Called to Serve: Laundry Love

It all began with a YouTube search.

In preparing my Sunday School lesson from the Outlive Your Life study, I noticed that there was a video that our church had not purchased.  It wasn’t super necessary… but I went to YouTube just to see if I could find something I could use.  In my search, I came across this video about something called Laundry Love.

Watching the video lit a fire within me.

I wanted to do that.  I HAD to do that!  I wanted to share it with my class and get them all on board.  But as I have already mentioned, no one showed up to class.  So, I was on my own.  And I was determined.

I set the date and started searching for quarters.

I had no idea how much I would need or how many people I would see, but I felt $20 would be an excellent start.  If others would go with me, it would add to my amount and we could help lots of families.

laundry

When I told my class my plan, they seemed mildly interested.

Others were not convinced.  They were concerned that people who did not truly have a need would take advantage of our kindness.  But the way I saw it is you only find yourself at the laundry mat if you have a need.  Maybe we wouldn’t be helping the homeless like the church in the video… maybe the people we meet won’t be below the poverty level… but they would have a need.  And I felt led to meet that need. And in the process, share the love of Christ.

My mom was the only one who would come with me.

Everyone else had plans or made excuses.  One class member was very interested in coming, but is currently on bed rest with twins… so it was best that she wait this one out.   I was not sure what we would encounter with this being our first time, so I did not want to bring my kids this time.

laundry2

Together we had $38 in quarters, a huge tub of washing powder, dryer sheets, and a bottle of stain remover. 

We piled it all into her little VW Bug and drove to the Coin Laundry.  Hubby planned to join us after he had our car serviced.  I was nervous and excited all at once.  I wasn’t sure what I would say, who I would meet, how they would receive me… I was walking in faith.  And it was a bit thrilling.

When we arrived there was a man already there.  He had just put his clothes in the wash, so we explained what we were doing and told him we would like to dry his clothes when he was ready, if he would let us.  He was very gracious and thankful.  There was some awkward silence, but we struck up a conversation about the laundry mat.  In the process, we learned that his name was Rico and he had just moved back here after working construction in Wilmington.

After breaking the ice with Rico, the people started slowly trickling in.

One lady was happy to let me pay for her wash, but she seemed a bit nervous.  She asked me if she was on a game show or something.  I just laughed and told her we were there to share some love with no strings attached.  Soon after a man with a huge smile entered the building.  He felt like he shouldn’t let me pay, like it was wrong to accept my gift without returning the favor.  We learned his name was Jeremiah… and after some gently prodding he allowed me to insert the coins.

While I was helping Jeremiah with his loads, my mom began helping a young mom.  She had her two kids and her elderly mother with her.  She was all smiles and was truly blessed to have the assistance.  With barely time to sit down and visit, another man came in with his laundry.  He would not allow me to pay for his wash.  He was kind but firm that he was not interested, so I did not push it.  He did, however, ask to sit beside me and we talked about our community, the weather, kittens… you name it!  Jeremiah had stepped next store to the convenience mart and came back with cans of Coconut Juice for my mom and me.  I happily accept his show of gratitude, but discovered quickly that I am not a fan of coconut juice. Yuck!  (Don’t tell him I said that… he was very proud to offer it to me!)

We helped one more family before I realized I was low on quarters.  After filling their four washers, I had to borrow coins from my mom’s coin purse.  We helped each family (but the last one) fill and start their dryers.  Jeremiah was last.  I only had 4 quarters left, but I loaded the quarters as he loaded the dryer with clothes.

laundry3

We told everyone we met that we were there to share love.

We told them what church we attended, and everyone was very appreciative.  I didn’t want to preach at them… there may be a time for that later.  I just wanted to open that door.  To let them know they were loved and worthy.  And they all accepted it.  Not everyone shared their name, and only Rico shared his story.  But we all shared smiles, and when the quarters were gone each one let me hug them and tell them thank you for allowing me to share their morning with them.

Jesus was there.  His presence was felt.  His purpose was known.

Jeremiah was the one who said it.  As we loaded his dryer with our final quarters, he turned to me to me with his huge grin.

Jeremiah: Sharing Jesus can be hard.

Me: Yes, it can.  But this has all been worth it.  Your smile has blessed me today.

Jeremiah: You have put your faith with actions.  Faith without actions is nothing.  Action without faith is nothing.  You have put action with your faith.  This is good.

I shared that his name reminded me of my favorite verse, Jeremiah 29:11

I say this because I know what I am planning for you,” says the Lord. “I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you. I will give you hope and a good future. (NCV)

We hugged.  Then mom and I gathered our items and left.  Hubby was just pulling up… our quarters were gone in one hour.  I had hoped to stay longer, but God had other plans.  I climbed in the car with Hubby and cried tears of joy as I relayed the morning’s events with him.

laundry4

We helped 5 families, 13 people.  We shared our morning with 14 people.  But it was me who was truly blessed.  Blessed with the joy and happiness that comes with serving the Lord and His children.  And I look forward to the next one.  The date is already set!

** I wish I had taken pictures of the events this morning… although I had my phone, I was too self-conscious to take it out and start snapping.  Maybe, now that the ice is broken and my foot is in the door, I will be able to take some next time. 

Advertisements

12 thoughts on “Called to Serve: Laundry Love

  1. Reblogged this on Hope in the Healing and commented:
    Jesus told us to do unto others as we would have them do to us. When I hear that scripture quoted I think of many things such as being compassionate, extending mercy, maybe feeding the homeless, giving to those that have less than I have. In general being kind and showing the love of Christ. One thing I would never think of is doing their laundry for them! Amy Kelly does just that.

    You are going to love today’s post about an outreach program that this precious friend of mine started back in September as a project for her Sunday School class. I have been watching this from the cheap seats ever since and have been amazed at how this has taken root. It wasn’t just a faze that Amy went through to make her feel good. She is still at it every week. Read this amazing story and see if maybe it will inspire you to start a random act of kindness to show the love of Christ to strangers. Wow, Amy. You are my hero, friend.

  2. Pingback: Called to Serve: Laundry Love | Walk Humbly With God

  3. What a great ministry that God has led you to – and that is the key. We will only come up with busy work if we’re making our won plans; but following God’s plan – that’s ministry!

    • God has truly ordained this! It is amazing how the quarters are being donated and the people in need are in place each time we go. No matter how many quarters we bring (and He has tripled our number since the beginning) we are through in one hour. 🙂

  4. So glad to hear how you have been blessed by this! A lot of the things Jesus called us to do as believers may seem tedious at first. But when we get up and do it? it blessed us SO much we wonder why we even lingered! Ah wish I could join you, sister! Praying for you from this tiny country in Africa. Love you, Amy 🙂 Keep shining for Him

  5. You are so right, Amy! Jesus was there! What an amazingly simple way to reach out to those in need of perhaps more than just quarters and detergent. I’m praying that those people you and your mom encountered are drawn to Christ because of your sweet and generous gesture. Coconut milk, not so good? Who knew?! 🙂

    • I would love for you to share! It is so easy! So simple!! And so necessary!!! When people think there is nothing they can to do help, we can say “YES.THERE.IS!!”

  6. Dear Amy
    Your faith, shown through laundry love, reminds me of the one verse in the book of Proverbs that says that helping the poor is lending to God! I know that in retrospect you realized that you were actually the blessed one.
    Much love XX
    Mia

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s