As the poverty rate increases, the political climate tensions, and households everywhere seem whirling in uncertainty, increasingly hard times can leave people paralyzed along seas of desperation. Hearing the world’s birth pains, feeling the contractions of those struggling can overwhelm with guilt-induced deafness when faced with the reality, “We just can save them all.” As a result, instead of swimming with the broken, it can seem easier to stay frozen, watching from dry land, letting fear blind us to those drowning with needs, faking disablement while the life preserver of hope dangles vainly around our neck.
One nineteen-year old missional young woman plunged fearlessly, open eyed, unplugged ears into the sea of hurt she witnessed, walking down the streets surrounding her campus. Her courage led to vision, which unleashed a storm of action even she at the time could never have imagined.
Kami sat in her college dorm room one day, heartbroken at the needs of the homeless all around her. She dared not only to see and hear but to ask, “What if…”
“What if we got some backpacks and passed them out to the homeless?”
This question birthed the idea that she originally thought would only be maybe five backpacks. Yet, in reality resulted in a community event, changing not only the lives of those who joined her, but the dozens of homeless who received the life preserver of hope Kami offered.
As Kami, wise beyond her years, sought the Lord, He confirmed His mission, giving her a strategic plan to walk into the waters of poverty she bravely chose to see. She launched a Facebook page called, “Project backpack”. There, she shared her vision and requested specific donations from her community. Days prior to the event, Kami traveled around buying and picking up donations including blankets, hats, gloves, and toiletries. Then, she and twenty-four people set out on foot one cold December day into the sea of needs where people tread water wearily on the streets of Seattle.
Kami’s nine year old sister, Morgan, and her friend also wrote individual letters, reminding each “street dweller” that God loves them, they are a child of God, and they are not forgotten.
Kami chose sight that day. She chose not only to hear the needs of those she passed near the campus of her school, she chose to ask, “What if…” She chose to swim in uncharted territory, diving bravely into the dirty waters many avoid, choosing compassion and action instead of blind-induced guilt and fear.
Yes, the needs surrounding can at times seem endless, the cries of those lost almost too grueling to hear. But as the Lord leads, He will equip. As those carrying the life-preserver of hope begin to take it off, God will offer His provision and multiply the efforts. He will see His Kingdom come and he wants to use those people, like Kami, willing to get their feet wet. The Lord patiently watching for those who will say, “I will go. Send me,” so he can blow the winds of provision their way. Kami is a powerful example of a missional woman, proving even one can make a difference if they are courageous enough and willing to see the image of the Father in every drowning face….even if it’s unshaven and dirty.
Though born, raised, and still living only miles from where she grew up, Jen's heart lies in the nations. Jen loves the beautiful tapestry found in the wide diversity of people, different cultures, and all nations. Jen and her husband have been married twenty years, and have parented twelve children; ten foster, one adopted, and two bios. Her multi-racial family reflects her passion for unity, desire for faith without walls, and missional mindset to share both the gospel and the power of redemption to a world so desperate for the hope found in Jesus Christ. Jen and her husband have led in a variety of ministries; including prayer, small groups, children's, and women's. Jen continues to cling to faith that the local church is God's vehicle to reach the nations. You can find Jen writing about faith and challenging her readers at her blog,Rich Faith Rising. As well as at tweeting faith-filled messages @Jen_Avellaneda . Also, on facebook.