A few minutes later Bill came back and said," Whatever was there is gone" He was able to stay and help us finish the job. This was another lesson to learn. Pray and pray and pray. Our Father would meet all our needs!
When we finished remodeling, we went shopping. This had been my dream for so long. I knew exactly how I wanted it to look. It was small, only 1200 square feet, and most of it offices. There was only enough room to seat 21 people comfortably. We bought tables and chairs and flowers for all the tables. We set up our sound system, placed a large TV for a monitor to display the words on the screen so we could continue to worship with the homeless. Just the thought of not having to carry all this equipment to the beach was exciting. We finally had a home! We were no longer homeless ourselves!
Next came the remodeling of our little kitchen. There was a sink and a few cabinets, but not enough to store everything we needed. We needed storage for our supplies. We began pricing cabinets. Paula knew a builder which would provide them at cost, but God cut down the cost even more. Jim Weisburg, a building contractor, from our church was able to provide us with one whole wall of counter space and cabinets from a job he had just finished remodeling. It fit perfectly. We were on our way! We needed to raise 800 dollars for the rest of the cabinets, again our church members came through and we were able to complete our kitchen.
Once we had a building we thought that we could continue doing our ministry in the same way, except it would be easier, however, this was not the case. Now that we had a building we no longer fell under the umbrella of our church, but now fell under the jurisdiction of the Community Health Department. We had to have a certified kitchen to prepare the food in. Our church board again turned us down.
Ana again was such strength during that time for us to rely on, she just stated as a matter of fact, “The Lord will provide” And then came the long hard process of finding other alternatives to providing food. Preparing in our homes was no longer an option. We had a building but no food. We again took it to the Lord in prayer. The Board of Health suggested getting restaurants to help us. Our church member were relentless they went to many area restaurants and one by one we were able to sign on restaurant after restaurant. Our first restaurant to come on board was Demetrio's, then Captain & the Cowboy. Jim's wife Betty, was friends with the owners and was able to get them to commit to the third Friday of the month. (They have been with us for 6 years). Harpoon Harry's, and the Italian- American Club with Chef Bob, made up our first Friday's restaurants and Certified Food services. We opened in June of 2000, one day a week, on Fridays. It was a start, but far from the goal we had set of being open seven days a week.
One by one the Lord provided help to impress churches to catch our vision and to commit to doing at least one day a month. The first church to join us was St. James Episcopal Church. Pastor Denise Vaughn met with us and she was so excited about the possibilities. Their church caught a glimpse of our vision and committed to taking every Tuesday for us. Within a month, by July we were open two days a week.
By the end of July our church members and other had solicited enough restaurants to have four more restaurants on board and we were able to open on Wednesdays with our own church members facilitating. Our Wednesday restaurants were Applebee's, Luigi's, MacDonald's, and Elana South.
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