This insight has stuck with me since The Idea Camp in Irvine:
Open source is about making it happen for the kingdom, not about getting credit for it.
Charles Lee embodies this principle in so many ways. One of the many movements he helps lead, JustOne, created an initiative called the Laundry Love Project as “regular opportunities to help people who are struggling financially by assisting them with doing their laundry. Relationships are built, and LLPs become small communities of common concern in which participants often find that they receive assistance and benefit with other areas of their lives.”
Our church community initiated and participated in our first LLP on Saturday, June 6th. I was so encouraged to hear about other communities around the country also hosting LLPs — check out this great photo of a standing-room only crowd in Arkansas and this site setup by a group in Red Oak, Texas.
San Diego, because of its temperate climate, has a large homeless population. Many within our church have struggled with the idea of how to make a difference for members of the homeless community beyond giving a couple of dollars here & there when we see them panhandling at major intersections near church.
Laundry Love gave us a venue for listening to individual stories and establishing relationships while, at the same time, offering practical help. Our church might not be very big in numbers, but we have a huge heart! Most of our church members are not likely to strike up a Jesus-conversation with a stranger seated next to them on an airplane, but they are more than willing to get their hands dirty and serve like Jesus. Laundry Love is a great fit for us, and we’re hoping this will be the first of many. I’ve cross-posted the following from our church’s site:
Thank you to everyone from United who came out to love & serve at our first Laundry Love Project!
Times are tough, and even the simple act of paying for someone’s laundry can make a big difference. More than that, even though it’s about laundry, it’s also about so much more — by demonstrating God’s love, we are able to engage people in relationship. We were so blessed to see everyone engaging in conversations, listening and serving.
There were so many stories from the two hours we were at Midway Coin Laundry. There was Kathy, whose husband’s part-time job is just enough to put food on the table from week-to-week. They lost their daughter a few year ago, and it’s been hard to recover since then. She kept saying, over and over, “You guys are so sweet for doing this. Thank you.” Kelly shared with Pastor Jeya about how clean clothes make a difference, “People treat you differently when your clothes are clean.” We met Frank and his dog Pappy. There was Bear, who had gotten the word out to people in the homeless community about Laundry Love. There was Kelly, whose faith led her even to give thanks to God even for finding a spot under a bridge for shelter.
A local resident who happened to be there saw what we were doing and was so encouraged by it that he said, “Feels like something good is going on. There’s something in the air.”
Let’s continue to say yes to God, as individuals, families and as a church community. In the words of my almost six-year old daughter who said the following when I asked her about why we did the Laundry Love Project:
Because we wanted to show God’s love to people, and to let them know that we care.
May we continue to demonstrate our firm belief that God has not given up on the world, and neither have we!