Laundromat Evangelism

Posted by on Jun 10, 2009 in Blog Posts | 3 comments

“Let love of the brethren continue.”
-Hebrews 13:1 (NASB)

Yesterday was an interesting day for me. Our washing machine died. We are blessed to be able to have a new one delivered this afternoon. I am excited!

As it would happen, the machine died in mid-wash with the porcelain basket filled with water and clothes. Nothing that I did would convince the machine to continue and finish its race of gracing our dark clothes with pleasing aromas of stain removing detergent. Fortunately, Mr. O’Steen, my more frequent appliance repairman (note the double oven saga of December ’08), was able to drain the machine and help me determine a good burial place for the non-functioning contraption upon which I have relied heavily over its life with us. It was a good machine. It won’t be missed, though.

I am over it and looking forward to its snazzier replacement this afternoon. I may wash all my clothes just to give it a good breaking-in. Truly, this is almost as exciting as a new piece of jewelry. I don’t mind if it ends up as my anniversary present. Seriously. And, no, I did not choose a front loader. I got a top-loading agitator with push pads. I figured by the time I had recouped in energy and water costs what we had spent on the $1,110.99 models they would have broken down and been replaced twice already and thus, we wouldn’t have saved money after all. My repairman tried to swear me off those touch pads siting that moisture around computers just is not a wise move. I justify the decision because Lowe’s had a good deal on them and because it had the largest tub besides the front loader. I plan to hold a dedication service and anoint the machine with a bit of WD-40 for blessing it when the delivery men come. Not really. I do plan to do a quick mopping of the floor where the old one has sat for 8 years, unmopped. Yuck.

Anyway, after Mr. O’Steen left I proceeded to get the finally drained and spun load of darks out of the machine. I opened the lid and was horrified! My clean load was not clean at all. Somehow, some of the rubber and foam parts that were between the motor and the pump had disintegrated and found their way into my load of clothes where they had totally finished their disintegrating and left bits all over every item in that load. There would be no drying until they had been washed again.

I quickly told David, “bye,” and made my way, as if I were driving an ambulance on a call, to the nearest laundromat. There is not one near I soon learned but I remembered where a new one was located and hit the road with the yucky clothes, detergent, diet Coke with lime, and my chronological Bible in hand. I was a woman on a mission. “Come home with clean clothes! Leave none behind!”

I went into the sudsing hangout and found within its walls a world I have not frequented since college and frankly, it was not like this. However, there was the time in the mountains when I had to visit the antiquated laundromat there and took a picture on my cell phone (discreetly, mind you) of the other customer at that time with a caption beneath saying, “If I don’t come home in an hour, this man has kidnapped me. Please pick up the laundry out of machine number 3 and call the authorities.”

Yesterday’s experience was different. Most of the patrons were women and most had their small children with them. Every time one of the moms would exit the building to put her freshly folded basket of laundry in her trunk, her babies would stand at the window and cry. I put my chronological Bible down and figured there was more opportunity to share the Gospel by living it than by showing I could read it. So, I would squat down with the little ones and assure them, eye to eye, that mommy was coming right back and then I would try to distract them with the ball in their hand or the toy cell phones they were toting around. As soon as mommy came back in, they would skitter off after her and I would go back to my chair and pick up on my reading where I had stopped. I think I made it through 4 verses in all.

It took a long way around the land of story-telling for me to tell you that sometimes being available to minister to somebody takes a few seconds out of your laundry routine but can be a blessing to the one in need in that moment. Did the moms thank me for consoling their babies? No. Would I do it again even though thanksgiving was not lavished upon me? Yes, because my motivation was not to receive a thanks, nor was it to make the laundry environment peace-filled. My motivation was that my neighbor was in need. My neighbors were those bitty ones who feared their stability was about to leave them. I don’t like that feeling either. It was just the right thing to do.

My laundry quickly washed and all the gunk was gone. I returned home and dried the load.

After dinner, Rob and I went shopping for the new machine (and he let me get the matching dryer). On our way home I shared with him that the laundromat cost $1.25 to wash that load. Based on the average number of loads we wash and dry each year, I figured we came out even on buying the new machine as opposed to having to load the car and sit and wait at the laundromat.

However, from time to time I may just run over to the place with a load, for the sake of sharing the Gospel. It would be a great place to have Bible study….”Washing in the Word with Amy.” Can’t you see it?


  1. I fully believe that those “little” moments where we stop from our routines and chores to help someone, as Jesus would want us to do, are the greated sermons of our lives. In our hectic lives, we all need to take a break from our busyness and hear that small, still Voice. Lou Anne

  2. I love the blog. You are so cute. What a nice way to end my day. Thanks.

  3. Amy, I love you.

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