Blessed Life, Serving the Needy, Uncategorized

The Secret to Blessed and a Henri Nouwen Book Giveaway!




I spotted her at the end of the night.

How could anyone be so beautiful with half her teeth missing?

But her smile…oh this older woman’s sweet face.

I had to go to her and tell her how very pretty she was.

I grabbed her hands and looked into those soft brown eyes and said, “You’ve got the most beautiful face.” She smiled revealing the five teeth left in her mouth, but still, there it was…such a kind face. Was that what made it beautiful? Kindness?

I introduced myself extending my hand again, “Hi, I’m Andy.”

Her eyes filled with tears and she wailed, “That’s my brother’s name!” She drew me to herself and we embraced for a long time. I held her as she wept. We were two complete strangers holding each other as if we had been reunited after many years.

In that moment, I knew this is why I had come. Though meeting a beautiful, toothless woman named Louise Elaine wasn’t my initial reason to help feed those in need on this night. I knew God sent me for this embrace.

I had not come to bring a friend who wanted to get involved helping the homeless. I hadn’t come to serve those who could not afford groceries much less a restaurant–to become their waitress taking their plates when they were finished and refilling their tea. My being there wasn’t about the opportunity to serve someone else other than my family. My bigger purpose that night was to meet Elaine.

It was a chance to hold her as Jesus would and tell her how much He loved her. It was a chance to experience her embrace.

Henri Nouwen writes in his book Here and Now:

“How is it possible to keep caring for the poor when the poor only get poorer? How is it possible to keep nursing the sick when they are not getting better? How can I keep on consoling the dying when their deaths bring me more grief? The answer is that they all hold a blessing for me, a blessing I need to receive. Ministry is, first of all, receiving God’s blessing from those to whom we minister. What is the blessing? It is the glimpse of the face of God. Seeing God is what heaven is all about! We can see God in the face of Jesus, and we see  the face of Jesus in all those who need our care.”

Elaine was beautiful because I saw Jesus in her face.


[tweetability]I had gone to bless others but I was blessed 1000 times greater in return.[/tweetability]


Isn’t that just like God?


Much Love,



**Five years ago Chris and Bobby Steger launched Walking Together to feed the homeless on Thursday nights in a local park. Their location changed through the years–the city not wanting a crowd of homeless gathering in one of Wilmington’s best-known parks. But their need to move to a church parking lot has opened doors for other ministries to become involved with the project. And now the Thursday night meals are a beautiful picture of the hands and feet of Jesus feeding the poor across denominations, skin color, and economic lines. Walking Together has not missed a Thursday night in five years including Thanksgivings.


Book Giveaway! 

Here and Now by Henri Nowen

3 ways to enter:

  1. Follow Andy’s Facebook page by “liking” (if you haven’t already.)

  2. Subscribe to receive new posts. (Right top corner.)

  3. Leave a comment. (Please do this even if you do the other two so I know you want to enter!)

I’ll post the winner Next Friday (June 6).

I’m linking up with Christianmommyblogger and Essentialdevotions. And MakeADifference Monday with Jen Weaver.




  1. Sybil Brun

    Oh Andy I just wrote this week about the difference it makes when we are kind and hospitable to strangers and I LOVE that you did the same! I am smiling thinking how great and awesome is our Lord! Thank you so much for sharing this at Make A Difference Mondays so that I could find it and many others could be blessed too!

    1. Hi Sybil! I love when God does that too. I love Make a Difference Monday. What an awesome link-up. Hope to link up again. Thanks for visiting and commenting. I’ll enter you into the giveaway.

  2. Randy Evans

    I have had the honor to serve with Bobby and Chris which has lead to greater passions in the area of poverty and the displaced in Wilmington. They shine a light into a dark world that many are afraid to enter. Thank you Andy for this blog, for its very inspiring.

    1. Thank you for serving, Randy! Chris and Bobby are wonderful examples to follow, and I know they are so thankful for people like you who help serve with them. Thanks so much for reading and commenting! I’ll enter you into the contest.

      1. Randy Evans

        Thank you, my minister is a huge Henri Nouwen fan and quotes quite a bit. We are in the process of developing a day center underneath Grace UMC for the displaced, elderly, and people who are, “economically challenged.” The day center will provide lockers, computers, a mail center, and the ability for people to cash their disability checks. This spawned from a poverty simulation we participated in back in February. Do you blog every week?

        1. That sounds wonderful Randy! You must have participated in Vigilant Hope’s simulation. Yes, I post 3 times a week. Blessings!

          1. Randy Evans

            Was the Henri Nouwen book given away yesterday?

          2. The winner was announced Friday, June 6th. Donna Tinsley won. Sorry, Randy! Keep visiting. I try to give away a book once a month. Blessings!

  3. It’s so amazing how God chooses to involve us in ministering to His children. Even by something as simple as a hug, we get to participate in sharing His divine love. Beautiful and inspiring!!

    1. Amen! Thanks for dropping by and commenting! I’ve entered you into the giveaway. :)

  4. Mel

    Andy, I was searching for some wisdom last night and not only did God send me to Matthew 5, but to your post this morning. It’s like icing on the cake! Thanks for always giving me inspiration to reach out to God and others!

    1. What an honor. My blog was icing today! Praise the Lord. Love you my friend. I’ll enter you into the drawing.

  5. I’ve had those types of experiences and am always so in awe of our sweet Lord. There is a man who roams the streets of Daytona with such beautiful eyes that many have wondered if he is an angel unaware. Once he said he felt heat go through him when we hugged. I didn’t feel it, but was touched when he told me that at a later time. The Lord is so good as that really encouraged me. If I ever do write my book, Daytona Streets, he will be a character in it:)

    1. You’ve got to write that book, Donna! Love that story. Thanks for reading and commenting. You are entered.

      1. Thank you, Andy, you bless me all the time:)

        1. It is mutual my friend. You are a kindred spirit.

  6. Renewed_Daily

    Andy, what a wonderful giveaway! I would love to enter! :) Thank you for this chance. I loved the story of Louise Elaine! <3 Heart Hugs, Shelly

    1. Hey Shelly! You’re entered. Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

  7. Sharon Rondeau

    I never come away from this amazing group with out being filled with such joy. Lorenzo brings such a smile to my face when he says,”You are beautiful!” This thin young man that wears four pairs of shorts all at the same time has a smile from here to the west coast. He is so grateful for the opportunity to share some fellowship and eat a good meal that his gratitude flows to others like a beacon of light. What a joy to be there last night with you and all the other volunteers that make Walking Together their “date night”. Sharon

    1. I loved meeting Lorenzo too. What a gentle, sweet man. Thank you for always showing us how to serve, Sharon. You are such a light in a dark world.

  8. April

    I started receiving your posts via e mail a couple weeks ago, I love your words. That IS just like God!! Thanks for sharing! Would love to win a copy of the book:-)

    1. Hey April, thank you for your kind words! Thanks for following and commenting. You’re entered into the giveaway. Blessings.

  9. Suzy

    The “Walking Together” meal has been a blessing to so many. The fellowship that takes place while sharing a meal together really is where the true blessing is…thank you for writing about this Andy, it’s wonderful….

    1. Thanks Suzy! Maybe we will get to serve one night together. Thanks for reading and commenting! You are entered!

  10. Kay Stocking

    What a simple and touching display of Jesus all around, Andy! (I’m not trying to enter the contest – just needed to comment. :-)

    1. Thank you, Kay. It always means a lot to me when you leave a comment. Love you, friend!

  11. jeanwilund

    This was beautiful! God calls us to bigger things than we even realize, like feeding more than an empty stomach — feeding a soul. This really touched me!. Thanks for sharing it!

    1. Thank you for reading and commenting, Jean! Your words were beautiful, “feeding a soul.” You’re entered into the giveaway. Blessings!

  12. venus schrader

    Good word……. Thank you. I have won a book before. So I want others to have a chance.

    1. Thanks for reading and always encouraging, Venus. Much love. If you’re the only one who enters…you win! :)

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