Soup, soap and salvation
by Vicky Esqueda, Captain –
With so many people in need and the cost of living sky rocketing, many low income and homeless families find it difficult to save the money they need to wash clothes. For them, saving money to feed their children and supply them with the bare necessities of life is a bigger need.
I received the idea for a “laundromat ministry” of reaching people who are homeless or one paycheck away from living in the streets. “Soap, Soup, Salvation” was the theme our Women’s Ministry ladies chose as an outreach in the community surrounding our corps at The Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center.
For two weeks, we took a special offering for this outreach. Offering baskets consisted of a laundry bucket, a soap bucket and a very large soup cup. As the worship team played “Onward Christian Soldiers” people marched up front to drop their quarters and bills into the buckets and soup cup.
On we went to the local laundromat, where we had already obtained permission to set up a booth for our Soap, Soup, Salvation outreach. Several Home League members had bagged cups of soap tied with a Salvation Army calendar card with encouragement scriptures on the back. At the booth, we had a large soup cup filled with quarters and the aroma of homemade soup—wafting from two large pots—was very enticing to curious onlookers.
As people entered the laundromat and asked questions, we offered them a cup of soup and the book of John with the plan of salvation. This simple act of kindness opened the doors to share with them the Gospel and the salvation of Jesus Christ. The first two women we spoke to and read Scripture to accepted Jesus Christ before ever entering the laundromat. People were amazed that The Salvation Army would pay for their wash and give them soap for each wash load and serve them a cup or two of delicious, hot homemade soup.
We were all so encouraged that the Holy Spirit was moving and touching the lives of people we had come to serve. Within 45 minutes a total of seven people accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
Just before we left, the last two people entering the laundromat had asked what we were doing and we gave them soap, soup and the plan of salvation in which they received Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.