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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Hotel/Motel (09/12/05)

TITLE: God's Shady Rest
By Al Boyce
09/13/05


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It's Tuesday, and people are literally coming out of the woods to converge on a local motel that usually caters to businessmen. It's not because of the advertised room rates ($199 per week). It's not because they offer wireless Internet access in every room.

It's because two rooms have been opened so homeless men and women can take showers.

How this came about is an interesting story in itself.

The manager of the motel, a Muslim, was approached by a group of Christians who wanted to provide this service to the homeless. The manager, who had himself once been homeless, agreed to provide one free room every Tuesday as well as towels for everyone.

Soon, the number of people coming to the showers grew, and the manager provided two rooms. Christian volunteers brought food and soft drinks every week. A local hairdresser agreed to provide free haircuts once a month. People donated clothing, tents, toiletries and their time to supervise the showers. They offered prayer to anyone in need.

When the manager was offered a promotion that would require him to move to another hotel in the chain, he asked corporate headquarters to make sure his replacement would continue the showers. Officials with the hotel chain were so impressed with the outreach, they decided to have their hotels in other cities offer the same service.

The ministry is anything but tame. Some of those who come for showers are substance abusers. Many have prison records. Others have severe health problems. One week, a police SWAT team stormed past the rooms reserved for the homeless and knocked down the door of a room nearby, looking for drug dealers and uncovering a counterfeiting ring instead. On more than one occasion, volunteers have called 911 for an ambulance.

In these days where so many people are addicted to "reality" TV shows, there is a reality here that makes the rest seem illusory at best -- a reality that treads quite closely to Matthew 25: 35-26:

"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me ... "

And Jesus,like a whisper, is there every Tuesday. We see Him when a Hispanic man helps an injured friend into his walker. We see Him in the smiles and hugs of the volunteers. We see Him when hungry men make sure they leave enough food for those still waiting in line.

We all remember the story of the birth of Jesus told in Luke 2:7.

"She (Mary) wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn."

Every Tuesday, in this modern-day Bethlehem, there is room for Jesus.

And the towels are on us.


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This article has been read 1303 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Warrick09/19/05
What a wonderful ministry!
Karen Ward09/19/05
A balance to the 'seedy' side of the topic. I assume this is true, in which case Wow! and God Bless those involved!
Karen
Phyllis Inniss 09/20/05
I hope this is true. What a wonderful legacy our Saviour left behind.
janet rubin09/20/05
2nd to last line is great! very good.
Jan Ackerson 09/21/05
This is very, very good, and reads like an article in a Christian magazine. My only issue: did you mean "literally coming out of the woods?" Aren't the homeless usually on the streets, or in alleys or under highways? Other than that, great writing skills.
Roxanne Prentiss09/21/05
Beautiful story and beautifully written!
darlene hight09/21/05
Excellent! Well written and I am very hopeful that it is a true story. If not maybe it will become one. Great job and beautiful way to use your gift with purpose.
Anita Neuman09/21/05
What an amazing story! So beautifully written. Well done!
Debra Brand09/21/05
Great article and message!
Lynda Lee Schab 09/22/05
Wow! What an awesome ministry! Great writing, as usual. Loved everything about it.
Blessings, Lynda
Linda Watson Owen09/22/05
Inspires the reader to strive to create good works and good 'writes'! Wonderful story by a talented author.
Suzanne R09/23/05
Yes, as has been said, it is a great story, well told, and true, I take it? It would be good to see this published in a newspaper or something.
Shari Armstrong 09/23/05
This is an amazing story!! Thanks for sharing this!
Julianne Jones09/25/05
I'm also hoping this is true. If not, it should be! And if it is, please see that it's published. What a wonderful ministry. And I loved the humour in the last line! Lightened the piece after making the reader wonder: what am I doing to fulfil Matt 25?
Deborah Porter 09/26/05
Al, this was an inspirational piece. I've been flat out over the weekend and today, so haven't had a chance to reply to your email, but will very soon. Enough to say that I found this inspiring and challenging. Thank God for faithful men and women who go the extra mile to shine Christ's love and light to those in need. Congratulations on your 5th place win - very well deserved. Your story will now spread even further. Your message was simply told - but incredibly inspirational. With much love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)
Al Boyce09/26/05
Yes, to all who asked, this story is TRUE. It is re-enacted every Tuesday at the Suburban Lodge in Garner, NC. This is one of nine outreaches to the homeless by Church in the Woods. Two years ago there was only one. God is moving in powerful ways!
Crista Darr09/28/05
Wonderful! The Spirit of God shines brightly in your writing.