Posted by: Harry Sasnowitz | June 27, 2016

Church By The Dumpster, by guest blogger Tasha Lynn

On a recent Sunday morning, a soft rain had just started to fall. I was running late…again. My boyfriend and I were meeting another couple to watch The Jesus Lens, an enriching DVD series about seeing Jesus throughout the Scriptures. With a 90 minute drive ahead of me, I needed to quickly drop off the clothing donation in my backseat and get going.

I am often late. It is one of my downfalls. But according to God’s agenda, this time I was right on time! If I had left the house any earlier or later, I would have missed the meeting of the church beside the dumpster.

As I entered the thrift shop parking lot, I noticed her… a middle-aged Hispanic woman with a shopping cart, rummaging around the dumpster. This was not a particularly uncommon sight in this area. Any other day, I might have driven on by. But I was drawn by that invitation of the Spirit, unmistakably tugging at my heart.

I’ll call her Marta. In broken English, she kindly responded to my questions with answers I would not have guessed. No, she was not in need of food or clothing for herself. Rather, she was searching for magazines that might contain coupons. Marta helps those in need by blessing them with practical items. She is leaving for Central America next month to distribute supplies to those in need. She welcomed the bag of clothing I offered her for the trip. She explained how God has so blessed her, and now she passes that blessing on to others.

Our language barriers were not so much of a hindrance that Sunday morning. My newfound sister’s radiant smile and grateful heart spoke measures as we each prayed to our Father while we stood in the rain beside the dumpster.

I asked if she had an umbrella. She did not, so I began looking for my small black one. Not finding it, I was prompted to give her the enormous, more expensive golf umbrella in my back seat, because “she shelters many people.” I think that word of encouragement was more of a blessing to her than the umbrella itself. I heard the Spirit say how happy God is with what she is doing, and when I told her this, she was deeply touched.

Marta asked for a ride home, and I dropped her off at a modest little house, where she pointed out to me her garden and the beautiful plants native to her home country of El Salvador. Our visit that morning must’ve lasted maybe 15 minutes, much shorter than most “Sunday sermons”. But how rich, spontaneous, and beautiful it was to me.

Friends, can we take a moment to consider our own definitions of church? Church is not a building, or a program, or a man-made agenda. It is God’s children being together, wherever we are. May we all be open to that next encounter. Led by Him, it’s a joy to experience church wherever we go.

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