30 Jun WELCOMING EVERYONE
Monday morning, Rachel was sitting in her office when she noticed an elderly woman gently walk into the Collegium with the help of a walking stick. Rachel went out to greet her. Earlier in the week, Rachel had sent an employee around the neighborhood to drop off Collegium café brochures. The woman’s grandson had given her the cafe menu he found on their doorstep. Although they live nearby, they never knew that a place such as the Collegium Café existed here.
Rachel told her about the Center for Sharing and the work- study program that functions through the Collegium Café. The Lady was excited to hear this. She then shared that she has a 10 year old grandson who was left with her by his parents as a baby. She stated that they asked her to babysit him one day, and never returned for him after that. She has since been taking care of him but he needs help as he was kicked out of school due to bad behavior. She said that she now homeschools him. She explained that no matter what she does for him it just never seems to be what he needs. She told Rachel she was tired, and had hoped for some peace at this stage of her life. She continued to express her grief for a while and sounded very dejected. Rachel then told the lady that we are here for her. That whenever she felt the need for prayer or someone to talk to she could always walk into the Collegium and she will find a person who is willing to listen to her and pray with her.
Rachel said that the Lady was extremely happy and left the Collegium with a few brochures about the work being done here and in Tierra Vida community. She left the collegium with a smile. There is a saying: if you can rouse the spirit of a people, they will lead themselves.” Most times all that people need is a word of encouragement to lift their spirits. The Collegium’s mission is to provide space where everyone feels welcomed and safe. It is amazing how differently people react to a welcoming space that is filled with love and compassion.