City Church member James Eggleston shares his experience in getting involved with CARITAS here in Richmond... This is a short story about how God changed my heart and showed me how I could further his kingdom here in Richmond. If you're struggling to find a place to 'plug in' at City Church or can't seem to figure out how to put legs on your faith, hopefully you'll be able to relate to my experience.
A few years ago, I was often worried that I didn't seem to have any particular ministry I was 'called to' in our church and in our city. I tried several things and volunteered for a few events, but nothing seemed to fit naturally. I was afraid that I didn't have a heart for service or that somehow my faith wasn't real. I prayed that God would give me a place to serve and asked that He would put someone in my path, let me see their need, and burden my heart with the desire to minister to them. Praise God; he heard my prayer and responded last winter.
It began when I saw some women waiting in the bitter cold to come inside to the CARITAS homeless shelter Beth Ahabah was hosting that week. I thought to myself, "I'm already about to brew our congregation some more coffee, why not take them a pot?" When I did, these women were immensely thankful to the point of embarrassing me. I didn't think I had done anything out of the ordinary to deserve so much gratitude. Following that encounter, I suggested that our congregation also get involved with CARITAS; with so many young folks willing to volunteer to serve the poor, it seemed a natural ministry for City Church. Last February, a group from City Church partnered with our neighbors at Bethlehem Lutheran--which sits a block away on Grace Street--to provide food and shelter for about 40 men from around our city.
It was a whirlwind of a week, but a true blessing. I thank God for this opportunity to see what service could mean for everyone involved and for answering my prayer. God moved my heart, and I couldn't help but to serve and love these people, even if it was just taking simple actions like brewing coffee, packing lunches, or roughing it on the floor for a night.
This year, we're once again looking for volunteers willing to take some simple steps to serve the needy people of Richmond; see the list below for specifics. There's more information (and a convenient sign-up) here. If you're wondering how God may be calling you to serve our city, I pray He'll bless you as he's blessed me and I hope that you'll consider volunteering alongside me this April.
We need volunteers to help with the following on each day, starting on April 6th through April 12th:
- Men to stay overnight and prepare breakfast. You'll arrive at Bethlehem Lutheran (1100 W. Grace Street) before 10pm with bedding, wake up to serve breakfast at 5am, and you're done by 6.
- Groups and individuals to help prepare dinner (served at 6) or bag lunches (whenever convenient).
- Couples and individuals to drive men to the YMCA for showers at 8pm until 10pm Wednesday the 10th through Friday the 12th.
- Assistance with set-up on Saturday the 6th and tear-down on Saturday the 13th (time TBD).
- Help with grocery and supply shopping during and in advance of the week (bargain shopping skills a plus).
If you have any additional questions about getting involved with CARITAS, contact James at firstname.lastname@example.org,