Thursday was one fantastic day! We had Project Connect at our church focused on helping the homeless and folks who are facing major financial challenges.
Partnering with The United Way, we had planned to host maybe 300 persons and were hopeful to have about 200 volunteers.
We ended up with maybe 125-150 volunteers and we are still waiting to hear the number of guests. All we know for sure is that we had 400 bus passes, one per person who would attend.
We ran out of bus passes about an hour before the day had ended. So, we must have had in incredible 450 or more guests.
Crazy stuff! The volunteers who helped were incredible, many of them connecting with a great deal of people over the course of the day helping them get the help they needed from a great variety of agencies. I was able to connect with thirteen myself.
I met incredible people who were just trying to make it through life. They had incredible similarities to me. In fact, there was something that happened with a couple of them that brought all that home.
One guy I met revealed to me where he had formerly lived. He was from Anderson, Indiana, a small town of about 80,000 outside of Indianapolis. This is a town where I lived for many years myself. Small world!
The last person I met was an African American lady who had only been in Phoenix for a year and was recently homeless. She was an awesome lady with a very positive attitude. Before she left for the day, I asked her where she moved from.
Again, she indicated Indiana. I asked which town and she told me Terre Haute. My wife was born in Terre Haute and her family was pretty connected there.
So, of course I asked her if she knew the Newports. She asked “Detective Newport? Joe? Yes, he’s my buddy!” This is Mary’s uncle who used to be Chief of Police.
I couldn’t believe it. We live in a city of over 4 million and I met two people on one day who had direct ties to places and people our family has known in our lives. Wild stuff!
We really do have a great deal more in common with people than we imagine. We are more alike than we are different. We tend to focus on our differences and highlight those things causing prejudice and other hate motivated responses.
We have all been created in the image of God. It really doesn’t matter that we have different skin colors, speak different languages, and come from different places. In the most important things, we are the same!