Yesterday I stepped into a meeting and when I returned to my car a few hours later, this is what I found beside my car door. A broken meth pipe and a penny laying beside it. Coincidence? Or a reminder of why Braking Cycles exits? May we see the value even in the most broken places.
A volunteer called me today (Dina), from New Mexico. She was just in town over the weekend to serve on a mission trip with Transitional Youth's camp at Royal Ridges (TY serves homeless and street youth in Portland. I have the honor of being the Outreach Director who gets to work with these amazing kids). Over the weekend at camp, I shared the "penny story" with Dina, and she took it to heart as so many of us have (Thank you to Stacy for first sharing it with me <3).
Dina shared with me that this very morning, back in New Mexico, she realized she left her credit card at home, just as she had ordered a breakfast sandwich at Subway. She ran to her car, as she knew she had pennies there that might cover the $3.75 she needed. As she started to count the change in her car, she was immediately reminded of the kids we served this weekend. Each face was all of a sudden before her in memory, and she prayed for each of them as she counted out the pennies. She shared how she was so struck by how many times these kids must have counted out pennies for a sandwich, and how often they must have come up short. As she held each penny before her, she was overwhelmed by the tremendous value she was now holding, not only in her hand, but her heart.
Dina shared that normally, she would be ashamed to bring 375 pennies to the counter to pay for something, but this time, she couldn't wait to get back into the store to tell the clerk about the amazing value of these pennies! As Dina shared her own version of the "worth of a penny", she said the clerk's eyes lit up, along with another woman who stood behind her and listened on as well. She said "church happened" right there in the Subway sandwich shop as she told them about her weekend with the "thrown away" youth of the streets, and the "thrown away" money she held in her hand. She too, challenged these ladies listening to her story, to look at the value of our youth differently, and be reminded to do so every time they came upon a tossed away penny on the street.
Thank you, Dina, for being challenged and changed by the amazing value God places on the simple and humble gifts of this world.
Pennies are much like the youth we serve; they are often times tossed aside, stepped over, forgotten and not valued. How often have we intentionally stepped over pennies on the sidewalk? Just as often we step over youth caught in the traps and addictions of the streets. We want to change that, and we believe you can help! By exposing the lie, and seeing the real value of our youth, we will not only raise the bar in our own belief systems, we can make a tremendous impact on the community around us in sharing this simple story. The next time you see a penny on the street or some random place, stop and pick it up, think about the hundreds of youth on the streets of Portland, and consider what you can do to make a difference.... one penny at a time!