We love hearing the stories of the wonderful volunteers from our partner churches. It is the greatest blessing that CPO can be involved in helping connect such wonderful men and women who are filled up with the love of God with those who are hurting. We're honored to share Jan's story with you:
When I began volunteering with CPO and Angels of Hope I didn't expect to find the sheer love of stepping out of my suburban, comfortable bubble and ministering to “the least of these.” I've been on missions trips domestically and internationally, but I wasn't quite prepared to realize what was in my own backyard.
The complexities and struggles of the families we met were different from just physical poverty, but were instead an extreme emotional and spiritual hunger. Yes, there are people overseas who struggle and live moment to moment to find food and shelter, while here in the U.S. that is already provided. However, many here struggle with the loss or absence of a parent, unsafe neighborhoods, marginalization in the schools, or lack of stability that contributes to an environment in which these families somehow become entrapped in the violence and desperation that causes them to enter the world of prison. When that happens, not only is the inmate suffering but the families greatly, as well.
When Angels of Hope visits with their food boxes to these families, there is a glimmer of hope that someone cares. We talk, we share, we pray, we love on them. It is moments of this eye-to-eye contact that conveys compassion and strength to them. When we call each week to tell them we are arriving, it is wonderful to hear their voices of excitement. So on our two Saturday mornings every month, we volunteers meet for breakfast in my home to pray and fellowship and then go into the field of those whom God would want us to reach.
For each of the volunteers, there is a tugging at our own hearts that is unexplainable and draws us to their hurting worlds. We want to share our balm of emotional connection and share what God has so graciously given us that we wish to return. And return and return. May everyone be drawn to an experience like this: no job, no vacation, no car, no money will ever compare to the high of the Holy Spirit at work. We wouldn't trade it for the world. - Jan, a volunteer