Author - Laura King, Director of Development & Public Relations.
I grew up on a farm in a very rural area of Lonoke County. I remember a trip to Little Rock when I was around the age of 8 with my parents. As we were driving through the downtown area, I was mesmerized by the big buildings. We came to a stop sign and a man was standing there holding a sign. I asked my Dad what the man was doing and I still remember his response to this day..."He's begging! He's got two legs and He's too lazy to work!"
Those words stuck with me through my formative years and into adult hood. I grew up thinking that homeless people were lazy and bad. It took an encounter with Jesus and homeless man on the streets of Memphis in 2012 to challenge my thought processes and the stereotypes I held of people that were different than myself. For the next three years I kept having these "chance" encounters with different homeless people where Jesus would show up and challenge the things that I grew up thinking were "right". Then one day early in 2016, I realized God had called me to this beautiful community of citizens.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago. I had the privilege of spending the day at a local VBS and got to speak with each class of kids for about 20 minutes. The church had asked me to speak about homelessness, how Jesus loves us all and how we can do things to help others. (Thank you to the church who let me come speak...it has really impacted me in multiple ways).
Kids will quickly and with no inhibition tell you what they think about things, which I love by the way. As I was talking with the groups of children and asking questions, some of their answers took me back to things I heard as a child...a child that was impressionable and held those words as absolute truths.
Jesus has spent years working on me...undoing the words I heard back then. He's still working on me, breaking down barriers and stereotypes accrued over years of hearing people talk. As an adult I've made many of those same mistakes. As a matter of fact, I still get it wrong sometimes. Jesus continues to show up in my encounters with people and it makes me question why I think the way I do. Are my thoughts and actions life giving or life crushing?
I am so thankful for the CMC, not only for the help and love they give to hurting people but also for the love and patience they have for me. They love me through all of my questions about humanity as Jesus teaches me about His love for all of His creation. He is teaching me that people are just people. We are all broken no matter what background and walk of life we come from. He is teaching me how to interact with people that I think I have nothing in common with...like 400 grade school kids at VBS and a homeless man on the streets of Memphis. We all have commonality we just have to be willing to search it out and get a little uncomfoartable.
BTW...just in case you are thinking ill of my Dad at this point....God has been transforming his heart and thinking too :)