When any one of us approaches God, we come to Him in brokenness. Broken bodies, broken spirit. We may think we’re offering polished worship and a list of good deeds, but He sees right through those to the core of our broken hearts. He sees our despair and adopts us as His children. We are His welcomed guests at the feast. This is my favorite thing about HopeFest. So many people and situations treat the poor as unwelcome, undeserving. But at this event they are literally the welcomed guests. Asking for help can steadily chip away at one’s dignity, but HopeFest gathers hundreds of volunteers offering the help. Thousands of guests receive care for immediate physical needs, and their dignity is maintained.
My husband and I have one of the easiest volunteer jobs: providing the medical volunteers with a place to take a break and grab a snack. At HopeFest Phoenix 2016, our hospitality room shared a wall with the HIV testing room. I thought about that all day long. As I cut muffins or arranged mini-yogurts on ice, guests were coming in and out of the room next door. Some left with good news. Some with life-changing news. I thought of the courage it takes to ask for an HIV test. The courage to stand in line for 2 days for a dental procedure or medical exam. The courage to ask for housing assistance. The people at HopeFest love the “least of these” without making them feel as such. “Thank You for Being our Guest Today” is what greets attendants.
HopeFest is a day of doing “Small Things with Great Love” as Mother Teresa says. A new tooth. New medication. A bicycle that rides. A free bag of groceries. It’s an event that cares for people’s today and also their tomorrow, with access to continuing care. We are so thankful to be able to participate. Volunteers loving their Phoenix neighbors, their welcomed guests, in such tangible ways.