I don’t know how it happened…this compelling commitment I mean. I know why I began volunteering at the Bridge, but I didn’t realize I would be addicted to The Bridge. October 2010 I had been out of “real” work” for several months. “Real” work to me is a steady paycheck. I stepped out on faith to begin my own business as etiquette coach, travelling to colleges and universities and sharing valuable tools for success with students. I had been told I was very good at what I did and now I thought leaving my seven year 9 to 5 would be what God would have me do.
Although I was paid well for my college sessions, this was not a year-round job, so I found myself without income and falling behind on mortgage and bills. I began looking for real work, and nothing was breaking for me. I began to question God and my own choices. I had been attending Oasis Church in Nashville for about a year and knew they had several outreach ministries. Rather than sit home I decided to ride in the church van to the Bridge to perform our assigned task, pick up trash before and after the service. Our group of 8 to 10 people each week walked throughout the grounds with our plastic bags and trash picker-uppers and prepared The Bridge for chair placement. I was good at picking up trash and couldn’t believe that I was now feeling significant.
At that time, there were not enough people to work the food trucks handing food to our friends, so Pastor Jennifer asked if I would help. I had no idea how much joy I would feel as I handed hot plates of food to grateful hands. I was hooked! How sweet and unpretentious these precious people are! I was blessed to just be a part of this incredible operation, The Bridge Ministry. I made friends with our guests and realized just how easily I could have been on the other side of that table having a plate of food handed to me, see I was still unemployed. My eyes teared up often in gratitude.
I sincerely believe I have seen Jesus walking through the crowd at The Bridge – and more than once. No seriously! One time I saw a man who, after we had served the majority of our friends, just walked past our table and through or “into” the crowd of guests. Then I didn’t see him again. I cannot tell you anything about him other than his countenance was “different” from any guest or any volunteer. I can see him in my spirit right now, and my heart warms. This man was Caucasian. The second time I knew I saw Jesus I was assisting in the clothing give-away after the food and church service. A beautiful black-skinned man with light brown eyes, held up a shirt to inspect it. I casually asked, “Think it will fit?” He said, “I just have to maintain my dignity.” Then he looked at me with his piercing brown eyes as he carefully folded that shirt. All I could do was was nod! I have not seen either of these men since. But they both have left indelible impressions on my heart. The Lord said, “When you do it unto the least of these you do it unto Me.”
I’ve been serving at the Bridge Ministry every Tuesday (except two) since September 2010. I have fab “real” job now too! The Lord blessed me with an incredible job that has great benefits and allows me flexibility to be the entrepreneur that I am. I schedule my available travel dates around Tuesdays. Thank you Candy, for your obedience and allowing me an opportunity to be what “ministry” is really all about!
Oasis Church, Nashville
Recently Candy Christmas was interviewed nationally on Fox News about feeding the homeless of Nashville, TN through the Bridge Ministry.
Direct link to the YouTube video: http://youtu.be/KIjX-fT9roU