Remember when I read Same Kind of Different as Me and mentioned that I would be out west for a wedding?? Well, last weekend was that weekend. I GOT TO GO TO THE UNION GOSPEL MISSION! I know I sound crazy, but I still think about the book often and I guess since I had been planning this since I finished the book on May 24 I was (and still am) uber excited.
Leading up to the trip, I had gotten on the Union Gospel Missions website to get their address. When I did that, I saw on their website a notice for specific donations that were needed. As CT3 and I talked about it, we decided that we not only wanted to go visit the place where the book took place, but also make a small contribution.
Upon arriving into Dallas, we picked up our rental car and headed to Fort Worth to the UGM. On the way, we stopped at Wally World and picked up a few items to donate as listed on their website. Their main needs were for water, paper towels, toilet paper and toiletries so those were the aisles we headed for.
We were able to get a ton of stuff. Walmart sells their 24 packs of water for $2.84. CT3 and I were in shock as we grabbed 8 packs of water for hardly $25. We would have gotten more, but with our luggage in the car, I was scared it wouldn't all fit!
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After picking out our selections, we headed to the car. CT3 methodically put all of the goodies away and we ended up with just enough space.
The UGM is only about 25 minutes from the Dallas airport so we were there in no time. The shelter is huge with multiple buildings and driveways. We first just pulled in so that I could go and ask where we should park. I don't think its in the best area of town so everything was locked and gated. Besides, they have a lot of people in and out, so for the safety of their guests, they have to keep a watch on who is around.
The first gentleman I spoke to was helpful and pointed me to the next driveway and building. As we drove to what we thought was the next driveway, a large truck pulled in before us. Great we thought! He will have the gate opened and we can just slip in...and that is precisely what we did. We pulled into a parking spot near the donation center and then it hit us. Again we were in the wrong parking lot.
Not wanting to move again, we just walked through the gate and found someone to help us. The gentleman's name was Ted and he was quite friendly. He did make fun of us for where we had parked and offered a buggy to help us cart our stuff over, but other than that, it was all good! We told him how we had heard about the Mission and he just grinned from ear to ear.
He mentioned that both Ron Hall and Denver Moore were at the shelter the night before and that Denver comes by often. He said that Denver is just as rough and gruff as the book states and that even now days, people don't often cross him! Ted vouched for everything said in the book and was so excited that it had meant so much to us to move us to visit the shelter. He helped us unload and thanked us profusely.
Really, I was the one, in my heart thanking him. I had wanted to come so bad and talking to him I felt like I was talking to a celebrity as he told me about the books authors, their personalities and their current connection with the Mission.
Ted asked us if we wanted a tour of the buildings and gave us the volunteer coordinators phone number to call. We would have liked to, however since we had to get clear across Dallas and catch up with family, we weren't able to stay. I felt as if something in my heart was completed that afternoon. It was like I just HAD to see it. I just NEEDED to set foot there. I don't know. I cant explain.
As we left I took one quick picture of one of the buildings. The one with the tall cross on it is the Deborah Hall Memorial Chapel. It was built in memory of Miss Debbie. Just seeing that and thinking about this godly woman who had dreams and visions from the Lord and followed His every prompt was an encouragement.
Next time I am in Dallas, a tour of the shelter is on the agenda. Until then, I will probably just continue talking about it, praying for them and encouraging others to read the book. It was truly a great start to an amazing weekend.