Over the summer, I had a series of events happen to me that led me to figure out that I have a heart for the homeless population. Since then, I have been serving faithfully with our homeless ministry twice a month when it meets. Every time I go, I am crazy blessed by one of our guest (what we call our homeless that visit us), heck all of our guests. Every time we meet, I wait to see Chrissy. After every sentence she says, "Oh babycakes" and then will sometimes randomly say, "Zippety do dah". Every time I see her, she has me laughing hysterically. The first time I met her, she grabbed my face and called me her angel and kissed my forehead. Yep, heart melted right there.
Or there's Francesca, who was pregnant and due a few weeks ago. Despite the fact my heart hurts for her being homeless and raising a baby on the streets, she's always happy, always smiling, despite her circumstances. Or there's Shorty. He's an elderly gentleman that everyone one the streets seems to have adopted as their grandfather. He's ever so grateful for a hot shower, a haircut, decent and hot food. He's the star of the show when he's at the church. He took my hand one day and said thank you and had the most sincere look on his face. And after he said that, he smiled a huge toothless grin. Which pretty much made my day. Or Terry, he's a diabetic. A few weeks ago, his sugar spiked too high, he was convulsing at the breakfast table. We had to call 911. The paramedics told him he needed to check his blood sugar on a regular basis. He is homeless, has no insurance. Someone donated a blood glucose machine, and when it was presented to him, he cried. He's a grown man and he cried like a little kid. He was overwhelmed with gratitude.
We deal with a lot of issues, people coming off of drugs, people on drugs, people with mouths like sailors, people who freak out if you touch them, people with mental issues, people who are so broken and lost, people who have no clue who Jesus is. But, it's not always about telling them about Jesus, sometimes its about just making them feel human, making them feel like they are important, not being afraid to hug them. To me, that right there is showing these people who Jesus is, showing them through the action of love. The staff in charge always remind us of the fact that these people we are serving could be any one of us. Which is true. And if I was in that position, I would hope someone would treat me like the human being I am. I love, love, love serving in this ministry. It's the best part of my day when it's time to serve. I am filled with joy by the time the day is over. I see God every single day in various things, but when I serve with the homeless, I see God more than I ever have.
This past weekend, I read an amazing book. And needless to say, it made it to my list of favorite books. It's called "Under the Overpass" by Mike Yankoski. I highly suggest you read this book. It's about two men, who decided to be homeless for five months in Denver, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Portland, Phoenix, and San Diego. Their story is an amazing story of faith. Parts of the book made my heart hurt so bad, that I cried, no sobbed hysterically because of how they were treated. These men were Christians and every city they went to, they always went to church. Some churches they encountered tended to them, tried to help them, tried to feed them, but not all. You would be surprised how WE, Christians, turned these two men away when they needed food, etc. We turned them away, the people who should be loving them the most, turned our backs on them. One of the churches was right here in Phoenix! That hurt my heart the most. I guess because I now volunteer with the homeless, that I would expect someone who claims to follow Jesus would help these two men.
This book made me want to do more with this life of mine. Go read it, do it now. Here is the website, http://www.undertheoverpass.com/ And next time you see a homeless person, don't act like they aren't there. Say hello, smile at them. Yes, they may ask you for money. However, do you have $5 to spare? Then go feed them. Get them some food. Is getting them food going out of your comfort zone? Then politely decline and be about your way. I did that for awhile, then one day....
God moved in this heart of mine. He forced me to step out of my comfort zone and I haven't been the same since.
"The bottom line is that real love always shows itself in action. Nothing happens or changes in this world unless, by faith, we actually do something." ~Mike Yankoski