Neighbor Loving Service at Samaritan Inns
What Did I Have to Offer?
In November 2022 as Covid restrictions lifted, I found myself driving to serve and share a meal at Samaritan Inns, a Christian non-profit in Northwest DC which provides a three-phased residential addiction recovery program for women. Over the previous two years, 40 individuals from Fourth had prepared monthly meals that were delivered to the Inn’s doorstep. Now we could sit and dine with residents.
As a member of Mission DMV, Fourth’s ministry committed to loving and serving our neighbors in need, I had two primary thoughts forming in my head:
- I felt ill equipped. I’d had an exhausting weekend. My tank was empty. What did I have to offer these women?
- I felt insecure. What would the women think of me? What would we talk about? How would we relate to one another? After all, I had no personal experience with homelessness or substance abuse.
On that November evening as we reheated our prepared meal in the kitchen, a client walked in. She introduced herself, welcomed us, asked us where we were from and what prompted us to bring dinner. She shared how God was using Samaritan Inns to save her life. She told us of her wounds and of her faith. God reassured me in that kitchen that he was in charge of this Fellowship Dinner. He went before us to prepare the way. His power is made perfect in our weakness.
As we joined the remaining residents at the table, we introduced ourselves. We asked questions. Where were they from? How long had they been in the program? What was their daily schedule like? What was hard about the program? What parts did they most enjoy? They asked us questions. We got to know one another.
Each month, our sharing deepens. One client shared that God provided a door to recovery by having her son imprisoned. Through recovery, she had learned to establish boundaries with her family. Another client shared that her mom died of Covid and that wound continued to challenge her in recovery. We held hands and shared tears as we had both lost parents. We talked about the difficulties of grief. How the Lord sees our pain and is close to the broken-hearted.
God Works in Broken Places
During that first Fellowship Dinner, the Lord graciously reminded me that I am an inadequate sinner but that he is abundantly adequate. He works in broken places. All of us, in recovery or not, have broken places. For we once were DEAD in our sins but are now alive in Christ.
In addition to Fellowship Dinners, Fourth also serves Samaritan Inns through a quarterly worship service with clients from all residential locations. Clients are hungry to hear of our God who created them, loves them, sees them in their hard places, and walks alongside them in their recovery.
Matthew 25 reminds us that the Son of Man will come in glory and separate the sheep and the goats. He will tell his sheep, “…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, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” He ends his instruction with, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
One of Fourth’s core values is Neighbor Loving Service. Wouldn’t it be beautiful if Fourth Church was known as a church that faithfully proclaims the Word of God and serves the poor and marginalized in action?
Mission DMV invites you to join in Fellowship Dinner opportunities with both men and women’s residences. Your family, Community Group, Sunday class table, Bible study, or simply a few friends could prepare a meal and share fellowship. You aren’t called to be qualified. Just willing.
There are additional ways to come alongside Samaritan Inns. Weekends are very unstructured and the clients long for stimulation. Leading an exercise class, a craft project or a game night would be welcomed activities. Other ideas? We’d love to hear them.
If the Lord is prompting your heart to participate in his work at Samaritan Inns, please reach out to us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.