Devotionals
Worship Service begins at 10:30 AM
Third & Adams Street, PO Box 9774, Moscow, Idaho USA | (208) 882-3715

Pastor Debbie E-Spire - October 21, 2016

When I was in seminary, a friend invited me to go with her to serve a hot meal to the homeless. We got up early one morning, shared a meal with folks downtown who had spent the night on the street and then we went to a different room to hand out hats, dry socks, and toiletry items.

If someone asked for a beanie, I randomly gave them one. One man said he didn't want the random one I had pulled, instead he wanted one of a different color. In my head, I sort of balked at his request thinking "beggars can't be choosers" but I gave him the hat anyway.

 

As we finished distributing items, my thoughts gnawed at me. It was just a hat and we had plenty, what did it matter to me if he chose blue over grey? Why had I been so harsh in my mind? After all the guests had left, the workers sat down for reflection and devotion and I confessed my hard-hearted thoughts. It hurt me that I had been so harsh (even if I didn't say it out-loud) to someone who had spent the night on the cold wet streets of Atlanta and simply wanted a different colored hat.

 

After our breakfast volunteering, my friend Jessie and I returned weekly for an evening meal and then "foot clinic" where we washed people's feet, cutting out corns, scrapping away calluses, massaging their feet, lotioning them and then giving them clean dry socks. It was beautiful and challenging all at the same time. And I learned a lot as I heard stories from those (mostly) men. I learned to see them as people and not problems. I tried to learned the nuances of their struggles and the challenges of living on the street.

 

Throughout my years of ministry, I have worked with and encountered hundreds of people who have spent the night or lived on the street. I have shared meals, opened the showers, given clothes, distributed Bibles, offered a bottle of water or a granola bar, taken people to the bus depot, or arranged for a night in a hotel. And I've heard many many stories of trials, job losses, family disputes, and battles with addiction.

 

The issues that lead to homelessness are often complex and the solutions take time. The churches I have served have faced various challenges in offering a place of sanctuary and grace. Which is why I am so grateful to partner with an agency like Family Promise. I worked with them for 2 years in Valencia and now again in Moscow. I am so appreciative of the ways they recognize the need in our community and equip lay volunteers to serve our neighbors in need. It is a gift to work with people who care and who have a functioning structure and true accountability in their program.

 

This Sunday we will begin our Fall week of hosting the families that are currently in the Family Promise Program. It is an opportunity for us to share a meal, to help with kids (for parents who don't really get a break or have a simple "play room" where they can leave their kids while they cook dinner, or read a book, or make a phone call....when you're a parent on the streets, or even in the FP program, you are always "on"), to be a safe person to talk with, or simply be a presence in a warm place for them to stay.

 

In Christ,
Pastor Debbie

 

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Pastor Debbie E-Spire- - October 15, 2016

Almost 4 years ago, Hurricane Sandy struck the East Coast. A year later, we worked with UMCOR and sent a work team to help in Crisfield Maryland. Our team was comprised of both veteran missioners and first-timers. We worked on roofing projects, drywall, painting, and a variety of other tasks. Unlike the work we had done for a number of years in Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina, the devastation of Sandy was harder to see. Katrina wiped out entire homes, practically entire towns that were in the eye of the storm. Sandy flooded the town, so the damage was more internal...mold that grew behind the walls, rotting insulation, and wood damage to the flooring.

This morning, I received an email saying that the last work team is scheduled for Maryland at the end of this month. Four years of recovery work and they are finally nearing the end. To drive through the towns, you'd have hardly known the devastation was so pervasive, but natural disasters wreck a lot of damage, both seen and unseen.

This week we are in the wake of yet another storm...Hurricane Matthew, which killed over 500 people in Haiti and destroyed communities. It flooded towns all along the East coast, and so, yet again, UMCOR prepares to respond across each of these areas. They will take in emergency teams and flood buckets at first, and then later bring in volunteer teams to help with the other work that will need to be done. Work that may take years to complete.

It's heartbreaking to see so much loss. And heartwarming to know there are so many who have donated time, energy, and resources year after year to help brothers and sisters in need. When it's not our community, it can be easy to let the needs slide to the back of our minds, but we are called back to awareness over and over as we both see the damage and the call to help.

If you would like to make a donation to help with relief efforts, you can bring a check to worship with you. For the check, simply mark your donation "UMCOR--Matthew". As always, each and every dollar donated goes directly to the relief work, not to overhead costs of administration. We encourage you to give generously as folks are relying on us to be the hands and feet of Christ as they rebuild their homes, businesses and communities.

 

In Christ,

Pastor Debbie

 

p.s. We are still collecting individual (hotel size) and household size shampoos, soaps, toothbrushes, etc for homeless individuals and families in our area. Please bring your donation to Sunday worship. --Thank you to all those who have already contributed, there are so many blessings to be shared.

 

 

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Sunday morning parking at the church is available in the high school parking lot on Third Street across from the church and in the city lots west of the church. These lots are available only on Sunday mornings. A small lot for handicapped parking is available just off of Adams Street on the north side of the church, with an accessible entrance directly into the sanctuary. A lift operates between the Fellowship Hall (3rd Street level) and the Sanctuary . William Sound System Receivers and Headsets are available to assist with hearing problems.

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The First United Methodist Church of Moscow, Idaho takes as our mission to be the body of Jesus Christ, ministering to a community which draws strength from its diversity. Our mission centers on the worship of God, expressed through varied forms of prayer, preaching, music, and ritual.  See more...

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