Change is here!
How does a place like Open Hands Midway survive as the 'little fish in the big pond'? Let me say, not easily. When I constantly hear how people excitedly support Second Harvest Heartland or Feed My Starving Children I wonder what it would be like to be one of those organizations. I bet they don't worry about finances very often. I know I am not suppose to be envious of others but it sure is hard not to, just sayin'...
Open Hands is not on the threshold of change, change is here! We realize it is time to focus our resources on what we do best, providing meals and food to those who attend our programs. I love this verse from Isaiah 30:21 which my friend Pam shared with me that says, "Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, this is the way; walk in it."
Open Hands has made some difficult decisions this summer as we cancelled Kids' Club and our Back to School Carnival due to various circumstances. In the midst of all of this we will be ok. I believe God has not brought us this far to say you are on your own. Yes, we have to make more bold asks for financial support, unlike our friends at Second Harvest Heartland or Feed My Starving Children. But little fish gotta have a chance too, am I right?
All of this, along with the fact Open Hands made some personnel changes has made for a very challenging few months for our Board of Directors and for myself personally. I have found my best way of coping with it all is to take long bike rides on the Gateway Trail. On a recent ride I took this gorgeous picture. I have even set this picture as the wallpaper on my cell phone so I can drift away to that peaceful place whenever I find my days getting more frustrating and challenging, just sayin'...
On Sunday, July 14 I made a road trip to Preston, Minnesota to visit one of our partner churches, Christ Lutheran. Rather than do a standard presentation of Open Hands at a forum or another place in their service, I gave the sermon/message that day. I know, ME, wow! I told them of the challenges that have come our way lately as a result of the neighborhood changing and financial contributions being down. My message was titled "Which doors are meant to be entered?" I'd like to share a few excerpts of that message with you here.
In the animated movie, Monsters Inc., the plot revolves around a door in a little girl's bedroom that a monster comes through. It's bad in Monstropolis to allow a HUMAN into the Monsters world but that is exactly what happens to monsters Sully and Mike. Through a door little 'Boo', as they refer to her, enters their world and they have to figure out how to get her door back in order to return her to the human world.
Doors. We enter and exit through doors all day long. There is no way to navigate a day without going in or out of a door. But have you ever stopped to consider which doors in your life God goes ahead of you to lock and which doors He will go ahead of you and unlock? Picture a long hallway with many doors on either side. Your journey down this hallway begins the day you are born. The doors are not marked 'enter' or 'do not enter', they are left for you to enter or not enter using your own free will. There are some doors you come to that will be challenging to open or even locked while others you come to will be easy to open but you still are not sure if you should enter. There will be doors which you open that will be filled with growth and success while others you find will be filled with difficulties and challenges making it hard to discern which doors you are meant to enter. All of the doors on your journey are ways in which you will be open to the Lords guidance or you will not. In my life I have opened doors which I know I never should have opened. However, once I walked through and went inside the choice to turn around and go back out could have been more devastating than actually continuing on my journey. In other words there was no turning back; by my own free will I had made the choice to go inside, so I stayed.
I went on to share various times in my life I went through doors in life and how that turned out. About a week after my visit to Christ Lutheran an envelope arrived in the mail from their congregation containing a check. Turns out the money was offering from that day designated for the operations of Open Hands Midway. Clearly the people who heard my message that day walked through the door which God had unlocked for them. For that, we are incredibly grateful.
I want to share with you a part of a devotion from a book called Steams in the Desert by L.B. Cowman. It says,
As you continue down the long road, you will find that He has gone before you, locking doors you otherwise would have been inclined to enter. Yet you can be sure that somewhere beyond the locked doors is one He has left unlocked. And when you open it and walk through, you will find yourself face to face with a turn in the river of opportunity - one that is broader and deeper than anything you ever dared to imagine, even in your wildest dreams.
Remember as you walk down your own life's hallway you need to listen and watch for those times when God wants you to open a door and enter. Times when He will unlock doors for you which you are meant to go through, doors beyond anything you could ever dare to dream or imagine...and you will go inside and you will stay.
I guess you can see it is pretty clear our Board of Directors is standing in our own long hallway of doors with choices to make. Some of the doors we are encountering are labeled 'the changing dynamics of the neighborhood', 'declining financial contributions' and 'the uncertainty of whether or not we will be around a year from now'. We have prayed and we have discussed change. We have come to a place of realizing it is ok to change, that just because we always did something doesn't mean we have to continue to do it. So we have walked through the doors of change together and we are praying and we are staying, just sayin'...
In that light, PLEASE don't forget Give to the Max Day is coming soon. This is an opportunity to support a charity of your choice (hint: Open Hands Midway). Let me ask you now to consider helping fund our free programs so this 'little fish' can survive in the big pond, just sayin'...