Issue 4, January 22, R4
Divinely inspired by Bhagawan, young adults in Alabama, USA, made a commitment to serving meals regularly at Jessie’s Place, a local homeless shelter for women and children. They not only provide long-term residence for homeless women and children but also offer job training and counselling services to help them reach self-sufficiency. The children of the residents attend nearby schools. The residents come out of homelessness and move into their own homes after finding jobs and graduating from the shelter. Sisters of our group lovingly prepared another hearty, sumptuous dinner, comprised of pasta salad, chilli soup, tortilla chips and cheese cake. Dinner was served to 30 guests, and the young adults were overjoyed to see familiar faces and interact with friends, old and new; the feeling of love between them continued to flower and bloom.
We were invited back to serve dinner there again, after sharing our love with its residents last year. It is located in the city known for the civil rights activism of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose birthday is Monday, January 16th. King is known for leading nonviolent protests against racial segregation across America in the 1960’s, which eventually resulted in the passage of the Civil Rights Act. He is also known for his deep devotion to God and love for others, which sustained him when he faced widespread opposition and underwent imprisonment in Alabama. “Sai-incidentally,” this national holiday was celebrated by over 1,500 volunteers in the city, who participated in the 50+ projects that made up the Martin Luther King,Jr. Day of Service. This effort was dedicated to the man who spent many years marching to help the poor receive the aid that they needed. Thus, we were blessed with an opportunity to honor both him and our dear Lord, feeding the homeless while our fellow Alabamians did the same!
It is always difficult to hear personal stories filled with tragedy but comforting to know that safe havens like Jessie’s place have been established and those who are served feel welcomed and are able to stay there as long as they need to. The young adults did their part in encouraging the residents and lent empathetic ears to their stories. These guests continued to demonstrate their commitment to hard work by maintaining the facility themselves. Winters in United States Of America can be very difficult, especially for children as the temperatures drop rapidly. These are testing times for homeless as they will not be finding warm meals, warm places to stay and Jessie’s place is a God sent gift to them.
Bhagawan is teaching us that life is ultimately all about love. It starts with individual and progresses to society. These city-wide initiatives demonstrate that the memory of one man has the power to mobilize thousands. One could think of this as an American version of Grama Seva! The youth of “Sai-Bama” have been hopeful that the lives of women and children in their communities, who have undergone great suffering and hardship, are being validated and improved through the power of His love. We are also excited that these experiences could serve as a blueprint for future endeavors, including the construction of a shelter for the homeless youth here.
Hands that help are holier than the lips that pray.