LIU- Living It Up!
Livin' It Up is Metro Community Church's annual banquet for the homeless. Every year, we invite homeless individuals and families from various homeless shelters in this area to join us for an exciting evening of food and dancing. This year's LIU took place on Sunday, March 13, from 6-9pm at Mount Olive Baptist Church in Hackensack. NJ. Read some of our volunteers for this special event reflect on the evening....
I got to do some exit interviews as people were leaving the venue at the end of the night, and what made the planning and hard work all worth it was to hear so many people say that they had the best time and were so thankful for the evening. Even though they were thanking us, I felt so grateful for their excitement and appreciation, and this definitely made me wish we could do this more often. The best part was hearing some say they'd be checking out Metro, Jesus was definitely in the room during LIU!
The most wonderful team of children's program volunteers and I had the pleasure of “livin' it up” with almost 40 children ranging in ages from 1 to 16. It was truly a blessed time. The children were friendly and it was an honor to have had the chance to connect with them. One of my regrets is that I didn't get to talk with more of them, but I'm already looking forward to seeing some of them next year!
I had the privilege of viewing Livin’ It Up from the Kitchen. It was beautiful to witness the body of Christ -- each hand tenderly preparing, each feet diligently serving, each part faithfully fulfilling our mission: Meet Jesus.
Volunteering for LIU was an opportunity to serve in such a different way. I was able to sit at different tables and actually talk to the guests and hear some of their stories. The fact that I asked them about their lives and what brought them to this state allowed them to open up and get comfortable to talk. I had the wonderful opportunity to speak to Ms. Barbara and her daughter Ebony. Ms. Barbara might be 70 yrs old. She was so overwhelmed by everyone's kindness. She had tears in her eyes as she talked about the food, the beautiful decorations and the warm atmosphere and everyone's kindness.
She shared that she has been in the shelter since last November, she had fallen on hard times and has been trying to get back on her feet, but how hard it has been to do so. As I held her hand I asked her if I could pray for her and she looked up into the ceiling and said "of course yes" she was so happy to have someone pray for her. She asked which church I belonged to and I told her Metro Community and gave her an invitation card for the Easter Service. I added that our church was the one doing LIU and she couldn't believe it. She said she wanted to come and visit our church. I told her she can call the number on the card to see if she and her daughter can get a ride on the church bus. She was so overjoyed.
All this to say, LIU was amazing and brought so much love and joy into all who were there last Sunday.
I’ve been a part of many Living It Up events, however this year seemed different. I helped at the photo booth this time around. I was able to interact with many of the children and adults through the course of the night. I was able to witness many personalities from the shy quiet to the red carpet ready. While taking a moment's pause, I was even able to witness the awesome dance moves of the various attendees with whom I was quite impressed with. Two moments that really captured my heart were conversations with two ladies. One lady and I were discussing the night and she stated that when she came through the doors , she saw a light radiating from the people. It was then that she knew she was going to have a good time. The second lady came with a baby to collect her pictures. Suddenly, her daughter reached out her arms and wanted me to hold her and play with her. She told me that her daughter never reached out to anybody like that before much less let them hold her.
It’s moments like those that made me realize that, even for one moment in time, we’ve allowed everybody, from the youngest to the oldest, to feel at peace and able to just have a good time. The smiles on the faces of everybody showed that they truly felt the love of God during the evening. You could see that they were able to let their guard down and live in the moment. I’m glad that I was able to participate and meet these beautiful people. I came to serve them, but in the end they were the ones who were blessing me. I’m truly looking forward to next time and meeting everyone again.