My husband, Ryan, and I volunteered at the Next Door Space this past weekend and had a blast! Our covenant community is volunteering over the course of the next few months and this weekend we worked with the Springles and Hilary Wiebe. As soon as we arrived we unlocked the doors, brought in the food and began setting up. Immediately, I noticed what an awesome, welcoming space it was. The small space was well organized with cozy couches, brightly coloured walls, and supplies that were conveniently tucked away.
Shortly after we arrived our first visitor walked in and took some food home to his family. Then, our second visitor arrived with only a few more trickling in throughout the rest of the evening. Over the course of the 2 hours we were there, we had a total of 8 people stop in, which is a little lower than usual.
I joined one of our friends who walked in for the meal as Cara and Hilary went over to knock on doors at the motel. The boys stayed watch at the door. I very quickly got to know this woman as we exchanged chit-chat over the food, weather and then onto things like our families and jobs. I had a ton of fun talking to her and getting to know her. She is a regular there at the Next Door Space and lives in the motel across the street. Her situation hit particularly close to home, having family in the States and working through the Immigration system of the US and Canada. It was great to get to hear her story and those of the others who stopped in.
The Next Door Space is an amazing opportunity to watch God work through you. Our covenant community is reading a book by Christine Pohl, “Making Room” and it is all about bringing back hospitality into our Christian lifestyle. Being at the Next Door Space really challenges and embraces that idea of hospitality. You are brought together with individuals from your church family and strangers alike to serve one another, listen for needs and help meet them, and break bread together enjoying both a warm meal and comforting company. I really felt a sense of love and joy while I was with these strangers I had never met before. They allowed me an opportunity to listen instead of always talking and solving problems, and it gave them an opportunity to share and have someone just listen instead of react.
When driving home that evening it was clear that God was present in the space and with each of us. We all share a commonality of falling short on a daily basis, but we all have been uniquely created by a God who loves us equally and who invites us each day to come and break bread with Him.