The Lord has done a lot since starting up Laundry Love just over three months ago. Once a month we are given the privilege to provide free laundry to everyone in the community who is in need, and through that we have witnessed the laundry mat transform into a place of gratitude and love. Through the support of our Anthem Church body and Community Group we have already been able to see His mission spread outward to people in Thousand Oaks. From the beginning, the vision for our group has been ‘simple love’ and we feel that is being fulfilled as we invest in the lives of those within the laundry mat. We wanted to be very sensitive to the culture of the specific laundry mat we’re serving in and we have learned that people are much more receptive to receiving from us than we expected. As we continue, our hope is to gain deeper relationships with the people there, to be obedient to where God wants to lead this ministry, and ultimately for the Gospel to be spread through our actions and words.
Thursday, April 23rd was our third Laundry Love event! Going into the night I don't think anyone expected the turn out that we had. Honestly, the place was completely packed! Between the signs hung up and our good friends Giovanni and Sal spreading the word, it really caught on this month. We had many new faces coming in but also a ton of familiar ones. Tricia Hinkle, Daniel O'Kelley, Katie McCarley, Kristen Wise, Michela Hamm, and myself (Carly) headed it up this week, and after we all felt God use us in individual ways.
Here are a few glimpses into the night...
-The people who returned from the last few months already felt much more comfortable around us and we were able to build deeper friendships with them. It was great to see them marking their calendars and saving up their laundry for this day. Giovanni invited two more of his friends and before we even arrived they had their laundry machines loaded and ready for us.
-Sal (aka Indio), a member of our church who hangouts at the laundry mat and is struggling financially, wanted to help head-up the night. He was even giving away the food that people had given him. He set up a mini food station welcoming people to grab some! He saw himself as a team member and not just a beneficiary. It was so encouraging to hear him say he wanted to serve them as we have served him. He even brought his Bible in hopes of praying for people there.
-Kristen right off the bat had a God-inspired conversation with someone in the parking lot that was really encouraging.
-Danny had a royal blue shirt on and got mistaken for one of those Helpful Honda guys. (This is the best)
-Giovanni asked us for prayer at the end of the night so Katie, Danny and myself prayed over him. After, he had goosebumps and excitedly told his friend Roseanne she needed to get prayer too. She then had us pray for her son Devon who sadly was getting bullied at school. After that Roseanne's friend, Star, came out with tears asking us to pray for her daughter Sophia who was struggling in school. Amazing how one life was touched and it spread to multiple others.
-Two people came to us and gave $20 and $10 out of gratitude for what we were doing through Laundry Love.
-Overall, there was so much LOVE! Everyone there felt encouraged and touched by such a small act. The laundry mat turned into a place of caring for one another and community. Couldn't be more thankful for what God did and will continue to do.
To the church body of Anthem, thank you so much for your support financially and with prayer. The quarters you give are doing so much more than washing clothes.
With love, Carly O’Connor
Locations and Times: “Launderland” 363 East Avenida De Los Arboles, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360 6:30pm-8pm, every 4th Thursday of the month