(Above picture: Kayla, holding her water bottle, is pictured with students from County Line. These students, and parents, volunteer once a month.)
Every Sunday morning at 8:00 am, the Fort Wayne Rescue Mission opens up their doors for homeless men and women to join in a church gathering that consists of worship, a sermon, fellowship, and distribution of clothes and food. This small ministry began by one lady handing out cookies to the homeless, and soon enough it grew to a weekly event with many volunteers and many homeless people. I started volunteering at this ministry last year after visiting it for a youth event. I would drive there every Sunday morning either by myself or with a friend or parent, to join Ken Dearing in building relationships with the homeless men and women. Soon enough, I began to recognize my friends, who happened to be homeless, and they would recognize me. I was able to listen to their stories of brokenness, and sometimes restoration.
I specifically remember one Sunday morning when we gathered at the outdoor park. I began talking to an older gentleman who had a daughter of his own that was about my age. At that time, he did not live near his daughter, but still kept in contact with her. He knew that she was putting herself in bad situations, but he did not want to confront her, out of fear that she would feel betrayed by him. After explaining all of this to me, he looked me in the eyes and asked, “what would you want me to do if you were her?” His question caught me off guard, as I did not expect an older homeless man to ask advice from me, a “naive” teenage volunteer girl. At that moment, I felt like I was truly making my mark. Before then I would volunteer more for myself, as it made me happy getting to know new people and serving them at the same time. It was not until that moment when I realized God was using me to impact others. I gave the older gentleman my honest answer, and each Sunday he would update me on how things were going.
Ever since that moment, God has opened up many doors for me to be a disciple to his homeless sons and daughters. I have now built multiple relationships with these men and women, and it gives me so much joy to see them every time I visit. I would recommend to anyone to visit this homeless ministry, as it will not only push you out of your comfort-zone but also help you grow in your faith and love for Christ and his people. God is moving in great ways through this ministry, and I count it as a huge blessing to be a part of it.
(This post was written by Kayla Tatman. She is a senior at Lakewood Park Christian School and is an intern for her awesome dad at County Line Church.)