A Story of Community from Oregon City
“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for the opposite of poverty is not wealth, it’s community”
Stephen Bauman, President of World Relief
With two teenage boys in high school, parents can’t help but worry about the needs of their family. This is especially true when your family has been homeless for over a year. An issue for so many is where to look for help and how to beat the obstacles in the way of receiving care. But when a community is the one reaching out, a connection is made that fills the holes made by the world. For this family, like many others, it was more than just a home they needed. Finding food every day and lunch for the sons had become a burden. Keeping clean clothes was becoming difficult. Merely having a safe environment for a son with autism seemed impossible. Then the Church came into their lives and things started looking up.
United to Serve. That’s our motto and for a reason. We are committed to the idea that unity is the key to making a lasting difference in the community. It isn’t enough to solve temporary issues; we strive to rewire the interactions between neighbors through the love of Jesus. If we can show how we are meant to live through examples, clinics, and missions we become one step closer to fulfilling the law and making lives better daily.
“Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”
As new relationships add to our existing family, we are able to our neighbors. They support us in return. It is truly impossible to stand on our own two feet. True unity is working to supply a combination of all our needs: health, home, clothing, and food. These necessities can be met through the grace of God.
So waiting in line for dental care is a where I heard this mother’s story. She isn’t new to the clinic model, and she was proud to be a member of the hosting church. She finds shelter and belonging within those walls that extend into her life in all areas. Inside those walls was where she and her husband found a place for each of their boys to stay. Then through additional services offered by outside groups the boys received meals at school and proper clothing options.
The smile across her face never left as she shared her story about the hope that was restored through the loving actions of others. She continued by bragging in the humble way proud mothers do about her eldest son’s success. This past month he graduated with honors from high school and is currently considering college possibilities.
As she speaks more about the future her eyes begin to sparkle. She tells me that they are currently prepping to move into a duplex. By the end of summer, they will all live together as a family again under the same roof.
She is beyond thankful that the Church has really found her a place to call home.
Before she left to get a cavity filled, she made sure to tell me about another place she credits for her family’s transformation. Mainspring Portland is a food pantry that provided so many needed meals for them over the past months. Even with her family preparing for moving into the duplex, she is already eager to give back. Once she settles into her new life, she will be the one volunteering behind the counter instead of standing in front of it. Her passion for helping others has flourished since she saw the great work that can be done. She told me more than once that she simply can’t wait to begin her new life that the Lord has provided.