What does it look like to meet despair with joy? For Sadie, it looks like an ice cream minivan. As a missionary for A Simple House, she goes out and connects with people who are poor or homeless. She offers friendship — and on hot summer days, ice cream too.
“The difference about Simple House is we try to go to the poor in their homes, and then, based on a relationship with them, ask them what they need. Then we have the freedom to be able to serve them as creatively as we want.”
Ice Cream Minivan: A Grotto Short Film
Margo: Sadie, I think you should slow down. My ice cream cones are coming off.
Sadie Facile: Oh no.
Margo: Wait, I was kidding.
Sadie: Oh no. Wait, are they?
Margo: I’m not actually kidding, but I am kidding about something.
Sadie: Oh, one sec. It’s Mandy.
Margo: Oh, go ahead.
Sadie: Hey, Mandy. We’re like five minutes from your house. Wait, Mandy. Can you come downstairs and see the van though? Okay. Let’s meet downstairs. All right. See you soon. Bye.
(Minivan pulls into parking lot, woman walks out of building)
Sadie: What’s up? We made an ice cream truck.
Mandy: Well, we got to go around. We can’t park —
Sadie: Yeah, yeah. I wanted you to see the van first though.
Mandy: Oh my gosh.
Sadie: Do a lap around the van. You have to see the back.
(Shots of Sadie, Margo, and Clare prepping decorations for the minivan)
The way that typical charity works is that people come to you with a problem, and then you try to solve their problem. The difference about Simple House is we try to go to the poor in their homes, and then, based on a relationship with them, ask them what they need. Then we have the freedom to be able to serve them as creatively as we want. And we want to view the poor as people and just not as problems to fix.
You can do peace. I’ll do love. And Margo can do sprinkles.
Back in DC, we did something called the ice cream truck, where we brought ice cream around to different families on really hot days and just would sit outside or in their house if it was too hot and just eat ice cream with them. And so we decided today to do an ice cream truck, and go visit a few families that we know.
(Back of minivan reads: Honk once for vanilla. Honk twice for chocolate.)
(Sadie, responding to honks from cars) Chocolate! Vanilla!
(Speaking to Mandy) So what can we get you from the ice cream truck?
Sadie: Chocolate? All right. I’ll see what kind of chocolate stuff we’ve got.
Margo: Here is our menu today.
Sadie: It’s become very clear to me that one of the deepest sufferings of the poor is just despair and loneliness. And a lot of that suffering is alleviated through friendship and through God and prayer.
(Speaking to Mandy) How do I look?
Sadie: Okay. Ouch.
We have the opportunity to draw them into something deeper, and in a way, it’s such a privilege too, because it’s not just us serving them. They also serve me in a lot of ways and draw me out of myself.
Bye, Mandy. It was good to see you.
Mandy: Yeah. You too.
Sadie: Yeah. I’ll see you around. I don’t know how free I’ll be because of the new gig.
So I decided this past year was my last year at Simple House. It was kind of a hard decision, but it was also time. I feel like I’ve grown a lot here, and I’ve grown as much as I could here, and I wasn’t going to grow anymore except for moving on. And I’m very excited for my next steps, even though it feels kind of scary. Yeah. This is all I’ve done since college so I don’t really know any other type of job out there.
(Setting up decorations in the minivan)
Margo: I can also move the letters too. Yeah. So if you want to do that…
Sadie: All throughout college, I knew that I wanted to do service after, and I assumed that I was just going to go to med school probably at some point or go into healthcare after. But service was always really important to me.
(Ice cream truck music plays)
In the summer before senior year, I spent with the missionaries of charity in Kolkata, and I really fell in love with the poor because I think I just saw Christ in the poor. And I felt so free to just be poor and to just be with people and to love Christ. And I’ve never felt so free.
(Ice cream minivan drives up to another building)
Sadie: The faith of the poor is really profound. Some people we know just talk to us about how they wake up each day and are just so grateful to be alive and to have woken up. And I think about the ways that I wake up, and I just wake up and smash my alarm and I’m like, “Err. I don’t want to be awake right now.” And I definitely don’t immediately thank God for waking up that morning.
Bye, Patty. It was good to see you.
Patty: Good to see you.
Sadie: Next time, we need to do another bake off at some point.
Sadie: I think I can get really caught up in myself throughout each day. I can look at a day and think about all the things that I want to do and all the ways I want it to serve myself or what I want to accomplish that day. And Simple House has made me think about all the ways that I don’t invite God into the day and let him work throughout the day.
Arlene (putting on lei from the ice cream minivan): Okay. I’ll take this. This is great.
Missionary: Nice. That’s great. You could do your dance a bit now.
Sadie: I think when I first realized that it was time to move on, I felt very frustrated, maybe I wasn’t good enough to keep going. But the reality is that vocation is such a gift. And I was given this time at Simple House, and now I’m being given something else. And I wasn’t being really grateful for what God was willing for my life per se. I was kind of fighting it. So I feel like in accepting my time being done, a lot of cool things have fallen into place.
Arlene (leading prayer): Father God, I just ask you right now, bless Sadie right now in her new position she got being a coach. Let her be the coach that you want her to be, Father God. Let her stuff go and put God in you and to do what you want her to do and coaching to make sure that the girls spend the right time to train. Father God, we thank you for the honor, thank you for this position that she’s really going to enjoy. She’s going to put her heart into it, Father God. It’s going to be a blessing towards you.
Sadie: I’ll be coaching gymnastics full time and working with a competitive gymnastics team in Kansas City. So I’m grateful to stay in the area. It’s a really big gift to be able to continue to have these relationships with people.
(Speaking to Arlene) I’ll let you know the next time I can swing by.
A film by Tara Kelly
Produced and edited by Tara Kelly and Josh Long
Associate producers: Jane O’Connor, Kevin DeCloedt, Liz Colleran
Graphics by Becky Rogers