Very few times in my life have I ever felt truly scared. There are 2 moments in life that come to mind. The first moment was the first time I ever spent the night on the streets in Hollywood, CA with my homeless friend Joe. I was 22 years old and slept behind a restaurant on the cement. I had nothing more than the clothes on my back and I hadn’t really planned to stay with my friend but he was suicidal and it was the least I could do to be there for him. As I tried to sleep I was cold and had a fear of being robbed or woken up at any moment. It was one of the worst nights of sleep in my life and I actually had forgotten my wallet the night before. I woke up exhausted, hungry, and I truly could relate to those who face the daily struggle of homelessness. I often think back to that night when I see the faces of our guests at breakfast in the morning.
The other moment was when I worked as a firefighter in Neodesha, Kansas. The local Dairy Queen had gone up in flames on New Year’s Eve and it was 13 degrees outside. My partner Ross and I were first crew in to make entry after we had broken out the glass in the front entrance doors. As we entered I was the front man on the hose with my partner right behind me. It was pitch black and neither of us could see a thing as we worked our way toward the heat source. When we were just about to the fire we heard the firetruck sound the horn for us to evacuate. Although, you train time and time again for these moments when an evacuation is called it means the building is most likely fully engulfed; its time to drop your hose line and get out because there is the possibility of the building collapsing.
As we turned to evacuate my partner and I lost track of each other and there was a moment of panic because I was alone. I yelled as loud as I could, my partner grabbed my shoulder, we retraced the hose line and made our way back to where we had made point of entry.
I share these stories because when you’re facing the daily struggle of homelessness and living on the streets every day and night has an aspect of fear. When you’re a women they struggle with the fear of being raped of abused. The fear of being robbed of what little you have is always at the forefront of your mind. It’s stressful and I can’t imagine the toll it takes on one’s body and mental health to go through this battle each and every day.
A majority of the guests I talk with at breakfast will tell me their happy just to be alive. They wake up and thank the Lord for another day and are grateful that Jesus died on the cross for their sins. They know that one day they will have a permanent home in Heaven and that their time in this broken world full of sin is only temporary. They encourage me and remind me that most of my problems in life are not that big of a deal. I have a home, a loving family, and friends who have always been there for me. I am truly blessed.
Pray this week for the safety of those who sleep on the streets. Ask the Lord to protect and bless them. Ask the Lord to keep them healthy. Each and every one of us has been given the ability to make a difference in the lives of others by praying for them. Even when you feel there is nothing you can do for someone or change a situation, God can make it happen.
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:40
“These days there is a lot of poverty in the world, and that’s a scandal when we have so many riches and resources to give to everyone. We all have to think about how we can become a little poorer.” – Pope Francis
Morning Glory Needs
Bulk Coffee for Breakfast and Lunch
Tennis or walking shoes
Jeans, shorts, and belts
Boxers or briefs M, L, XL, XXL