If you have been around Ethos for any time at all then you have probably met Katie Stevens, Lindsay Preston, and Matt Preston (note they are brother and sister not married). If you don't know them, you can usually find them somewhere around the welcome table greeting visitors as people arrive, or during worship standing towards the back, playing with kids that aren't theirs. If you haven't gotten the picture, they are amazing people. This week, they really taught me a lot about what it means to just be the visible presence of Jesus right here in Nashville. I asked Katie to send me an email describing their day on Wednesday and asked her if I could post it here. I have changed some of the names involved, but I still think you will be challenged to live out the gospel after reading this:
--------- (Katie's Email)-------------------------
Today was an incredibly overwhelming day for Carol and her family.Â Lindsay, Matt,Â and I went with Carol and her two sisters to court toÂ possibly testify to the fact that Carol is a fit mother and is making every effort toÂ provide a safeÂ home for her children.Â IÂ completely underestimated the importance of our presence.
We were immediately introduced to her lawyer,Â a case worker, and the director of DCS (child services).Â They talked to us privatelyÂ about what we thought about Carol and what we felt like the best situation was for the boys. The Director of DCS said that he believed we were good people and that he could trust us.Â It was really neat.Â Carol's court date got postponed until May, but we were all asked to meet in a conference room with Carol's family, her lawyer, the folks from child services, DCS, and the children's lawyer.Â
God was so apparent in that room.Â We were such a large part of the discussion, as was Ethos. Â The Director of DCS kept asking us questions about why we were supporting Carol and her children -- giving us a great opportunity to explain that we love her and we help her because of our faith.Â
Everyone seemed shocked. (It was soÂ unusual that the children'sÂ lawyer said that she was suspicious of good peopleÂ and that they usually wantÂ to kidnap the children that they get close to!!) Â The Director of DCS said that it was veryÂ rareÂ for a church do something like that and that as long as he's worked for DCS he's seen very little support for stuggling mothers and families.Â He told us that he wanted to call us and to give us more people to support -- an absoluteÂ unexpected blessing.
We were given an opportunity to share God's love today in a completely unforseen way.Â I am so encouraged by his great powerÂ and hopeful thatÂ through all of this, God willÂ show Ethos many more people to support and to love.