In Discovering Jesus in the Least, you’ll walk alongside veteran outreach worker, Chris Ramsey, as he uncovers the depths of God’s love not only for the “most overlooked and ignored” folks in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood . . . but also for himself.
Ramsey welcomes the reader into his world through a wide variety of short, poignant observations amassed over 25 years. What he discovers will undoubtedly challenge you to examine your own views regarding the poor and the homeless of our 21st century American society.
Chris Ramsey’s Blog
THANKSGIVING: A FESTIVE TIME AT CCO
We at CCO had another great Thanksgiving with our clients this year. And this is because so many volunteers and organizations come together and offer their services and gifts.
This year we were particularly blessed by Prince Amukamara, cornerback for the Chicago Bears, and his Othersfoundation.
He was so happy to donate 80 turkeys to our Cornerstone Food Pantry, so our low-income families could have a nice Thanksgiving. Prince, himself, was not able to participate because he had to practice for the Bears game with the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving day. (By the way, they won 24-20.)
But his wife, Pilar, was happy to come and help pass out the turkeys. And Lisa Hahner, the executive director for the Othersfoundation, was also happy to attend.
I got a chance to chat with Lisa for a few moments, and she was generous with her down-to-earth insights on the philosophy of their foundation, and the whole motivation behind the idea of “giving back” by professional athletes.
Lisa said that so much good can be accomplished by simply writing a check. She said that working with Prince and his wife Pilar has been such a joy because they are so eager to help out the less fortunate… especially during the holidays. She said Prince put it this way: “Hey, whether you’re rich or poor we’re all the same, we just want to have a nice meal with our families. And if I can help out a few folks to make that meal a reality, then I’m in.”
The mission statement for the Othersfoundation is “Whatever gift you have, use it for others.”
And on Thanksgiving day , we were blessed with so many volunteers from a South-side Church and Fight to Feed, an organization fighting hunger in Chicago.
And I was blessed to have my son, Christopher, and his son, Aaron, come to help out serve our guests. The two of them made a great team, serving with joy.
And so for those that have eyes to see, and ears to hear, we at CCO, staff, volunteers, and everyone got to experience a little more of what Jesus meant when he said, “It’s more blessed to give than receive.”
And that’s what Prince, Pilar, and Lisa mean when they say, “Life should be about others.”
Thanks for stopping by. Chris.
HIS ADVICE: “Don’t hide under an umbrella!”
I’m pleased to introduce to you, Alex from Romania. He came to Chicago about 30 years ago, when his native country was under communist rule. And because of this fact, he tells me that even with all the problems that the United States has… it’s still the best place to live by far. “I really appreciate my freedom,” he says.
For about 25 years he was employed by the Salvation Army, as the assistant to their ministry officers’ team. He told me that he really enjoyed sharing his faith during those years, particularly in nursing homes.
“And how would describe your relationship with God now?” I asked.
“Oh, I feel him every day,” he said. “He guides me all the time, and I’m still serving him on a daily basis. Sometimes I run into some of my old friends from the Salvation Army, and we just give each other a big hug. ”
Our conversation then turned towards his thoughts on God’s provision. “You know, God wants to shower his blessings down on us, but many times we kind of hide under an umbrella,” he said with a twinkle in his eye.
“Oh, really,” I reacted, not quite sure what he was getting at. “Could you explain a little more just what you mean by that?”
“Sure,” he said. “You see, many times we simply refuse to prepare for the blessings. We refuse to be thankful during our “hard times,” and so we’re not ready or appreciative of the good things he does send our way.”
At this time in his life (the past five years) Alex told me that he’s going through a lot of physical health issues including brain surgery, kidney transplant, strokes, and blood clotting. Still, he tells me this with a smile on his face.
“I’ve just learned to accept my life however it goes,” he says. “I’ve just learned not to get discouraged, and to surround myself with positive things… and to get away from the negative things and people in life.”
Although I had noticed Alex before at our soup kitchen and pantry, I had never sat down to talk with him like this. There was just something “special” about how God had brought us together on a recent Sat. afternoon. And I told him that I was so blessed just getting to hear his story, and him allowing me to share it with my readers. (Indeed, I was so blessed that I had nervouslyextended my out-stretched my hand to him a few times during our conversation.)
Alex just smiled and shook my hand a final time and said, “Yeah, I never expected to talk with you todayeither… and shake your hand four times!”
Thanks for stopping by. Chris.