May 18, 2016
While serving at the Spin-n-Kleen laundromat in East Austin, we met *Susan and *Grace. They were both living at the downtown Austin shelter. Susan was working full time and Grace was actively looking for a job. We decided to purchase $100 gift cards to help with toiletries and other necessities, to give to them at the next laundry event.
The next laundry event arrived and Susan returned to wash clothes; Grace did not. Susan was given one of the gift cards and held on to the second one. We weren’t sure if we would even see Grace again but we decided to wait awhile before giving the card to someone else. Toward the end of the day, a woman came in, walked directly to me and started sharing her personal stories of struggle. She had recently lost her son, was trying to afford funeral expenses and struggling to feed her other children.
She looked directly at the volunteer holding the card and said, “Can you help at all, do you have anything, perhaps a gift card to Wal-Mart or HEB?” No one else knew this person had the card. She was given the Wal-Mart card and we were able to share with her how much God loves her. She started crying and left. She wasn’t there for laundry that day but God brought her in there specifically to ask.
Fast forward to the next laundry event. We purchased another gift card in case Grace did come back. She showed up at the very end of the day to do her laundry and we gave her the card. She immediately began crying and explained the details of the day. She had woken up extremely discouraged but decided to go to church in the morning. During the sermon the pastor talked about tithing and said specifically “Do not give $10 with the expectation of receiving $100; that’s not how God works.” Grace hesitated but put $10 in the offering plate when it came by. Keep in mind Grace was still homeless at the downtown shelter.
When she came into the Laundromat and we had the $100 gift card for her, she knew it was God, not us. We are by no means saying that everyone who tithes $10 will get $100, but God did bless her faithfulness very tangibly that day.
The majority of the time we approach someone in the Laundromat to assist with paying for their laundry we hear statements such as “God always shows up on time” or “God is working through you.” People know they weren’t there by chance that day. To Him all the glory.
*Names have been changed