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Home : Community : Customer Gallery : Joy of Service by Laurie Miller

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Joy of Service by Laurie Miller
Created By: Betty Sheaffer

Last fall I combined my Christian Assistance Ministry (CAM) volunteering with the crochet skills I learned through Coker United Methodist Church's prayer shawl ministry. I meet weekly with the homeless women who use CAM's Day Center to get off the street, take showers, do laundry, and receive help from social service agencies and Christian counselors. Each week I bring my red duffel bag filled with donated yarn, crochet hooks, and cookies to share with the ladies. Some are beginners, and others are experienced and teach me knew patterns.

We spend our time talking, laughing, and sometimes comforting each other. Gradually I'm learning about their families, often with children and grandchildren here or far away. Many ladies were raised in the church and some attend Bible studies. They count their small blessings and are so thankful for the things we all take for granted. I try to be a caring listener when they share disturbing stories, and I praise and encourage when they take baby steps to improve their lives.

Sweet Sylvia is my first and always present friend who learned quickly and has made scarves for friends, for CAM, and for a preschool teacher's classroom. Spending her days inside at CAM, Sylvia chooses the streets over the shelters at night and assures me she is warm, dry, and safe. The CAM staff has seen Sylvia's demeanor change from quiet and withdrawn to friendly and engaging since our first day together.

What I have received from my ladies is immeasurable. Their strength despite adversity inspires me. Their friendship and gratitude humbles me. Their faith in God helps put my life in perspective and in God's hands. I love my ladies and worry about them on the streets. I know that we are all children of God, precious in His sight. He is watching over them, just as He takes loving care of me. God has filled my heart and soul with the love of my homeless friends.

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