We have had a deeply disappointing blow recently. Our newest intern chose “weed” over work. She had confessed that she was on drugs when she came into the House for her first interview. We told her a drug screen is given at the end of the 6-week training period, and she said she would be clean by then. She was. Everyone welcomed her into the sweet fellowship of the House. We gave clothes, meals, and money to pay her utilities. She welcomed prayer and instructions on budgeting. We threw her a birthday party and baked her first birthday cake ever, by her grateful admission. She was a very good fit for our level of work, and she enthusiastically embraced every assignment. She became part of our family. Our program worked well for her for 2 months.
Last week, a different person showed up wearing her name badge. Spewing insults and invectives, she lost her job, and her new chemical high took her to the lowest of lows. She said, “I want dope more than this (expletive) job”. I want dullness over life. I want darkness over light.
At MCOT, we count on the fact that God is at work with His compassion and mercy in Orange Mound. He invites us to work with Him, drawing on the strength He provides.
“ If anyone serves, she should do it in the strength that God provides” with the knowledge our work will not go to waste” (1 Pet. 4:11)
"Dear Sisters, Stand firm… Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor is not in vain.” (1 Cor. 15:58)
We don’t measure our loss of her as a metric of failure. We planted seeds, and there is Truth in every seed that we sewed. The soil of her heart was too hard, too thorny or too much “weed” was present.
Our 12 raised gardens on the House property are a visual of what a seed can do in 2 months with the right conditions. In July we have harvested dozens of tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers, okra, and a few squash.
We have also strengthened, promoted, enriched, and honored many more women. These women committed to the change only the Lord can bring through our humble efforts to assist as He restores the years the locust has eaten (Joel 2:25).
We lament we are not at full capacity and full bloom. The right soil, a softened heart, is the fertile and essential part of the formula. We who serve in Orange Mound are not soil experts.
Left to my own biases, only a couple of our women would have appeared ready for what we offer in resources and hope - the seeds we sew. Most arrive with gravel, rocks, and boulders under the surface of their soil for removal by tilling and hoeing. Anyone would say experts are required to help aerate what is hidden under the topsoil. We are far from that, but we couldn’t wait for the experts to appear to do that for us. We couldn’t wait for the inefficient and over-loaded systems called government agencies to give them an appointment. Nor did we have time for their families to engage.
The lack of skilled farmers, an almanac and a plow did not deter us from planting our vegetable gardens. We put seeds in the ground and waited for the Spring rain. Faith is action, or it is not faith. We act in obedience to The One who gives us the seeds. We cannot shift the load to an agency or close our eyes to the need. Lives are fragile in Orange Mound.
Addiction is a serious concern, so we offer classes at The House taught by our staff for anyone who desires to overcome addiction. And for those who need and want more help we refer to programs.
Jesus is in the building, we call The House. He is also walking in the neighborhood, bringing His image bearers to our front door.
The same door welcomes volunteer workers to come assist us in our activity. We need workers because "the harvest is plentiful" in our community.
We also believe in faith that our intern will return to that door and find us and Him again, for a do-over.