This is Deb (right) and Toni. I found them sitting together this morning in Washington Park. Later today, Deb is going to try to rent a storage unit so she has a place to change her clothes. She and her boyfriend (who she calls her “male friend”) recently lost their apartment on Independence Avenue. Toni is going to find a therapist to be treated for depression – she showed me the name and address of an office she had folded in her pocket. Both of these women were in church yesterday at Grand Avenue Temple and have hopes of sleeping in a bed in the women’s shelter there tonight. The demand is so high, though, there is no guarantee. I gave them food, water and, of course, a bible. We talked about their spirituality and God’s ability to turn people’s lives around. And then I left there and walked to work, wondering why society refuses to see these people as God sees them. Their circumstances or whatever brought them to their current place shouldn’t matter. They are souls walking the earth and therefore deserve our love. This can be a difficult way to be especially when sometimes the homeless berate you and shake their heads in bewilderment that you keep coming back with your bags of food and bibles. After they see you enough times, they begin to believe: somebody cares about me. God cares about me. And that gives them hope. (Thank you Robin Sloan and family for the food donation … and having loving hearts.)
Ask and the good Lord provides. A few days ago, I made a post asking for Bible donations. Today I have three cases of brand-new Bibles on my kitchen table. Thank you to Sara Peterson Cape who volunteers with Team Hally. If you aren’t familiar with Hally Yust’s story, she was a gifted little girl whose life came to an end far too soon when she contracted a rare amoeba from lake water. You can read more about her at www.teamhally.org.
Thank you, again, Sara for reaching out after all these years. I consider it an honor and a privilege to hand these out. With this much work ahead, though, I’m going to need some volunteers to tag along on deliveries. Anyone interested in coming out with me Saturday morning, October 10, can shoot me a private message.
My spiritual goals for the remainder of 2015:
Grow in my faith and lead my children deeper on their own walks with the Lord. “Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity and dignity.” (Titus 2:7)
Continue humbling myself in serving our city’s poorest and most destitute people, demonstrating God’s mercy and grace to them as it is displayed in me through the power of the Holy Spirit. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor … ” (2 Corinthians 8:9).
Spend time in the word and in prayer so that I can know God and more clearly distinguish His voice from the chaos of my own thoughts. “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17)
Seek God’s strength and wisdom so I can be a leader and a positive influence on the young people I meet in our church’s youth group. With the Lord working in me and through me, they might come to know Him better. “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the Church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.” (Acts 20:28)
The past few weeks I’ve been making posts about delivering food and other supplies to the homeless in downtown Kansas City. I have been documenting many of these visits and exchanges on my Facebook page as well as this blog.
This “calling” began with me hearing God direct me to help a man wrapped in a blanket on the side of a busy city street as rush hour traffic passed by obliviously one morning before work (actually, what I saw was a body wrapped from head to toe in a purple comforter and I wasn’t sure if it was male or female, alive or dead.) I was really intrigued at that time by the idea of angels living among us and maybe the homeless being a test of how Christ-like we really are.
On the drive into work this morning, I turned off the radio and asked God to speak to me. I’ve been praying to hear His voice more often because when I first heard Him a year ago, His words were crystal clear. He’s gone somewhat silent since then, and I’ve had trouble determining what thoughts are His and which are mine. I drove for a few miles – – maybe five or 10 minutes – – and didn’t hear anything, so I turned my radio back on and kept driving.
After a few minutes I started to feel this tightness around the middle of my body, and then I realized it felt like something pulling me through the interstate traffic toward downtown. God had a rope around me and was leading me down His path whether I wanted to go or not.
My son wanted to know more about the man we just fed.
We were a safe distance away from the downtown park where we found Bill sitting alone on a bench with all his worldly belongings by his side, in plastic bags.
My daughters were walking ahead of us and already part-way through the crosswalk when Charlie asked me, “What did that man say? His voice was so quiet, I couldn’t hear him.”
On my walk into work this morning, a woman stopped me near the corner of Grand and 20th Street to ask for money.
“Do you have a dollar for a homeless woman?” she asked.
“I have something better, I told her.
I was carrying a bag of food that my daughter Annie prepared last night for the homeless people who set up camp in the park by my office. I started taking out sandwiches, bags of pretzels and bottled water and handing them to her. I asked her name and she told me it was Carrie P. I noticed right away that she was wearing a cross around her neck.
“The teaching of Jesus Christ comes with astonishing discomfort to begin with, because it is out of all proportion to our natural way of looking at things, but Jesus puts in a new sense of proportion, and slowly we form our way of walking and our conversation on the line of His precepts. Remember that our Lord’s teaching applies only to those who are His disciples.”
Oswald Chambers, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount