Every day, we have an opportunity to learn about our guests.    When we take the time to talk to them, we hear many different stories – sometimes about their hardships, sometimes about their successes.

A couple weeks ago we helped a young man, age 19. His father is imprisoned, he lives with his grandmother who is quite ill, and he has custody of a 3 year old brother whose mother is unable to care for him.  His grandmother had lost some of her support due to not renewing paperwork, and he was out of work for a few weeks due to an injury. We helped with their rent payment so they wouldn’t be evicted.

An older gentleman came in and told me how he’d lost his job; he holds a CDL license and had been driving a truck for quite some time.  The truck broke down and the owner put it out of commission. He hasn’t been able to find another job yet. He has custody of his daughter’s children, as she is unable to care for them.  We helped pay their electric bill, and thus avoided a disconnection.   When I told him we’d pay his bill,  I could literally see his shoulders relax as it relieved some of his stress  and his eyes welled up with tears.

An older woman was in one day and told me how she had lost a job she worked at for 20 years over a disagreement with her supervisor.  While she was unemployed, she found a volunteer job she grew to love, working with disadvantaged kids.  She did so well, she was offered a paid position with the non-profit and she loves her new job; I’ve heard they love her, too.

A young woman shared her struggles overcoming addictions.  She is well on the road to recovery and found employment. She spent five minutes telling me the details of her job, which had required her to learn about scientific data.  I listened intently as it was really interesting.  I was duly impressed with her depth of knowledge and her determination to learn more.

About once a month, one particular gentleman stops by and hands me a generous cash donation;  he tells me we were there for him when he was down and out,  and now he wants to make a monthly donation so we can help others that are in need.

In all these cases,  the guests were pleased to have us take the time to listen to them.  When Sister Isaac moved on, one of her last words of advice to me was to “listen with an open heart” . Please keep us all in your prayers as we do our best to follow her guidance.