I think the majority of people would agree that 2020 was the most unsettling year they’ve experienced in their lifetime. A scary global pandemic, intense racial tension that led to rioting, lifelong family businesses dissolved in a matter of days, livelihoods gone for good and a nation that was politically and figuratively a house divided against itself, literally right down the middle.
How do we even begin to process all of this without having a full-blown panic attack?
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.Proverbs 3:5-6
For my wife Terri and I, we did our best to turn off the TV (not easy for us info junkies) fix our eyes on Christ and like the verse above says, refrained from trying to figure it all out, and just submitted to Him (be available) and let Him orchestrate our path.
And that He did! Through Dan and Betty Anderson (Deed And Truth) we became involved with one of their ministries that was just getting started called House to Home (H2H). The ministry involves collecting furniture donations from some very generous brothers and sisters, putting our moving caps on, and spending our Saturdays converting an empty section-8 house into a warm and comfy home, the benefactors being graduates and their families from Hope Gardens or the Orange County Rescue Mission that were at one time homeless or struggled with addiction. It’s God’s version of HGTV – the family leaves the house so we can move in and quickly make it a home, then when they return comes the reveal and tears of gratitude.
Before we knew it, Terri and I had been involved and blessed with multiple H2H opportunities from north Los Angeles to south Orange County. Each house had its own set of challenges, and God repeatedly interceded to resolve each one.
One such opportunity was when we traveled to Hope in Christ church in Compton to deliver a number of flat screen monitors to fill an after-school computer lab that the church was providing for the neighborhood kids. Compton was one of the hot spots at the time after two police officers had been ambushed and shot. This was a different kind of H2H opportunity and for me, one of those “do not lean on your own understanding” type of trips. What it turned out to be was a complete blessing, I was able to meet Anthony (below). In this instance, through H2H, God allowed me to feel like I was part of his type of reconciliation.
With this one, as well as all of the H2H opportunities, I now look forward to when Saturday rolls around, so much so that when we don’t have an H2H Saturday, I feel completely out-of-place. Volunteering in this ministry, and meeting so many beautiful people excited about moving into their first home, has ironically made 2020 one of my best years ever!
At first, only my husband participated in the House to Home (H2H) move-ins on the weekends. Then he invited me to join him on a move-in. We picked up donated beds, dressers, lamps, a couch, dishes and cookware in a borrowed truck and headed to the house where we met the family. The family headed out for a couple of hours, and then we got to work filling each room with furniture, bedding and towels. Then Betty did her “magic” of arranging furniture and decorator items, and placing pillows in just the right places, and WHALA! The empty house had become a fully furnished and comfy home for the family.
The family returned for the big “reveal” and viewed each room with smiles and lots of gratitude. The team listened to the family tell their story and there was prayer for the new home and family. With a sense of accomplishment and some exhaustion the team grabbed dinner and we all headed to our homes.
A couple weeks later there was another opportunity to furnish a home for a family, and I joined again. The men did the heavy moving and I got to work with Betty making beds and filling kitchen cupboards with dishes and cookware.
I’ve never been a fan of moving, but somehow, with a team of folks working together as the hands and feet of the Lord, I looked forward to the next H2H move-in. I was totally hooked! So much so that weekends without an H2H move-in feel like something is missing.
In an effort to get to know me better, a work associate asked me the other day, “What is your essence?” I had to think about it for a few seconds. Then I responded, “Helping end homelessness for one family at a time with Deed and Truth.” In that moment I realized that 2020 had a silver lining for me… God is using me to do something He really cares about, and now, its my driving passion.
Matthew 6:19-21 – “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
– Terri Morris