By Sharon Mager
WALDORF, Md.—Trinity Baptist Church has a passion to help the homeless. The church will participate in Safe Nights January 18-24. Safe Nights is a program sponsored by the non-profit organization, LifeStyles, Inc. Safe Nights offers churches an opportunity to partner by opening their doors for a week at a time on a rotating basis to provide shelter for the homeless during cold weather months.
Youth Minister Ebonie Davis, who coordinates the program for the church, said Safe Nights brings the whole church together to do ministry. It actually begins in November when several members take part in “Walk to End Homelessness,” which raises funds and awareness for the Safe Nights program.
During the church’s designated week, members sign up to prepare, cook and serve meals. Students pack lunches, others clean up. Many participate by visiting with guests, spending time with them in hopes of getting to know them and learn their stories.
“We have at least 40 people each year and that includes children. And when I say children, I mean from infants through teens,” Davis said.
Members strive to provide a fun week for their guests. Davis said the most popular activities include “Throwback Thursday,” with a church member who acts as a DJ for the night and takes requests for “oldies” music. There’s also karaoke night that Davis said is a huge hit. And the church also shows movies.
Davis said that while the members strive to be a blessing to their guests, often the guests bring the blessings. One year, Davis said a young homeless man shared with the church’s youth group, doing Christian rap music and telling the youth honestly about how God has moved in his life, and also sharing his personal ongoing struggles.
Prayer is always a big part of the week. Guests often ask for prayer for personal needs and each night before dinner there is a time of prayer. Sometimes, the guests do the praying.
“Last year we had a man who has been in the program for some time. He prayed over us before we ate dinner. He didn’t ask for anything for himself or his homeless friends. He asked the Lord to bless and keep us and to continue to help us do the ministry we do. It was beautiful.”