First there was a box of unexpected bread — well, about four boxes, actually. Then the question, What are we going to do with all this bread? We decided that we’d set up a table outside on the sidewalk that evening and offer the bread to people as they walked home. That evening around 4:30, a woman named Grisel was going to an interview at a restaurant down the street from the Simplicity Outreach Center. By 5 o’clock, she was out the door after the manager wound up refusing her interview. Discouraged and stressed, she was walking toward her home when she came upon our table full of bread. Miriam, one of our Simplicity missionary workers, greeted her and asked if she would like some. Noticing that she looked distressed, Miriam asked if everything was okay.
Grisel said of her experience, “After sharing my story of the rude manager with Miriam, she immediately asked if she could pray with me and then invited me into the center to warm up and talk.”
She said it made a huge impact on her. She and her son had just moved back to Allentown from Florida, and having no coats were not prepared for winter. Miriam was able to give coats and other warm clothes to her. Over the next few weeks Miriam and Grisel struck up a friendship and visited regularly. Grisel said she is a Muslim, but since she really appreciated praying with Miriam, they pray together often and talk about God and faith.
Grisel is also in recovery. She has a story that would be horribly sad if not for her generally upbeat disposition and positive attitude toward life. But having just moved to the area she didn’t have much of a support group around her. Now, whenever she feels like things are getting too much for her, she comes down to Simplicity and she feels at peace when she is there. She knows the whole team now and is comfortable with them and trusts them. She finds herself coming by the center several times a week to help out and just be around friends.
First there were some boxes of bread, then there was a friendship.