Jesus at the Wooden Shoe

I asked Mike Verkaik to share about an Oceans Ministries work going on right in Holland Michigan. Be blessed as you read how our Good Father is at work. 

How did he get here? This was the question I contemplated after talking and praying with Sam* in his hotel room while volunteering for Jesus on Colfax last September. Sam was living there with his wife and 2 children, while looking for work. They were the first family I served that night, and the memory of our conversation, prayer, and his children playing happily in their small room lingered long after I left.

As I returned home to Michigan my mind continued to dwell on the experiences I had serving on Colfax. I reflected on the people I met, the stories they told me, and the prayers we had shared together. All of this was racing around my head as reentered my life in Holland, MI; a city I saw as completely different than Urban Denver where I had just visited. The following Sunday I was sharing my experience in Denver with a friend and no sooner had I finished when he said: “Mike, we have the same thing here.”

After he shared the location, the wheels in my mind really started to turn. What would it look like if Oceans Ministries could replicate what was happening on Colfax here in Holland?

Inspired by my friend’s conversation and heart for the residents living there, I was led to do prayer walks around two hotels located on US 31 in Holland. One of my initial prayers on that day in October was that God would present an opportunity for us to serve a Christmas dinner for the residents of one of the hotels.

For two months I continued to walk circles around these hotels, asking God to open doors both physically and spiritually for a ministry to begin. On December 22, 2017 God opened those doors, and three couples spent the following evening sharing a Christmas dinner and praying with residents of the Wooden Shoe Motel.

And that wasn’t our last time sharing dinner with those who call the Wooden Shoe home.

Presently, we serve a meal every Tuesday night to the residents living there and each week we see Jesus in the conversations, laughter and prayers we share with the residents. It is this offer of prayer that opens their hearts, as well as their needs, concerns and wounds.

Last week we brought meals to 3 families over at the Economy Hotel next door. After a conversation with the manager we were granted permission to do ministry there as well.

What does this mean? Well, it could mean distributing food, praying and developing ongoing relationships with 50 more rooms. Our team is currently praying about what this would look like as well as how we could do effective ministry there.

If you live in the West Michigan area and would like to get involved, contact me at . We would love to work alongside you. You will be blessed, as you are a blessing.


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