1. Lafayette Transitional Housing Center. In recent weeks many Riverside families have made financial contributions and donated food to Lafayette Transitional Housing Center’s (LTHC) (http://www.lthc.net/) food pantry. One Riverside Small Group has even served two meals in the LTHC soup kitchen and prayed with the guests. A Riverside family (the Renz’s) made beautiful placemats with a prayer on them that decorated the LTHC tables. Another Riverside Small Group is making laundry detergent to distribute at LTHC and to Family Promise (http://www.fpglinc.org/) guests.
The staff of LTHC are extremely grateful. A couple weeks ago when some folks from Riverside were serving at LTHC one of the staff became very emotional and hugged Lisa Harker. The staff member told Lisa that she was so impressed that Lisa’s Small Group sat and ate with the guests and treated them like “real” people. Not everyone that serves at LTHC takes time to eat and talk with the guests, but Lisa’s Small Group wanted to get to know the guests’ stories.
Lisa recently encouraged the Riverside LTHC volunteers through an email that said, “God is working through Riverside. You may never see the results, but we are planting seeds and helping to bring God’s Kingdom to this earth.”
2. Family Promise. Recently several people from Riverside offered meals, service, conversation, restless nights, and general presence to Family Promise guests at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Lafayette. These volunteers were willing to set aside other important activities to serve families experiencing a housing crisis in our community. They were able to spend time with the guests and get to know them a little bit. As always, the Riverside volunteers were blessed by the experience as much as the guests.
Linda Bogan was encouraged to get to talk with one guest in particular. One woman shared that before coming into the Family Promise program she had been praying to God for direction on what she should do. She is in the process of a difficult divorce. She told Linda that it is not a coincidence that after all of those months of praying to God that God would have her and her children stay in church buildings surrounded by “good Christian people.” The woman said that she had gone to Catholic mass with her grandma growing up but when her grandma died she quit going and this was her first experience back with the church. Praise God! She is so thankful and even said she was going to buy her kids a copy of the Children’s Bible that they enjoyed reading together at Holy Trinity. She said she had never been able to understand the Bible until she read that one. Holy Trinity and Riverside immediately provided a children’s Bible and an adult Bible for her to keep!
Moved by this guest’s story and what God was doing in her life, Linda worked with Family Promise to invite the Family Promise guests to her house for Thanksgiving dinner. They enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving Day together with a delicious meal, great conversation, football on TV, bike rides, and a long walk.
If you would like to learn more about how you can help transform our community with LTHC or Family Promise, contact the Riverside office at [email protected] or 765.463.4600.