Joel and I have been in ministry for a very long time and, to be honest, I thought I’d pretty much “seen it all.” But now that we are engaged as full-time volunteers, focused on those who are marginalized and who are struggling with poverty, I am painfully aware that I have not.

There are several ways that previous statement could be interpreted and, to my embarrassment, most of them would be accurate. But the one I would like to emphasize today has to do with the fact that most of the struggling folks in Central Florida aren’t the ones we see standing on street corners with signs depicting their various levels of desperation.

Many of the destitute folks in our region are working multiple low-wage part-time jobs, with kids attending public schools, and they are embarrassed to pieces that they can’t improve their situations because every day is filled with the daunting urgent challenges of just surviving!

Community Resource Network is determined to help all of us begin to see those we haven’t noticed before, get to know them (especially struggling families), and get them connected to supportive communities of faith --- where lasting relationships can be built between those who reach out to help, and those who most need the help.

We know that the only way that happens, is when each of us cares enough to get to know someone’s story. It begins as we start to talk to people we have never before engaged in a conversation. Understanding someone's story, enables us to identify the appropriate areas of assistance, and the resources needed; not to provide simply a hand out (which perpetuates the situation), but instead to provide a hand up ... the opportunity to work towards self-sufficiency!

Good things happen when those who need the hand up, and those who are reaching out to help, are both stretching and working to make life better, sustainably!

Whom will you notice this week?  And when will you start a conversation?

“Learn to do good; commit yourselves to seeking justice. Make right for the world’s most vulnerable—the oppressed, the orphaned, the widow.” - Isaiah 1:17 (VOICE)