This month we were working with the Family Violence Center and Aids Project of the Ozarks. In addition to doing some work at FVC's facility, we had a photo shoot day for the women & children of FVC & APO. We had professional photographers, makeup and hair stylists, a catered brunch, carnival games for the kids and a metric ton of volunteers running around the building all morning.
It was an emotional day for most of the guests, and many of the volunteers..especially the ones that were "hosting" women & their children through the event. These women have had a rough time. They've dealt with serious physical and emotional trauma in their lives. Not only that, but many of them feel that they carry a giant sign on them that reads "abused," "failure," "AIDS," "charity case" or something else. We hoped that an event like this would help remove some of that baggage, at least for a little while; and that by the church loving on them and focusing on them, we'd be able to really make an impact in their lives in a much needed fashion.
My wife Jenny was one of the volunteers that was "hosting" a guest and her kids through the church. This is a big deal for her. She's a bit timid and shy, and is really trying to get over a lot of it.
She made a comment on our church's facebook page today about the event that I wanted to share, here it is:
"I went outside my comfort zone and hosted a woman and her daughter and son from the Family Violence Center to do hair/makeup, eat brunch, do pictures, and play at the carnival. They were new to the Springfield area and in the middle of a rough transition. They seemed to have a good time and they were all very sweet. Beautiful family. At one point, the little boy hugged me, then reached in his shirt and handed me something imaginary. I asked what it was, and he said "It's a piece of my heart!". Sooo sweet."Jenny shared more with me about the family's situation (which the mother had shared with her) and to say they've been through some difficult times would be an understatement. Jenny's comment hardly scratches the surface, but that's all the detail I'm going into...as it's obviously a delicate situation. Many of the women & families have people who abused them in the past and are actively searching for them now.
But this was a family who really needed some attention and love in a fairly unconventional way. And Jenny (along with hundreds of others from our church) were able to give that to them today.
If you're interested, you can read other stories about people's experiences with 2nd Saturday on facebook. People are leaving comments and stories at http://www.facebook.com/northpointchurch. If you were involved and have something to share, feel free to share it there as well.