Guest post from one of our newest team members on staff at the Orange County Rescue Mission :: Carol Urton on getting her feet wet at the Village of Hope and grasping where her day to day work energies and efforts gratify.
This is the most important job I have ever had outside of the responsibility of rearing my own two children. I am here, at a homeless shelter and it is the happiest place I have ever been. It truly is The Village of Hope.
There are men, women and children everywhere but everyone seems to have a sense of purpose. There are children playing in the daycare center. They are laughing, dancing and hugging each other. Toddlers run up the ramp to take their turn on the indoor slide. One baby breaks free and laughing gleefully tries to escape out of the play area. If these precious little souls were not here they would be living on the street, cold and hungry, possibly separated from their mothers. My eyes fill with tears when I realize the importance and magnitude of the work here at the Village of Hope.
It is lunch time and we gather in the cafeteria with the residents who are called “students”. They are students of life. Learning how to live, manage their problems, how to work and most important what it means to have God in the center of their lives. I literally sit with the very real people pictured in the OC Rescue Mission brochure and watch them as they eat, smile and hug their children. There is a caption on the wall of the cafeteria that reads, “Give a man a fish and you have fed him for a day. Teach him to fish and you have fed him for a lifetime.” I listen as my new work mentor tells me about their lives, where they came from and the progress they are making. Some had been on the brink of suicide. But, I see no tears here except for the ones I am looking through in my own eyes as I gaze out into the perfectly manicured lawns lined with colorful flowers.
God is here, these people are important, the children are safe and loved. I have been given much more than a job. I have been given the gift of knowing what life is truly all about, loving and serving the least, the last and the lost.