Yesterday we began our first IHOP ServeFest...Patterned shamelessly after the event of the same name at VCC. (If it ain't broke, don't fix it...). On difference is that rather than fifteen opportunities at one time, we're doing multiple time slots, allowing people six opportunities over three days.
Last night between 9 PM and 10 PM, I led a crew of three others to go clean public restrooms as a practical demonstration of God's love. We left the cashiers at the convenience stores w/a bag of candy and a printed card explaining that IHOP was here to serve the community, along with come contact info. As the team cleans the restroom, if the business isn't busy, one of us would talk with whoever was working the cash register, getting to know them and learning how we can better serve our neighbors.
I think my favorite person I met last night was Sam. Born in Jordan, Sam moved to the states in the early eighties and married an American. They had two children, then returned to Jordan for two years where they had a third child. Now they're back and living in Lawrence, Kansas. Last year he opened a Mediterranean Grocery Store there - he said it failed miserably and they lost everything. Now he commutes the forty five minutes to an hour to work the night shift at a friend's gas station.
When I asked Sam how we could pray for his family, he asked if we'd pray for health. He said "Someone once told me that 'health is a crown of gold, but only the sick can see it on the healthy'". Pretty profound for the late night Texaco guy. We gathered by the cash register and prayed for him and his family before we left.
When we do these outreaches, there is always something oddball that stands out. Something about cleaning public restrooms that late at night just sort of lends itself to goofiness. Last night we went into a liquor store that featured a sign on the door insisting "You must remove your hoods before entering!". I wish I had brought the camera! It was almost as good as the sign in the Mosque that Steve Sjogren and I saw....Written in a slightly cryptic manner, it threatened anyone who peed on the seat with eternal punishment. We couldn't figure out if it was from the Koran or a cranky janitor.
If you're in KC - watch for me the next two nights. I'm the guy removing my hood and walking into the liquor store with a toilet brush....