As I am writing this, on Saturday evening, it is just Bethann and me in the house. Last week at this time, we had a house full. Our rent party was a roaring success! I was amazed at the variety of people who showed up and then there all those who sent well wishes and checks or cash with others, by mail, electronically, or the next day at church. One friend brought six other friends with him. So we made some new friends!
The evening started with Tadesse Abay offering a blessing for the food in his native Ethiopian. I don’t understand Ethiopian, but I know he did more than pray for the food. He blessed our home and family and our continued ministry. It was a real honor to receive this blessing from such an honorable and godly man.
Kevin Paige was an amazing minstrel. He started out playing the ukulele in the kitchen. He moved to the front parlor and played more on the ukulele. I walked through at one point and he was playing “The Girl From Ipanema” and a half dozen little kids were dancing like it was a rock song, looking like the kids in the Charlie Brown Christmas special. It was a happening! He switched to the guitar and then to the Dobro, at some point. Deacon Herman played a few songs by Dylan and a couple of his own. It was great. It wasn’t like a concert. It was party music. Conversations kept going. Kids were dancing and playing.
We met these friends over the span of nearly 40 years, but there is one thing they all have in common. They have all been involved in the work of The King’s Jubilee at some point, from the first person who responded to the first ever newsletter in February 1989 to the friend who drove me home from Phila. in the TKJ-mobile two nights earlier.
We received over $4,000 in gifts plus a sizable gift from the church. We used $500 as a first fruits offering to help a neighbor restore his electric service; and $300 to The King’s Jubilee to buy a computer for a recently homeless, faithful volunteer who needs a laptop for community college.
I started negotiations with the mortgage company for a loan modification to hopefully lower the interest rate, so we can manage better. I mailed in the payment to cure the default. When I spoke to the loan modification counselor and told him about how much we received in gifts, he was amazed. I told him that we have a lot of friends who care. We are quite frankly amazed! We need to send him a copy of the blog entry advertising the rent party and other evidence so the bank knows the story.
There are some takeaways for me from this. The first is that when one gets in trouble, one should not just go down quietly. I have heard of people watching their neighbors being evicted and they didn’t have a clue beforehand they were in trouble. If they had, they may have done something to help. People got through the Great Depression by working together. Of course, back then, people didn’t have cars, air conditioning, in-home entertainment and large suburban lots to keep them separated from one another. Make an effort to get to know your neighbors. Then there are people who work hard and still fall on hard times, but don’t have any friends who can help. This brings up the problem posed by the question, “Who is my neighbor?” We all know that Jesus answered with that it is the one who is in need, according to the parable of the Good Samaritan. That is where ministries like The King’s Jubilee come in. It is also why we need to protect our safety net as a society. If we can come together to help a friend or neighbor, why can’t we learn from the parable of the Good Samaritan and as a society help every neighbor?
We are trying to write thank you notes or send thank you emails to all who gave. We are not sure if we are remembering all who gave, since there were bills slipped in handshakes and stuffed in pockets. Just know that we are very grateful and feel very blessed to be surrounded by such a community of caring and generous souls. May God bless you all!