By Dan T.
The next steps involve installing windows, which will be delivered later this week, and two sliding doors. Piece by piece, the addition is coming together and slowly transforming into a home.
While we were working on the roof, Todd, Meredith, and Payton assembled two dozen blessing bags from donations they received, and after work on the roof was done we drove to the park in Fort Collins to hand them out. In many ways, the concept of the blessing bags is a reflection of the early church that is described in Acts. The Rennells have been able to combine their own resources with donations from churches and individuals to create the bags and distribute them among the needy. And not only that, but we continue to witness the homeless people serving one another by dividing and distributing these items with each other.
Similar to my experience in August, there were far more people than bags, but even those who didn't receive a bag expressed gratitude. The bags went quickly -- within a matter of minutes -- and even before we left the park we could see people sharing the contents of "their" bags with others.
As encouraging as it was to witness this, I was also sad to see so many homeless people in and around the park. We counted more than 20 people in the park, plus a long line of people across the street waiting for the shelter to open, and yet another group further down the train tracks behind the shelter. Last night, I asked the Rennells if they recognized any of the people we saw in the park and they said no. Part of me hoped I would see Steve again, but the Rennells said it has been several weeks since they last saw him. I suspect the threat of tickets and jail time keeps many of the homeless people of Fort Collins on the move, which only makes it more challenging for the Rennells to build relationships with them.
This will come with time, and is a core part of their vision for the ranch.
There is a comforting sense of peace and serenity at Soaring Wings that I hope the future residents will be able to enjoy as much as I have this weekend. It's hard to beat starting the day with devotions on the front porch watching a beautiful sunrise, complete with grazing antelope on the hills overlooking the ranch, or ending the day taking in a fiery sunset over the Rockies with coyotes singing in the distance.
In all, this was a good trip for me, and probably one of the most spontaneous things I have ever done. Up until Wednesday of last week, I had no plans to fly out to Colorado. I missed the team and my heart has had bouts of restlessness since we returned in August, but after reading Meredith's newsletter on Tuesday evening and a sleepless night afterward, I knew I needed to give it a shot.
I hope you find these posts helpful and take the opportunity to consider how you can help the homeless in your own community. If you are interested in learning more about how you can help Soaring Wings through financial support, donations for the homeless, or volunteering your time, I would be happy to connect you with Ed and Anita.