Sorin Dan reports …
On 18 February 2012 I had the privilege to take part in the Homeless Focus Day organized by Serve the City Brussels. I had not fully grasped beforehand the implications of this privilege that was granted to me.
In the morning of that wintry Saturday morning a group of volunteers – of which I soon felt to be a living part – began preparing and packing sandwiches and waffles to share with our friends in various locations in Brussels.
Together with a group of volunteers I was assigned to serve the needs of the homeless in and around Gare Centrale.
As we were walking in our group towards Gare Centrale, I could feel the emotions that we experienced: privilege, contentment over having made the right decision to give of our time, but also fear of the unknown, fear of not saying the right word or not smiling in the right way, of not being able to serve adequately. I have to confess that these feelings were not foreign to me during those initial moments. Will I be kind enough? Will I really make a difference? were the questions that kept crossing my mind.
It was not long before we approached Gare Centrale that we met our first friends. They had come from a Central Eastern European country to Brussels hoping that here they could find more adequate means to support themselves and their families. As we approached them with our bags of sandwiches, bottles of water, waffles and our smiley faces – similar to those e-folks use when they want to smile as they type an e-mail – they seemed amazed as if they could not believe it. They received the food and our kind words gratefully, praising God that there are still some good people left in Brussels.
Not long after this first encounter, we met another friend from the same country: a different life story but the same response of gratitude that somebody would smile and speak to him in a friendly way. Then a group of friends followed. Then one friend, then another friend, then another one…
Being confident that ‘man does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God’ I was ready to share God’s unconditional love with them to let them know that it is not just a group of friendly volunteers who care for them but God himself. I was positively impressed by their desire and openness to discuss about God.
Often it was not me who started speaking about God’s love with them, but they themselves opened the subject. They could sense that God was near and was caring for them through us – and they wanted to know more about it and have more of it. What a privilege to be used by Christ, the Lord to serve the needs of people like us!