poor people?" In reading the New Testament it is clear that Jesus gives us clear direction to help the poor. But why? Why in Matthew 19:21 did Jesus tell us to go sell our possessions and give to the poor? Why in Matthew 22:39 does Jesus tell us that the 2nd greatest commandment is to "love our neighbors as ourselves" and in Luke 14:13 why does Jesus tell us to invite the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind to a banquet rather than our friends, relatives and rich neighbors? Ed did not have an answer to my question about "Why does God care so much about the poor?" so I was left to ponder my thoughts on my own.
The next day I was walking two of our dogs, our Beagle and our Sheltie. When we left New Hampshire we had 4 dogs with us but we are now down to 3 since we had to put our black lab to sleep. Our 3rd dog, Luke, the 100 lb. Great Pyrenees mix could not stay at the campground with us as we were only allowed to have two dogs at our campsite. We were able to find Luke a temporary home at a Rescue Home for Great Pyrenees dogs up in the mountains near Colorado Springs. He is well cared for there and has plenty of room to run around and we are so thankful that they are willing to keep him for us until we are able to have him back with us. As I was walking our two dogs, I was thinking about Luke and wondering how he was getting along. I was also still pondering my question about "Why does God care so much about the poor?". As I walked I thought to myself that it sure would be cheaper and a whole lot easier if we had just given Luke to a dog pound. It isn't cheap to pay the Great Pyrenees Rescue each month to take care of Luke and we have no idea how long he will be there. As I walked, I thought to myself that we never could have taken Luke to a dog pound because we love the dog and because as one of God's creatures he deserves to be taken care of and not just tossed aside because it is costly and inconvenient. WOW! In thinking about Luke, there was the answer to my question about "Why does God care so much about the poor?"!!!! DId you catch those words that entered my mind as I walked our dogs? LOVE, DESERVES TO BE TAKEN CARE OF, COSTLY, INCONVENIENT. Jesus cares so much about the poor because he loves them, because they are precious, because Jesus values life and because they are human beings that deserve a hand up no matter if it is costly and inconvenient. When Jesus looks at a homeless person he does not see them as being unkept, dirty, or unattractive. In fact, if you were to put a homeless person next to someone wealthy(like Donald Trump) or attractive (you can fill in the blank on this one!), Jesus would not have any preference at all! He would put his arms around both of them and hug them equally and love them equally. Jesus knew that the world would be drawn to attractive, good looking, wealthy and clean people with good teeth and nice hair. He knew that people on earth would find it difficult to be around and care about the poor people who aren't attractive, who don't have nice clothes, who don't have nice clear hair and teeth and so He left us with clear commands in the Bible about caring for the poor because HE LOVES THEM! These directions that Jesus has given us are not easy ones. To care about homeless human beings as Jesus does is costly and inconvenient but these homeless people are very precious to Jesus and we have a responsibility as Christians to help our fellow man no matter their status in life. I know, as we move forward with Soaring Wings Ministries, that there will be many times that I will feel overwhelmed. I know that there will be times where I want to forget about helping the homeless and go on with my "nice" life. But as a Christian, I made a decision to be God's servant and as God's servant I have no choice but to obey God's commands to love the poor. I pray that as we move forward with Soaring Wings Ministries that God will give me a genuine love for the homeless people that we will be serving. I want to genuinely love them like Jesus. I want to look at homeless people through the eyes of Jesus and see them as Jesus does....precious people. I am not there yet but my prayer is that someday I will be able to say without hesitation that the cost of helping homeless people is worth everything I have to give and that instead of using the work "inconvenient", I will use the word "privilege".
The last time I wrote a post was well over a month ago and we were in New Hampshire. I am so very sorry that it has been so long since I last wrote a blog. So much has been going on and our days have been so full that I have not had the time or sometimes the strength to sit down and write. I want to let you all know that our trip out here was a good one. We did not have any trouble with bad weather, traffic, flat tires, or engine trouble. Even though it was a good trip it was also a hard trip because we left behind everything that was familiar to us and we are still adjusting to a new environment. I have to honestly say that there were times that I wished we could turn around and head right back to New Hampshire. We didn't leave New Hampshire because we didn't like it there or because we were unhappy. It is quite the opposite....we LOVED New Hampshire, we LOVED living there and we were VERY HAPPY. Sometimes when I think of what we left behind, I want to cry. My heart truly longs for something familiar. When I go to the grocery store here, I don't run into anyone I know and it takes me such a long time to find what I am looking for. When we go to church there are no familiar faces and we do not yet know the stories of their lives. When I listen to the local news on t.v. I wonder where on earth in Colorado these places are that they are talking about? Quite honestly, I have been sad since I left home. It didn't help that 2 days after we arrived to Colorado we had to put our Black Lab, Boomer to sleep. She had a mass in her abdomen that was misplacing her intestines. She was my favorite dog and after having her for 12 years my heart was broken that she was no longer part of my life. Interesting, isn't it, that I still refer to New Hampshire as "home". I don't yet feel like Colorado is home and at the very same time I know that this is exactly where I am suppose to be. There really is no place on earth that I would rather be even though it is very, very hard being here. So why do I want to stay here? I want to stay here because in the short time that we have been in Colorado we have had a glimpse of some of the families that Soaring Wings Ministries will be reaching out to help. We have seen a young family, with a young girl about 9 years old, digging through a dumpster. We have seen a woman shed tears of joy and gratitude because we gave her a bag with some personal items in it. We have seen a young father and mother with a young child and an infant begging for help. These are the people that we want to help with Soaring Wings Ministries. We want to give them a home for a while so they won't have to dig through dumpsters and beg for help. I have hope that Soaring Wings Ministries will help some of these young families and that is what keeps me going when I long for something familiar and when I wish I could return home to my comfortable life. I absolutely loved sitting on my back deck and listening to the birds and enjoying my garden. I loved getting together with the ladies in my Bible Study group every Tuesday morning and worshipping God with people that I loved on Sunday mornings. I loved going to the grocery store and always running into someone I knew. I loved driving down the roads in New Hampshire and always thanking God for the natural beauty of the area. I loved being close to my family and friends. I know that over time Colorado will begin to feel like home. We have already started to make some very good connections at a church that we really like. It just takes time and I am not a very patient or strong person. I wish I could say that I am strong person who loves change and who welcomes change with a smile on my face. I am not. I whine, I moan, I complain, I doubt, I pout, I get frustrated, I drive Ed crazy and yet we move forward because more than anything we want to be obedient to God. I cannot deny the fact that God has called Ed and I to Colorado to launch Soaring Wings Ministries and to serve homeless families and young adults here. God is my commanding officer and I need to do what He says even if sometimes it is not easy. I cannot picture myself in heaven, standing before God and saying that I did do what he wanted me to do because I wanted to stay in New Hampshire. How could I stand before God and tell him I didn't help the homeless young families in Colorado because I was just too comfortable sitting on my deck? Or how could I tell God, oh I meant to go to Colorado but I was really enjoying our church and that great ladies Bible Study Group on Tuesday mornings? How could I stand before God and tell him that I loved him but I really liked how comfortable it was to shop at Market Basket in Warner, NH instead of King Sooper in Fort Collins, CO.? How could I stand before God and tell him that I really meant to go to Colorado but I wasn't quite done working in my garden and wanted to enjoy it a little bit more? Would I honestly be able to tell God that I didn't go to Colorado because I really liked driving down the beautiful roads of New Hampshire? Somehow my difficult time adjusting to life in Colorado doesn't seem as important as being obedient to my Lord and Savior. I am His servant and I have given my life to Him to do as He pleases in my life. God does not exist and Jesus did not die on the cross to make my life comfortable. Ephesians 2:10 says "We are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do". I am so thankful for a patient God and a patient husband who love me even when I am not at my best. I am also so very thankful that in spite of all my moaning, groaning, complaining and pouting that God is moving forward with Soaring Wings Ministries. We can already see His hand guiding us in the people that we have met, the church that we have decided to attend and in the connections that we are making in the area. We know that these are not happening by coincidence. We know that they are God's guidance in our lives. Please keep us in your prayers as we continue to adjust to life in Colorado. Also, and most importantly, please continue to pray for the homeless young families and adults that we will be helping. We know that they are going through hard, traumatic times and I know that my longing for "home" and "familiarity" are NOTHING compared to the daily struggles these people face everyday. It very well may be that in my next blog posting I will be referring to Colorado as "home" instead of New Hampshire and my greatest desire is that very soon in a blog posting that I will be able to share that some homeless families and young adults are also "home". What a glorious day that will be!!!!
His faithful servant even when it is hard,
Anita Rennells is the author of this blog. She and her husband have moved to Colorado when Ed retired and are in the process of opening a ranch to help homeless young adults.
Soaring Wings Ministries