What does it really mean to BE WITH? Jesus spoke of the importance of just being with when he comforts Martha who was curiously (and maybe annoyingly) inquiring about Mary who was sitting at Jesus’ feet “taking it all in”. Jesus did not say to do nothing all the time; it seems as if he also told Martha that sitting and listening is good to go along with the doing.
Recently, a group from JCBC ventured the 28 miles into the city to BE WITH the residents of City of Refuge through the RATL (Restoration ATL) program. City of Refuge helps provide emergency, and long term shelter, for homeless women and children looking for permanent housing, and RATL works with them to provide Bible Studies, craft times, and fellowship.
It was such a great thing–being a part of the weekend, and no preparation was involved! Just a voice to talk, and an ear to listen. Friday evening we gathered together, ate dinner and ice cream with the residents and their kids. Then, a rather spirited game of basketball, and jump rope competitions, continued through the evening mixed in with meaningful conversations from the residents about how God provides. Our JCBC teenagers played with the kids and rehashed the most current Netflix episode with the teens. I even overheard some moms talking about potty training! As the evening finished, we transitioned into our different sleeping quarters. Saturday 6:30 am came fairly early as we started the day with breakfast and activities through the day including; games, Bible Study, meals, holding babies, and more fellowship! It was late afternoon and we ventured back the 28 miles knowing we had been changed.
You see, it was just about BEING WITH. We are all in a time of transition; school, relationships, a job. The difference is, these women are gaining control over their lives with the help of RATL as their support group and JCBC was able to make a few new friends being a part of a RATL weekend. We heard their stories, prayed with them, laughed with them, and shared our stories too; where we grew up, what’s our family like, favorite foods. This experience is not a one way street. You are not there to “fix” their problem. And they’re not there to “fix” mine. It’s all about LOVING and SHARING in the life God has given each of us.
So the next time you have some time on your hands, venture down to Atlanta for a weekend of meaningful fun! RATL’s weekend missional experience requires no passport and no shots! And children are a welcomed addition! I’ll be down there a few Friday evenings just for the ice cream! For more information look up www.RestorationATL.org and www.cityofrefugeatl.org.
Johns Creek Baptist Church
We were never intended to do life all alone, but rather in the love and company of God and each other.