Every time we do an outreach, we grow in friendship with those we meet and get to serve. Here are just a few stories of the beautiful friends we have been able to meet along the way. Not all of these people are homeless but they all are friends of this Movement and at one point or another, were in need of something.
Meet Linda. Linda approached me with a very big smile. Regardless of her circumstances, which I was unaware of, she seemed so grateful to be receiving food. As she pilled up food into a box, I saw her struggling and asked if I could help her. We ended up walking to the parking lot to put the food in her car and I asked if she needed prayers. She said yes, for strength. "I have a grandson who is involved in a lot of gang activity and every time I hear an ambulance or police siren I get worried." We prayed for her grandsons freedom from that dark life and for her the ability to love him and be there for him at any given time. I was blessed and ran into her one more time. She waved at me and came up and gave me a huge hug. How cool it was meeting someone who despite her circumstances, still held onto happiness, love and life. Jesus said simply, "Are you tired? Worn out? Burnt out? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll receive your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Aaron and Shaggy
Meet Aaron and Shaggy. ”Never judge a book by its cover." One morning as I was walking through Savannah, Georgia, I met Shaggy and Aaron. I went to approach them but before a word left my mouth, Aaron said, "Could you help me out?" I said sure. With what? "I need some food." Wow. It was so cool! I felt God calling me to walk through the park that morning with four sandwiches and both he and Shaggy were starving. We spoke for a little and then he left. Even though Aaron may have been homeless and his shirt had some obscene gesture on it, he was super nice and really friendly. We concluded the conversation with a smile. Seemed like the sandwiches brightened his day and I know he definitely brightened mine. Sometimes we turn away from those who are different from us. But I look at how Jesus sought me in my worst. "Even yet while I was still a sinner, He died for me." I pray that we can all take this approach, to seek out the needy, lost and different. To share the love and life and freedoms found in Jesus Christ. Please keep Aaron and Shaggy in your prayers, for freedom from drug addictions and alcohol, but mainly for them to know and have a relationship with their Savior Jesus Christ!
Meet Thomas. Thomas was the first person I met in Washington D.C. As I was walking through the crowded streets, I saw him sitting on the steps of a Baptist Church. I got to talking a little bit with him and asked why he was out on the streets. Thomas didn't say a whole lot but when I mentioned I had food he seemed pretty happy. After two hours of me, Thomas and another homeless man talking, eight sandwiches and ten granola bars were gone. All he could mutter was, "Soda." After all of this food he needed a drink. Specifically a cola, preferably a Coke. With a very quiet and soft voice, I did not hear much from Thomas about how or why he was in the current situation of living on the streets. He mentioned how their was a lot of violence and danger in the shelters and the Church he was sitting at served breakfast every morning. It broke my heart that the people who seemed to have nothing, even were faced with the violence of this world. We got to pray before I took off but I ask that you would continue to pray for Thomas; for freedom from whatever may be holding him down or back. The Lord is all powerful and through the name of Jesus Christ, Thomas can and will be set free!
Tonya and Elijah
Meet Tonya and Elijah. I met one freezing cold morning. They were both walking around covering themselves with blankets to stay warm. I had been looking for hungry people to give food to. When we got to talking, they told me how they were heading to the public library to stay warm. There was next to nobody waking around because it was so cold. I had the privilege to talk and pray with them; for protection and doors to open to lead them out of homelessness (which happened)! At the time I only had one sandwich and Elijah made sure Tonya had it; he cared more about her being fed them himself. Such a beautiful thing. Right before they left, I was able to get them a bunch of warm clothes to free them from having to use blankets for the rest of the winter. They are both beautiful people and are such a great example of how to have love and compassion for one another. We were able to keep in touch via Facebook and they are currently living in Miami with a son. Tonya works in a hospital but I am not sure if her and Elijah are still together. Please be praying for Elijah and Tonya and for their new son!
Meet Ms. Gloria. Ms. Gloria has been one of the most influential people I have ever met. When I saw her she reminded me of my grandma. She was small in stature and had this huge smile and I don't care what you might be going through, that smile would immediately brighten your day. As I asked her if I could help her out with her groceries, we began to talk about her life. When I asked if I could pray for her, Ms. Gloria's heart began to pour out. She had a lot of pain issues with her back. On top of that, she took in her grandson DeVaughn who was dealing with some darkness himself. At 13 years old, was kicked out of middle school. And her heart broke for him and the love that he said he has never felt; in her home or anywhere else. Once we began praying, she started crying and it really showed me that not everyone is as they seem on the outside. But if we care enough to be a friend and hear their story, we can, through Jesus', help them feel just as beautiful on the inside as they look on the outside. Please keep Ms. Gloria in your prayers as she continues to shine into the lives of those around here!