How one Inasmuch Day led to a lifestyle of compassion
Parkridge Harbor provides shelter and food for men who are homeless and have two catastrophic illnesses. Many of the men suffer from HIV/AIDS. The ministry helps these men develop the skills necessary to resume their lives back in the community.
A small group in Knoxville, TN went to Parkridge Harbor as part of an Inasmuch Day hosted by their church. The project that day was to clean the kitchen and dining room. But that single day also gave the small group exposure to the ministry. They decided to continue as volunteers at Parkridge Harbor and still visit on a monthly basis.
The group started out making breakfast for all the men of Parkridge Harbor on the first Saturday of the month. Soon they joined the men for breakfast and stayed to visit. But these simple visits have turned into relationships of profound impact. The men at Parkridge Harbor say:
- “It’s the highlight of the week when they come.”
- “The positive mental attitude that they bring here has a much more lasting effect than a nice meal in a person’s stomach.”
- “They treat you like you’re a person.”
- “It gives you a holiday out of your own stew… our of your own mess.”
- “They live and lead by example.”
- “They’re friends that I never knew I had.”
The visits have had an impact on the volunteers, as well. They don’t just minister to the men of Parkridge Harbor; they’ve formed real friendships. As one small group member said, “They’re like my family.” They’ve opened up to one another and shared their lives. And of course, opportunities arise to talk about faith. Another volunteer said, “It started as a project and five years later, we’re still there.” And lives continue to change.
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”Galatians 6:2 NIV