Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Homeless and Me, Part III

I've completed my first week. I have already learned a lot, and I've been faced with some challenges. Here are a few highlights of the week:

1) I did give the devotion on Thursday morning; however, I had been up all night, I had drank a pot of coffee, and I had an empty stomach. Needless to say, I was quite jittery and nervous. I've been that way when speaking before, but combine that with a little apprehension over the fact that I was speaking to people who so far I have very little understanding of their life situation, and I really felt like a rookie. I hope that someone could take something away from it. I think that next time I will speak from 1 Peter where it says:
Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God. (1Pe 1:22-23)
I will again speak about the love that believers have toward one another on the basis that they have been born again by imperishable seed. Thus, there is an even stronger tie that binds believers than that of blood, or other human distinctions.

2) Friday morning we were told that a woman had locked herself out of her room and she wasn't "dressed." There was only myself and the other monitor who could respond to this lockout for the next half hour and both of us are males, so we went together. Fortunately when we arrived she was in a housecoat. I'm thankful that our first report was an exaggeration.

3) Someone came to the door at about 11 p.m. on Thursday night wanting in for a place to stay. The intake for overnight stays can only be done by the caseworkers and we really had no way to let him come in. But my manager talked with him one on one and felt that it would be best if he walked him over to the men's facility. The man wasn't given a bed, but he was given a chair to sit in and a place that he was safe. Out on the street he was a victim of being "jumped on" (in his words). Just for the night we gave him a place to stay safe and warm (it was getting down to the high 30's).

4) When doing my rounds, every night there was one person sleeping in a sleeping bag right next to the fence on the mission property, on the sidewalk. It looked like the same sleeping bag every night.

5) I'm told by one of my coworkers that every resident that he knows personally has had some kind of relapse while he's been working there.

6) I'm reminded of how gracious God has been that I'm not living in a place like that.

7) I'm moved by the faces of the children--no older than my own--living there with their mothers. I don't know what situations the women who are living there come from, but I would guess that those with children have suffered from some kind of abandonment by men. This angers me. There are anonymous men who if they would just take responsibility for their children could rescue families from destitute circumstances.

These are just a few highlights of my first week. Some of the experiences, some of the feelings I've had, and some of the realities that I will see more of as I continue the work there.

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