As I have begun this journey of ministry at Open Door Mission, people often ask me what my duties include as an overnight Family Support Worker. The answer is quite varied. I love the fact that every shift is different!
I answer phones that ring with people in crisis on the other line. Those calls are the heartbeat of overnight staff. We offer safe, clean beds- and definitely hope. Should women and children come for shelter, I get the pleasure of filling out intake paperwork, and literally tucking precious souls into bed. I may be the first contact a person gets with the mission, so it is crucial that I keep calm, sympathetic, and positive.
I have the privilege of cleaning rooms here at the Lydia House to prepare for new guests. As I clean, I pray for the occupants that have left- and the new residents to come. This helps me to keep my focus; I am cleaning as unto the Lord, I am not merely scrubbing sinks and floors.
Other duties include security, filing and email…LOTS of email! Since overnight staff doesn’t always interact with other shifts and the supervisory staff very much, it is crucial that we stay in contact through this correspondence.
Occasionally, it is our duty to call for an ambulance, or transfer a guest to the hospital. Recently, I was able to minister to a woman as we transported her to a nearby emergency room. We talked about God’s great love for her, and how she could choose now to get the help she needed to leave an abusive relationship, and learn better coping tools than turning to alcohol. We sang a song with the radio on our way to the hospital, “Lord, I need You, oh, I need You! Every hour I need You! My one Defense, my Righteousness! Oh, God- how I need You.”. Tears ran down her face, and my heart swelled with love for this precious woman who, in this moment, recognized her need for a Savior. I may never see her again- but I pray that the night was full of impact for her, as it was for me.
As morning light breaks, people begin waking and it is time for med pass. We offer a scheduled and supervised environment for our guests to take their medications. I enjoy this time of my shift, because I get to meet and bond with the individuals we are here to serve. Often, I will hear of job interviews, or how the kids are doing in school, or how someone has found housing. Because this happens near the end of my shift, I pray for these requests on my way home from work.
There are so many things I could tell you about- little vignettes of ministry, and prayer, and meeting of needs. These things add even more richness to my Open Door Mission journey. I honestly don’t believe I could be a blessing more to the people here then they have been to me. That is how God’s equations work- the one sent to bless, receives a blessing beyond calculation!