Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Why are you doing this?

One of the most common questions asked of us by those that we aid in the streets is "Why are you doing this"?

Our Monday night street outreach began at 9:30 and a group of dedicated men and women spread out in the city of Springfield. Even in a warm jacket, gloves and hat the 27 degree tempature goes right through to your core.
By 10:30 PM all of the usual spots we checked were clear. And then we got a call that one of our groups found a man that goes by the name LA. We transported him and his shopping cart of treasures to the Worthington St shelter. LA was not sure that he would stay the night but he was excited about the idea of a warm shower. While praying for him at his request, he grabbed ahold of me and gave me a bear hug of thanks. He cried, why are you doing this?

Not long afterwards, we took a young man to stay warm in a hotel for the night. Louis was grateful for the hotel room but could not understand why we were being so generous.

By now it was midnight and another group called to say that they found a man at a well know sleeping spot by the river. When I met Louis he was shivering cold and afraid of the Police and the shelter. He was recently out of prison and glad that we had found him. When I asked if we could pray with him he replied by going to his knees and crying. We were able to get him to the overflow shelter where he stayed the night. I remember him asking "why are you doing this" as we drove away from his hiding spot.

Matthew 25:34

Friday, December 4, 2009

Time in a Shelter

Since we have opened the doors to the men's homeless shelter this season, many have come to seek rest, cover and peace. I am grateful that we are able to serve, but it never seems to be enough. It's just a cot, blanket and a pillow in a warm basement. We do offer plenty of coffee, snacks, reading materials and movies but still this is rest and refreshment only for the body.
It is our Staff and Volunteers that offer the greatest thing that is given to our guests. They offer a strong shoulder and willing ears to give something that is seldom given with compassion; time. They listen with love and offer our guests hope by treating them like good friends. Our guests are invisible to the world. We drive by and walk by them everyday in our big city or small town. If they hold out their hand we may slow down long enough to offer them some change......but time, time is the most valuable gift we can give.
Thank you to our wonderful Staff and Volunteers for giving the gift of time. Thank you to our guests for trusting us and sharing the night. You are all very important to me. God bless you.

"You have been a shelter for me. A strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in Your tabernacle forever. I will trust in the shelter of Your wings." Psalm 61:3