It was a short-lived trip, yet such an amazing ride. I am speaking of our journey with The Downtown Church (Wichita) to restore a 1940’s abandoned church building so as to house a homeless church congregation (as I had written in a previous post).
In this journey, I witnessed Christians coming together in an effort to help the homeless in our community. It was a learning experience for all involved, including the homeless. We poured our hearts into it. Many gave their time and talents, and many gave their savings and belongings—so as to make it all happen. Putting it simply, it brought out the best of us. All happening through the leadership of Pastor Joe Wright.
But as some may say, all good journeys must come to an end. Somewhere, somehow, things took a sour turn. The church for the homeless picked up and left and Pastor Joe’s congregation was asked by the owner of the building to vacate. And suddenly, I was hearing rumors (one might even say slanderous) coming from the mouths of acquaintances about the very pastor who for many years has faithfully and lovingly taught the teachings of Jesus Christ to my family. (If not for Brother Joe, I wonder where my family might be.)
Standing in the church before vacating and trying to find solace in all of this, I find myself standing next to this stairway handrail. My husband fixed this handrail specifically with Pastor Joe in mind. It was down to raw metal and it would cut hands as people walked down the steps. It was an easy fix for Steve. Yet, Pastor Joe came to my husband shortly after the rail had been fixed and said, “You helped me a great deal by fixing that rail, and I can’t thank you enough.” To which my husband replied, “Pastor Joe, over the years you have helped me in more ways than you will ever know.” So true, so true.
But it is not true that all good journeys must come to an end. Though sometimes they do take a detour. When people persevere and keep doing what they know to be right, then they will overcome and prevail in the end. We had to walk away from all the improvements which we made to the building, leaving them for those who enter the building behind us (which appears to be the very same people for whom they were intended). But we the people are the church—and the building is just a building. I have no doubt the people of this church will continue to do amazing things for God’s glory. Though Steve and I will move to Oklahoma and find a church in our new location, our hearts and prayers will always be with the pastor and the congregation of The Downtown Church.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28