SUMMER OF HOPE

BY: ALEX WILLIAMS

A bout two years ago I had the opportunity to ride along with Tracy Arnold, who has been serving with HOPE for All for many years. Tracy has the opportunity to go into people’s homes, assess what their needs are during a time of crisis, pray with them, and then make sure their homes are filled with what they need. I was excited to go with her on this outing since we were headed to an apartment in Eastport Terrace. Bay Area had been building a relationship with that community for some time at this point and I was excited to go into a home and connect with someone there. What a privilege it is to serve someone in crisis or in a time of need.

We walked in and I allowed Tracy to take the lead. This young mother had just moved in, and her home was barren and quiet. I could see her little girl poking her head around the corner of the back room and I did a little wave while Tracy and mom talked. Mom was telling Tracy about her need for everything from basic home items to furniture and beds, while I was able to sit down with the daughter and talk to her about school, homework, and basic 9-year- old things. After about 20 minutes I was cracking jokes and felt like the daughter and I were really hitting it off.

Tracy was able to wrap up the conversation with mom and tell her that Hope for All was going to meet these needs and encouraged her. We all stood together, and Tracy said she would like to pray. Tracy asked if they had any prayer requests and then prayed for both. This was such a simple yet powerful moment to be a part of. We were going to provide material things, but we also were able to show the gospel through our encouraging words, through our prayers, and through our intentions and love. It was so simple. It brought Matthew 25:40 to mind: “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’”

I told the mother that I served at the community center with others from our church and I hoped to see her daughter there soon. A few weeks later, the daughter showed up to the community center and I was so thankful to see her! Fast forward to now two years later and I still see her daughter at the center on a weekly basis. She is thriving, growing up, and relationships are deepening. I’ve even seen the mom out and about at local restaurants and walking the streets near my community in Eastport. I wave and say hello and ask her how she is doing.

The simple moment of arriving and being a part of that initial meeting with Tracy has now unfolded into me being able to know another soul and see that family cross my path all the time. I can pray for her and be reminded that the Lord is working and has good plans in store for them. He can use each simple act of love and kindness as little seeds to work on their hearts. I hope that one day I might have the opportunity to share the gospel, but if not, maybe because of the little seeds Tracy and I have sown, she will be ready to receive the truth when presented. What a humbling thought.

This summer we have the opportunity to serve alongside this organization that made this all happen. HOPE for All. We have an initiative called Summer of Hope where we desire to send three small teams to serve alongside them one day a month, all summer long. If your heart is stirred for people in need in our community, join us. bayareacc.org/outreach