God Took Our Neighborhood Bible Study on a Field Trip of Compassion
The sweet young homeless girl came up to us and said, “This is the best Easter I’ve ever had!” We were blessed with these precious words when our Neighborhood Bible Study served 70 children and their parents living in a homeless facility just a few miles from where we live. God took us there on Good Friday, to teach us what we are studying in Paul’s letter to the Colossians, “as His chosen people we are to clothe ourselves with compassion and kindness, and bear with each other.” I didn’t realize it at the time, but as a good teacher sometimes does, God was taking us on a field trip and allowing us to experience His teaching on a practical level, transforming our hearts and lives. And at the same time, He was loving these families in hard places through us. I love it that our Bible Study can impact not only our neighborhood, but our community as well.
God’s field trip began when two women from our NBS mentioned that they take food several times a week to families in a nearby homeless facility. As we were learning in Colossians that Christ lives in us and through us, He prompted us to reach out and serve our fellow families who are homeless and in a hard season of life. With Easter approaching, we decided to create an outreach to bring the hope of Christ to these families on Good Friday. Whether our ladies contributed funds, shopped for goodies for Easter baskets, or prepared the buffet dinner, everyone participated. There’s just something special about serving together as a Neighborhood Bible Study community. It connects our hearts and our faith journeys, grows our friendships, and encourages us to live out what we are learning. And of course that’s why God calls us into Biblical community!
On Good Friday we decorated the facility, prepared the Easter baskets, and set up the buffet. Then the school buses began arriving with the children who live there, first the elementary children who ran excitedly to the festive room, followed by middle and high school buses. We spent time with all of them, talking, helping with homework, and encouraging the moms and dads who came home from jobs, if they had them. In each Easter basket we included Gospel tracts for children and adults – in English and Spanish.
Many of the families recognized us from last Christmas, which was our first outreach with them. That’s when we realized how God wanted to work through our NBS to bless our community. We decorated the room with a Christmas tree and purchased gifts for all the children. In the midst of all the excitement, a woman came through the buffet line and quietly ate her dinner, and then came to us and said with tears in her eyes, “I was so hungry. Thank you for this meal.” With tears in our eyes we all hugged her.
When I was in the fifth grade, our teacher took us on a field trip to a manufacturing plant to see how potato chips are made. After seeing the complicated process required to make chips, I will never look at a bag of chips the same. When God takes us on a field trip, He teaches our hearts in more profound and unforgettable ways. I will never look at an Easter basket the same. By it we brought Christ’s hope and love to His families in hard times, and saw a glimpse of how God transforms our lives as we learn and serve together in our Neighborhood Bible Study.