This week Jodi Scholma, one of Mel Trotter’s family advocates who has been at the Mission for nearly 2.5 years, answered a few questions regarding her position at Mel Trotter Ministries and the work she does to feed the hungry, lift the fallen, restore the broken, and heal the hurting. Her work is significant and good and life changing for so many at the Mission. We are blessed to have her.
What are your responsibilities at Mel Trotter Ministries?
I am a Family Advocate, which means I provide childcare services to the young ones living at the Mission while their parents work in Mel Trotter’s 4×4 program, attend Bible studies, or search for work and/or housing. My work is supported by dozens of volunteers who help me with Bible lessons, activities, and trips to places like John Ball Zoo, the Children’s Museum, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, the Critter Barn, and the Public Museum. My responsibilities also include assisting parents in the process of enrolling their children in school and arranging for transportation.
What is the best part of your job?
I love watching children grow, both spiritually and emotionally. Kids thrive at Mel Trotter. They’re exposed to the Bible, some really great people, and a variety of community activities that they may not have had the opportunity to experience otherwise. I love taking kids to day camps and vacation Bible schools. I love watching them grow in their relationship with others and with Jesus.
What is the most difficult part of your job?
It’s difficult to work with parents who seem uninterested in their children. Many of the kids we see at Mel Trotter are starving for love and attention. It’s good to provide that love and attention while the children are with us.
What is your favorite Mel Trotter moment?
I was talking to a child about the story of Jesus dying on the cross. The child became very sad and said, “I miss Jesus.” And then, after a slight pause, he said, “I miss Michael Jackson too.”
In your opinion and/or position, what does it mean to love the homeless?
To love the homeless is to take time to sit and listen. I believe we are called to be active listeners. We must focus on the person in front of us. We must encourage with words of hope. We must show interest. We must show that we believe in them. We must get excited with them. We must be lovingly honest and Christ-focused.
How do you show love at Mel Trotter?
I show love to the children in my care by affirming them. I tell them how smart and beautiful they are. I tell them they are great artists. I tell them they are loved by God. I tell them they have talents. I tell them they are strong. I tell them they are athletic. I tell them they are good and kind.
How do you show love in your daily life?
I try to stay people-focused, even though I have a tendency to be introverted. I try to be intentional in my interactions, and I strive to put Christ first. I ask myself daily: how I can love this person right in front of me at this very moment?
What are other ways you’ve seen the homeless loved at Mel Trotter?
Staff members at Mel Trotter are incredibly gracious to our guests and give Christ-centered council and care. We see many of the same guests year after year and yet we always give them a second (or third or fourth) chance. Jesus provides new mercies for us every morning. We try to do the same at Mel Trotter. We are also very diligent in presenting our guests with the truth of God’s word.
Finally, what is your favorite Bible verse?
He who began a good work in me will carry it unto completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6)
Our deep thanks to Jodi for all she does for Mel Trotter Ministries and the people we serve. Her work is invaluable, and we are grateful to have her.