Last year I prayed that God would show me a place to serve that was outside my suburban, 2-car-garage, Starbucks latte comfort zone. The countless Scriptures about serving the poor and needy bounded out of the pages of my Bible and waved their arms at me. God answered that prayer in a beautiful way by allowing me to help run the Bridge Course in a drug rehab house for moms and their young children. It’s part of a larger rehab organization called Gaudenzia, which is basically in my backyard in West Chester.
How can I describe my experience in a short post? Imagine vinyl sofas, beautiful souls, shattered families, adorable kids. Add doubts, fears, scars, hopes, laughter, friendship, trust, and best of all, a growing understanding of the free and glorious gospel of Jesus.
We prayed together, talked together, cried together, opened the Word together, jammed a bunch of old car seats in a van and drove to church together, resettled moms in their next phase together, and trusted God together.
The larger CFC Gaudenzia team holds a weekly church service for the residents of all the houses, both men and women, on Sundays at 1:00. It includes grilled hotdogs, worship, a 10-minute message, and lots of opportunities to love. It’s quick and amazing. When I was there yesterday, one of the ladies in our Bridge Course told me that Amanda, a young mom who had attended our course and whom we’d loved and prayed with for ten weeks, had overdosed and died as soon as she’d been released.
I remembered her hopes and fears about whether she would make it and her longing to get back to her 5-year-old daughter. Stories like this are no surprise to recovering addicts, but they are deeply sad. I don’t know where Amanda’s eternal soul is, but I know she heard and understood the gospel. I count it a sober privilege to have talked with her of Him. Ministry is often a matter of life and death, even when surrounded by hotdogs and fussy kids.
You know what’s funny? I have zero background in drugs. I was offered weed in middle school, didn’t take it, and that’s the end of my dramatic story. But I’m a desperate sinner who needs a Savior, and so at Gaudenzia, we had 99% of everything in common. They chose drugs, while I chose other broken cisterns. We all need Jesus.
If, like me, you want to peek outside your comfort zone for a new view of God, ask how you can serve the Gaudenzia team. I can assure you that God is there.