What a wonderful time at CLA-LA's December clinic - our annual Christmas clinic! It was a joy to be part of. The food was delicious. We were once again treated to a lovely home-cooked Christmas meal prepared onsite by the Filipino Fellowship for the second year in a row, complete with pasta, salad, rice, chicken and egg rolls. Pastors Romy and Lilian dela Cruz of the Filipino Fellowship, for those who don't know, are the parents of our very own CLA-LA Executive Director Sarah McKendricks! I am told you will often find her pastor dad volunteering at CLA-LA's monthly clinics providing spiritual counsel to clinic clients; what a wonderful family legacy!
The dessert bar lovingly tended by CLA-LA volunteer Joe Teirab with such enthusiasm was also such a treat. The Jefferson Campus facilities offered by the Young Nak Celebration Church for the clinic site was also wonderful, decked with a Christmas tree and festive decorations. And the happy-looking decorated Christmas gift bags lined up waiting to be picked up by clinic clients added a festive and welcoming touch to the room. Dave Kleinknecht, Director of Hope for LA (a ministry of Pacific Crossroads Church), a familiar smiling face at CLA-LA's monthly clinic, was also present, bringing along his team of volunteers.
I also met another clinic client during the luncheon, an elderly woman who immigrated to the United States 35 years earlier to escape political tyranny in Argentina that placed her life at peril. She eventually ran out of funds and subsequently endured and survived domestic violence. After I expressed admiration for how she had survived so many challenges, she pointed upwards and proudly declared she was insured by "Jesus, Incorporated." What gracious and lovely smile and demeanor she had juxtaposed with her pain and strength of perseverance!
And of course, it was an honor to work with the other legal volunteers in hearing the clients' stories and seeking to serve their legal needs, as well as working alongside other volunteers in action giving of their heart and skills in providing pastoral, intake and outake, interpreter, IT, and other assistance.
Thanks so much to our CLA-LA staff Sarah McKendricks, Susan Vincent, and Sharon Cho (the three S's!) for laying the groundwork in enabling the clinic to happen! And thank you to all of God's holy people - the many churches and volunteers of various ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds who came together on a Saturday afternoon to be the Body of Christ in serving our clients. And of course, thank you to our clients who made the trek to the clinic and entrusted us with their stories; you are a blessing to us.
If you haven't come to a CLA-LA clinic in a while, come on out and join us in the new year. And may you be blessed manifold for following in the footsteps of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who Himself did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Mark 10:45) In the meantime, may you rest secured this Christmas season in the knowledge of how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ for you, for in doing so, we cannot help but love because he first loved us. (Ephesians 3:18; 1 John 4:19) Emmanuel; God with us!