Monday, January 17, 2011

Putting a Face on Homelessness

Two different friends recently posted stories about encounters they had with the homeless.  One was Rachelle, who was just driving down the street.  The other was Rick, who is the director of Seattle's Operation Nightwatch, a ministry to those who are homeless.  It is easy to feel conflicted when we run head-on into the issue of homelessness, but Rachelle and Rick both allowed God to minister to them through their encounters.  They've given me permission to share them here with you.

Rachelle's story
I saw Jesus yesterday. He was walking along Aurora Ave. in Seattle and holding a sign asking for change. I couldn't tell what ethnicity he was... he looked slightly African American, but when he came up to my car, I noticed he had blue eyes. I gave him a little something, hoping he would buy food and not drugs or alcohol. He was so skinny. When I handed him what little I had, he smiled with such a warm and grateful look on his face. I knew it was Jesus I saw in him. He said, "God bless you," and I returned the blessing. Somehow, I think this story is connected to my career calling. I don't know how, but when I think of it, I know that I want to be part of God's Kingdom work. 

David's Got Me Covered -- Rick's story
David could barely keep his eyes open. "Maybe just a little. . . tipsy." So he said. Maybe.
We talked for awhile, about nothing in particular. He likes his place in the shelter, after so many years sleeping outside.
"Are you okay?" he suddenly asked me.
"What do you mean?"
"You got a place tonight?"
"Oh yeah. I'm good." I think about my warm bed, surrounded by various comforts.
"Because, if you needed a place, I'd find you a room or something," David assured me. "We have to take care of each other. We're all family here." He waved his arm around the TV room.
I've been talking to homeless people steadily for twenty eight years now. As far as I can remember, this is the first time I was offered accomodations for the night. It was the sweetest moment ever.

No comments: