On a recent outreach trip to urban Denver, my friend, LuAnn, took me to a motel that housed several homeless families. I was astonished to learn that the manager at the motel refused to allow a regular Kids Club meeting for the homeless kids living there in the courtyard. What?!
It didn't cost the motel anything. The church outreach ministry that LuAnn works for provides and cleans up everything. The area wasn't even visible from the street, so Kids Club wouldn't deter customers.
This is where it gets REALLY crazy. There is a Hooter's restaurant next door to the motel. This past summer, the Hooter's manager allowed the outreach team to use the grassy area behind it every week! Are you kidding me?
The outreach team was allowed to bring in inflatables, parachutes, tons of fun stuff for kids who don't have much fun in their lives. It made me wonder: who is the motel manager afraid of? A little team reaching out to little kids to make a little difference in their lives? Or a great big God who sees us wherever we are?
Learning about the manager and the kids was a double dose of sadness for me. Glimpsing the daily desperation in the kids's lives made it incomprehensible that anyone would deny them the slightest hope.
And my heart broke for the motel employees who were choosing to live without the love and peace of Jesus. It broke even more for them because of their loss in knowing that with a great big God on your side, you don't have to be afraid of anyone.