On the trip to Washington, DC, I felt that I was challenged most when we visited Joseph’s House. The work that they are doing there, being with people as they live their last weeks, is a really foreign ministry to me, as I haven’t really experienced death, especially in the harsh manner of the ill homeless. The work at Joseph’s House is extremely impactful, but I cannot imagine working with people that you come to love and care for knowing that they will die and another will take their place. I am so impressed by the ministry they do, and cannot fathom the difficulties the ministers there face.
I was also challenged trying to understand the immensity of the challenges that DC faces—the systemic changes needed, that seemed to us to be obvious when we were with the people oppressed by the system. I was challenged to try and find the way that I can do my part to help make the world a better place, even against such enormous issues. I found that taking time to be with people, to be present and open to others, really helped me to see the light in what could become a really dark place without the phenomenal ministries we visited.
I found joy in many places, more than I expected to find. There was the joy of sharing a meal with someone, calling him by name and feeling a personal connection over food. There was joy playing Monopoly with Floyd, losing by a mile and enjoying the company of someone so genuinely happy to just be there with you, in a place of happiness and healing. There was joy at Potter’s House, where Mother Deborah and Hannah nearly bought the store, and everyone felt that there was a book, a way to be empowered. I felt joy seeing that there were people working in DC to fight the problems of homelessness, and being happy about it, even against huge obstacles. There was joy apparent in Rev. Kaufman, in her drive to make a change in society, truly fighting to end homelessness. The people I met in DC, especially at N Street Village, were some of the happiest, welcoming people I have met, and this made it so easy to see God at work in their lives, by helping others.
I saw the church at work in the ministries we visited, and saw the passionate people we met to be agents of Christ’s love and healing. The people we met, both the ministers and volunteers as well as those they served, made personal connections that really allowed God’s love to shine through. These people made me realize that maybe I too have a call to make a change in the world, maybe not in the same way, but still in God’s name.