I have just returned from speaking engagements and meetings. Although these opportunities give me the chance to share about what God is doing through Church on the Street and to encourage the church to love the least of their neighbors, it also takes me away from my friends on the streets. Today I had a bit of time to check in with these friends before the rain was expected to hit. But to be honest, I was just going to “make an appearance” before Thanksgiving to let the folks know that I haven’t forgotten them after being gone for a while. After all, I had lots of other things to catch up on too not to mention getting ready for the big feast Thursday.
After visiting with a few of my friends I set out to find Don. I had a message for him from “Bankrobber,” one of the guys we had helped get into a program and out of homelessness. (I love it when the guys who find help and hope reach out to the ones who are still wandering.) As I was searching for him a man approached me that I had never met and asked if I was lost. I introduced myself and told him what I was doing. He asked a lot of questions about what I do. I didn’t think he was homeless, but after feeling me out he started telling me his story. His name is Derek, he’s only been homeless for a short time (hence why I have never met him), and is looking for a “detox.” He met with one referring agency that told him he needed to come back in the morning and they could help him. As anyone who has worked on the streets for anytime knows, sometimes you have to strike while the iron is hot. I asked if he was looking for a long term program or just detox. (This question will sometimes tell you how serious the person is.) He said, “long term” so I said, “come with me.” After asking a few of my other friends about him to check out his story, I took him straight to a long-term rehabilitation program. Please say a prayer for Derek tonight as he begins his new journey.
After helping Derek I ran into Connie or “Bowleg” as she is known on the streets. She got her nickname because she has significant deformities in her legs that make her walk bowlegged. I’ve known Bowleg for awhile and have been able to help her a few times in the past. To make a long story short, after we spent some time chatting we decided that we would try to get her into transitional housing. I’m not worried that Bowleg will follow through, she always does, but I am concerned that there will not be space available for her. Pray that we find her a place.
Finally, as I was getting ready to head home Jay stopped me. He wanted to know if I had any socks he could have. I gave him some socks but I could tell that there was something more than socks going on in his mind. I’ve known him a long time and I could tell he wanted to say something. But he wasn’t saying it so I just decided after a short conversation to head on home. As I was saying goodbye he shook my hand and held onto it. He looked me in the eye and said, “I love you.” Other than my family, I have never felt that someone was more sincere than him at that moment. Pray for Jay that he will truly know that he is loved too.
As usual, when I can think of little more than myself and my schedule God has a way a way of showing me that all of time is His and He’ll use it how He wills to make sure His people are loved. Pray for me that I will remember that I am God’s servant and not my schedule’s. This is what I am truly thankful for this week.