Written by Mary Ann Sibley
Article originally posted to It’s Anybody’s Game.
What is the one thing that you are doing right now that is rocking your world?
That was the first question from a friend, as we sat under wispy trees and drank Berry Ice Tea. I don’t think I gave a straight forward answer. I rambled down every rabbit trail trying to find the answer. And now it’s been several hours and I find that I am landing on: I still don’t know if I’ve found IT yet. Not really. I’m not doing anything….now…not really.
I have simply been invited to many things. Houses, meetings, lunches coffees. And I tend to say yes to most all of them. And I’m always glad that I did. One thing? Me? Land on one thing?!
Oh. But then I get an update from Hosanna House. This house is really a home located in East Durham. The “rough” part of Durham where there was a shooting again one street down just last night. But make no mistake. THIS. IS. A. HOME.
This home has three bedrooms, fully furnished with a front porch and a back deck overlooking a huge back yard. With all the trees, you can’t see a house straight back and you don’t notice the houses on sides. The dining room has a ridiculously large conference table that was donated and it’s the perfect size to accommodate the people for dinner after church services; which are held in this same house in the front living area every Sunday at 5:30pm.
One bedroom is for Tammy. Tammy left her job and comfort to live in this new home so that women, who once earned their wages as prostitutes, would have a safe place to call home. A home where they will live for a year, learn the 101’s of “daily life”, Jesus and serving their neighbors. Where they will be prayed over and for. Where they will be accepted and loved because they are valuable.
I sat at the conference table and asked; “Tell me what happens here during the week.” “How do the neighbors know who you/we are?” They started sharing stories that made me weep because this is what Jesus taught. You know. That second pat after “love me…” when He said “love others”.
The bible is full of this straightforward command. I don’t know how we tend to get this part wrong so much or even miss it altogether. 1 John 4:7 says “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.
Mark 12:30-31 (NIV): “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”
Tammy talked about how simply being out on the porch has become her own little “porch ministry”. I love that.
Listen to Tammy:
“Resurrection Sunday/Easter started with going to church and sharing a meal with my refugedurham.org family. We heard a most cogent and relevant word at 1st Baptist Durham. The Lord blessed us with the opportunity to not just be hearers of the word but to do what we’ve been called to do. We lined up Easter baskets on the front porch and invited the neighbors to have one. Needless to say they went fast but the most wonderful part of it all was to hear the laughter and excitement of the kids that played in the yard. As one child unwrapped hers while sitting on the porch, I noticed her mother’s smile and then whispered how she wasn’t able to provide anything for her children and she takes a breath.
I love the pristine walls of the Sanctuary but porch ministry is breathtaking or should I say breathgiving.
And then recently, Philip and I encouraged each other to remain steadfast in our faith of what our Lord has called us to do. We ended our conversation with a spirit of “God will do it!” This fight in the natural and spirit against those things that try to say this type of ministry won’t work is already won! And God decided encourage us.
We have a neighbor who we wave to, speak to, not a lot of interaction, just being neighbors. When he mowed his yard, he also mowed ours too. When I offered to pay he smiled and shook his head, “No.”
When I think about the people that say it won’t work, I beg to differ. It is working!!! One child at the time, one neighbor at the time; being present, showing the love of Christ. Porch ministry….”
All this and more is the thing that is rocking my world right now.
Last night, I dropped by to introduce some friends to Tammy. She told us how she loves sitting on the front porch when the children get off the bus. They now call out to her; “Hey Ms. Tammy!” and they even come up to the porch and chat before heading home.
Then Tammy looked at me with her bright-eyes and said; ‘You know, I am praying for enough money in the budget so I can have chocolate chip cookies for the children when they get off the bus.”
Of course you do Tammy. Because you get it. You haven’t forgotten.
Your Porch Ministry, with chocolate chip cookies is what God will use to say ‘I love you people!”
And Tammy, Kim and Philip’s actions say “You are valuable to God and so you are valuable to us!”
OH BOY! I just discovered my “one thing”! The Porch Ministry is rocking my world!