Hi, I'm Beccafrom The Stanley Clan and my husband and I work for a ministry called Vision Atlanta. The goal of our ministry is to be a bridge between the resources of the suburbs and the needs of the kids living in at-risk areas of inner-city Atlanta. We provide summer camp to kids who couldn't otherwise afford it, and foster mentoring relationships for those children who live in poverty right here in Atlanta. We love our kiddos and are passionate about serving them and seeing them walk in freedom in Christ.
...There's this one family we work closely with, and their mama is an absolutely gem. She is the most grateful, sweet, loving person. Who never asks us for anything. Truly. Now granted, she has made some BAD decisions. And as a result, she has 7 kids and one grand-baby who live with her, in one bedroom. Not a one-bedroom apartment, just one bedroom. Period.
This sweet lady, April, told her daughter's mentor that she didn't have any winter jackets for her kids. And people, it has been COLD up in here lately. So I felt a little panicky for my kiddos. And we gathered some folks who all bought coats and we ended up with some really nice winter coats for her kids. Adam and I wanted to bring them to her right away, so Friday night after a dinner meeting, we headed downtown.
We pulled up to their building, waving off all the people who naturally assumed we were there to purchase some of their wares (if you know what I mean). We grabbed several big Gap bags and shivered on the front porch while we waited for her to answer the door. Entering her room, I was able to make out all seven kids huddled on the queen sized bed, by the light of one small flickering candle. She explained that they only had one outlet that worked, and they were using it for a small space heater since there was no heat. I looked down as a small hand slipped into mine, and I embraced little Raymone tightly, tears slipping down my cheeks as he asked if he could please some stay at our house. I opened my mouth to tell him yes, forever, but Adam explained that we had brought him a winter jacket and would be back to pick him up for church on Sunday.
I sat down and pulled Ray Ray into my lap. He softly whispered in my ear: "Becca, I love white people." Surprised, I looked at him and asked "Why?"
"Because they are SO nice," he said earnestly. I responded with a hug, and explained that it isn't the color of your skin that makes you nice or mean, but rather what's inside your heart. I told him that the reason we were so nice to him was only because Jesus lived inside of us, and Jesus loved him so so much.
At one point during our little conversation, I looked up to see Adam telling April that we wanted to move downtown so she could bring the kids over to play, and sit with us and drink coffee. Or to do her laundry. Tears streamed down her face, and babies snuggled on the bed, Ray Ray sat in my lap, and Lee was holding my hand.
And all of a sudden I knew just a little bit of what it felt like in the stable so long ago, as Jesus lay sleeping in a manger: a bed not fit for a baby, let alone a King. And yet it was holy, peaceful, joyful even. Because Jesus IS the least of these, and His presence can warm even the darkest room, the draftiest stable.
It is moments like these that I remember how much our Savior loves and provides for every single one of His children, and I remember how blessed we are to be able to serve Him in the darkest places. Because that's usually where we find Him, where we expect Him the least and need Him the most.