[LOGO]
 
 

Welcome to my page devoted to the homeless community. You are to be commended for being here because this is the least visited area of my site. Just by getting this far shows me that you have some compassion for others.

What I am working on now is organizing non profit with Latter Rain Industries. Set up as a public benefit corporation, homeless and the community will work together, designed as a benefit to each other. There are plenty in the homeless community that will work for room and board. Homes are needed and everything that goes along with it.

We have a brand new Yahoo forum called the Homeless Action Board (HAB) if you would like to sign up for it. You can find us at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HomelessActionBoard/. Come join us if you are involved with helping with the homeless and would like to share or if you would like to be involved.

If you have the time, you can find the places in town where they go for food and shelter and help out. I have a burden for the homeless and the poor in general but especially for the homeless because once you have no home, it is almost impossible to find a job. Those that review applicants will not take you seriously if you do not have an address or phone number. If you are homed, you may have a phone and an address, something a homeless person does not have and you could share that and try to help someone get a job.

There are many homeless people that cannot be helped because they are lazy, but there are many who just need some encouragement and need to know that there are those who care, you could just be the person to do something real great in someone's life. Go and make friends, give a homeless man or woman a haircut, a nice shirt, encourage him to get clean, teach him a holiness doctrine, find out his reason for being homeless and encourage him to change things or if it is not his fault, encourage him to go on in spite of his circumstances. Is he an alcoholic or drug addict? let him know that grace is not an excuse for licentiousness, get him clean and sober. Above all, accept him as a brother or sister and love him like you ought to and when you look him in the eyes, you will see Jesus.

Think about it. If you would want to help, where do you think that you might do the most good? For sure, you should pray for the homeless and you should pray before you do anything for them. Do not step out without God's will in your life. Seek virtue, holiness and faith.

I worked in the homeless community a few years ago and put together some bylaws. What is put together in Sacramento so far is the basic bylaws, not the one proposed here.

I have found that people who work with the homeless and the poor in general are the nicest people. I will say "they" rather than "we" to avoid sounding presumptuous but they are not interested in doctrine or splitting the hairs on Jesus' head or involved with the problems of the church, they are interested in helping and sharing love by being a blessing. When that happens we can all agree on things. Think of how many people go to church to get blessed or to be taken higher or to exercise their spiritual gifts or to seek validation for their spirituality. Can I say we now? We need not be interested in that, we are wanting to reach out to others, not for ourselves.

Jesus told us that it will not be the righteous or the ones that have cast out demons or done mighty works for Him but: Matthew 25:35 "For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.... 40 Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." Think about it, when we look into the eyes of a poor person, Jesus is looking back at us.

The vision that I have for this is in a word restoration. Restoration of homes and the restoration of people's lives as a primary process with a preferential option for the poorest of poor. There are many, many owners of fixer-up houses and inner city buildings that could benefit from a self-help program that would gladly allow tenants in for a suitable time if they could trust the source. The housing market may have peaked in certain areas but there is still money in rehab. Restoring homes channeled intrinsicly to the very housing that is used for, the purpose of taking people out of shelters, would stimulate interest from both sides of the process. Also, and more beneficial, is buying houses once funds are raised, restoring and selling them for a profit and plowing back the equity for more housing.

I learned years ago that what is needed is a person that knows how to write good grant applications. It is a specialized field and the better it is written, the more chances are that it can be accepted. President Bush has said that he is providing funds for faith-based organizations, I don't know how much Stockton gets but nothing has changed much. Our California Governor should be providing funds for the homeless, we need some. Things like that need to home people before it gets squandered.

Just as important as meeting their physical needs, this is a deliverance ministry. Once the problems are taken away that put them into these problem situations, a hopeful lasting effect will be achieved. Follow up and counseling is part of the program.

Although it would seem naively optimistic to think that we can help everyone, many will respond to the idea of self-help and this is where we will be the most successful. Homeless people as a rule are alienated and distrustful of institutions and authority, as one person mentioned, it was a "downward spiral of oppression that they were powerless to fight." A program staffed by the very ones that are seeking help is just what many of them are looking for and would gladly work for it.

This is also a job-training program. On the job training is integral to getting them out of the program and into a job of their own with the means necessary to get their own place. There are possibly only a few contractors in the business community that would be willing to give of their time and expertise to help in a housing project and training program. There would be many more wanting to help once they knew that they could avail themselves of a labor force giving their own time to help these contractors with their own projects.

Many companies would donate material to causes like this, door to door and phone solicitations need to be organized. Furnishings, food, clothing, vehicles and anything of value that could be used directly for the program or for resale would be asked for as private contributions.

Here are some good quotes I found:

To protest abuse by staff,
shelter guests march to the nearest dogpound and say:
"Take us in. We'll be treated better here."

Homeless people call a press conference
to put service providers on notice:
"Hire homeless people at management level
or we'll all vote Republican".

Just before a tournament, encamp at a PGA golf course.
Unfurl a banner that says:
"We're homeless. We're here. So deal."

Unfurl a banner at the White House that says:
"US out of North America".
(Tom Boland)

IF NOT NOW

If not now, when?
If not today then
Why make your promises?
A love declared for days to come
Is as good as none.

You can wait 'til morning comes
You can wait for the new day
You can wait and lose this heart
You can wait and soon be sorry.

Now love's the only thing that's free
We must take it where it's found
Pretty soon it may be costly.

If not now what then?
We all must live our lives
Always feeling
Always thinking
The moment has arrived.

If not now, then when?

Tracy Chapman 1986

From Maxine:

Here's something I witnessed God doing with a homeless person this past year. Sharlene and I met in a women's shelter where I ended up as a result of domestic abuse compounded by legalism in the church. I was told to leave my church, then subsequently my husband forced me out of our home. Jesus knew just what He was doing when He led me there. I met Sharlene a recovering alcoholic and drug addict, who was in the women's shelter for the thirteenth time. Severely abused by her spouse, she lost custody of her two-year-old son and spent much of the time on the streets. She began attending AA and NA meetings and got serious about step 3 (surrendering her life completely to God). That's where God called us to walk together through our recoveries.

I lived in a community about 20 miles from Sharlene with my two children so I couldn't always be there for her. She came to Christ and we decided to find a church to attend so she could get spiritual support as well as material help. We chose a Spirit-filled church which was geared for street ministry. She was living in poverty with only enough money for either food or shelter, but not both. We expected the church would help out with the food. We were wrong. She was asked for her address by several people who expressed pity, but nobody showed up to help. When it was brought to the attention of the pastor, he said he couldn't help her. Many times she was just looking for anything, a can of soup, but was turned away. She was very hurt and decided she couldn't go back to that church. We appealed to churches of every denomination for food for a new sister in Christ, and each time the response was the same - "that's what the food bank is for". The food bank in this small town only allowed her to have food once every two months, and the churches knew this, but they were just concerned with protecting themselves. "It's not in our budget" was the common response.

Sharlene was so hurt by the churches that she stopped going. She felt God had let her down. Although He had visited her in a powerful way after she gave her life to him, she began to lose hope and eventually moved in with a man just to survive. The relationship became abusive and when he threatened to kill her she ran for her life and sought help from the police. Then she was told that her boyfriend was not only an ex-con with a record of assault, he was infected with Hepatitis C and the AIDS virus. She was urged to go for bloods tests and sure enough, in two separate tests, she tested positive for both. Her whole world came crashing down around her - she had no home, no church, no food and now a death sentence on her life. She was extremely angry and thought about killing the boyfriend because she might as well die in jail - at least she'd have a roof over her head.

God led us to attend a Spirit-filled church in another town at a key time, when the message was about forgiving others and God forgiving us and healing us in response. During an emotional time she forgave her ex-boyfriend from the heart and forgave the churches as well who contributed to this problem. Together we claimed her healing, as she fell on her knees before God for three days, forgiving everyone and asking forgiveness for herself and healing. She said she felt something lifted from her but she wasn't sure what. Within a week she went back for more blood tests, again two separate tests, and the hospital staff was apologizing all over the place, saying they must have mixed up her blood tests, because now both were negative! Talk about rejoicing!!!! God reached down and healed this woman from two incurable diseases in His great compassion for her, in spite of the church's treatment. But it doesn't end there.

On her last birthday she had a place to live but no food. I was in a similar situation and powerless to go and help her. We prayed together over the phone for God to bless her on her birthday. Later she called me and told me this story: She felt led to go to the local Catholic church were there was a lot of renovation going on outside the building. She walked into the church, up to the altar, where the Lord instructed her to light two candles. Then she got on her hands and knees at the altar, sobbing and crying out to God for help. The priest came alongside her and was really moved, and knelt and joined with her in prayer. Then he consoled her as she sobbed that she was so hungry, and she needed food. He was so sorry as he said to her he just couldn't help her - it wasn't in their budget and they had some serious financial challenges. He was also busy preparing to go to a spiritual gathering in another town so he wouldn't be able to help her later either. Sharlene said she understood and thanked him as she left and went home.

We were both having a strong sense of a spiritual battle in the heavenly realms over this church and continued to pray that God would move in a powerful way and destroy the evil one's plans. Sharlene went to bed that night with an empty stomach. But the next day there was a knock at her door and a woman from the Catholic church presented her with fifty dollars to get some groceries. She said she was in awe at what the priest told her Sharlene had done, and that he felt so guilty for turning Sharlene away he relented and saw to it that Sharlene was given fifty dollars from the church's petty cash-box.

God has shown both of us that His view of such churches who think they get to choose whether or not to help the homeless and the poverty-stricken, is the same view He has of the Pharisee who stood beside the tax collector and thanked God that he was not like the tax collector (Luke 18:9-14). God showed us that indeed, such churches are not like the broken and homeless in our society who look to God in their broken-ness for mercy. They are much worse off in their self-righteous blindness, as they have yet to be broken. Finally, God has shown us that our place in Him is forgive and show mercy to the churches that have yet to be enlightened in this area. The enemy's most diabolical scheme is to try and trick us into thinking we are different because we are outside the organized churches and therefore have a right to feel spiritually proud in any way. God taught me that the only thing worse than a church that has yet to be enlightened, is a church that has been ushered into the light only to deliberately go back into the darkness to flaunt it! So I say Praise God, all you organized churches, and Praise God, you in the free church in the streets, and let all of heaven and earth shout for joy at such lavish mercy, love and grace provided for all of us. And may we be brought to complete unity to let the world know that You sent Jesus and love us even as You have loved Him. Come Lord Jesus! Amen M.P.H.

From Sunny:

Years back, we used to fellowship after church. at McDonalds. My self and another brother in the Lord would follow the Holy Spirit and minister to whomever He would bring. It was a wonderful time for me! I always looked forward to serving the Lord, ministering His Love, sharing His word. So many wonderful memories of how He would touch people. We would meet there at McDonalds.

One night we all were out waiting on the Lord to bring someone our way. And He did! But there was something different about it that night. I didn't know what, but my spirit was burning inside of me in a strange way. And I knew in my spirit to "Listen up." I knew I was about to learn something new from the lord, but I didn't know what. And I knew it was for me and the others were not aware of it.

My Brother in the Lord was Ministring to this fellow. And The Holy spirit spoke to me. "Tonight you will see a baby birthed into the Kingdom!" and my brother led his man to the Lord! I was interceeding, praying in the Spirit and after my brother prayed with this man, He brought him to my table to meet me.

This was the ugliest man I had ever met, bless him. He was poor, a street person, older, worn down by his former life style. There was nothing about this man that could attract you. Bless Him!

But I felt that overwhelming Love of God that come thru the Holy Spirit for this man. And I trusted the Lord and gave him money for a bus ticket. It was a step of faith, but I knew it was what the Lord wanted me to do. And that burning inside of me was so strong from the Holy spirit, I didnt want to miss what God was doing, even though I wasn't sure yet what that was!

After we had fellowship with him, welcoming him into the family, he began to speak. He said to us, "Sunny, Tim, I want to tell you something, Not to glorify you, but to Glorify God!" (Now this was coming out of the mouth of a Babe in the Lord.) "I have been in church after church; and they have turned me away. And never before, have I received love, such as this."

Now The Holy Spirit was all over everything that was coming out of this new baby's mouth! And I was asking the Lord in my heart, "What is going on here? Lord help me understand."

Later on that evening after I was at home, the Lord began to speak to my heart! He said, "I want you to recount the events of this evening and write them down, now, so you will remember it." I did as He told me. And then He said to me, "The man you were with, that Tim led to me, was the angel of the Lord." I was amazed and awed by that! No wonder I had felt that burning within me as I had!

And The next day, I called another sister in the Lord to share the happenings with and told her all that had happened! THAT WE HAD TALKED WITH A ANGEL! She said to me, "Sunny, don't you know who The Angel of the Lord is?" I said, well I guess a Important one ? "No Beloved ." She said, "The Angel of The Lord, is The Lord Jesus, Himself!" I fell on my face weeping! The phone went flying! I could not get up! I bawled like a baby!

This encounter with the Lord was a answer to a prayer of mine, because I asked the Lord, "Why Lord, are You About to Judge your Church? " This was How he answered me!

~~~ "I have been in church after church, and they have turned me away."

~~~

Your Sister in Christ, Sunny

My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called? If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. James 2

From Jon:

Living in the streets, abandon buildings, porches, ect is for me a freedom few experience. The hopelessness of addiction and dispair are the forces of bondage. With food not bombs and the yellow bike program (fixing broken bikes, painting them yellow and giving them to the comunity), earth first! Austin, Texas champions the virtues of essene life, in my opinion. Ignorance is our enemy. Many people place themselves into bondage by three fatefull words, I.....don`t......care.... people unlock and open the gates of their living hell with those words. Many many, many parents on the streets need help. You or someone finding houses that can be fixed up for a down payment (sweat equity) can be used as safe houses. 4 or five of them can realy help a community and its people. Find abandon property, call the tax office and find out whose paying the taxes and make an offer to the people payng taxes. Use a lawyer to seal the deal. Talk to real estate agents to find sweat equity homes, otherwise known as depressed property. I`ve helped many people this way, then sometimes turning the house over to them, but then you lose the safe house. Not as many people would be as generous as others. LLLLLLLLLOOOOOOVVVVVVVEEEEEE I`m just a painter, not a rich guy. Some times grandma and grandpa don't have the money to fix those old houses up, and they get torn down. Together you can provide help to the owners of those houses by providing 100$-200$ a month to the elderly that might own the house. Then together you can fix it up to provide a safe house or squat. With enough people in the house I provide one month free rent no payment that provides time to accumulate what`s needed and they are on their way, sometimes parents need one more month, then bring in another. I can`t provide permanent living arrangements, too many people need help in fixing it up, what you don`t have in money you have in time. One board at a time, one gallon at a time, one wire at a time. The gates of the living hell are opened with three fateful words (i.....don`t.....care... Thank you for caring. Write back if you like. Keep up the good work.

jon doe

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Matthew 5:7

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

Living not in vain

Author Unknown......

It was a cold winter's day that Sunday. The parking lot to the Church was filling up quickly. I noticed as I got out of my car that fellow church members were whispering among themselves as they walked to the church.

As I got closer I saw a man leaned up against the wall outside the church. He was almost laying down as if he was asleep. He had on a long trench coat that was almost in shreds and a hat topped his head, pulled down so you could not see his face.

He wore shoes that looked 30 years old, too small for his feet with holes all over them, his toes stuck out. I assumed this man was homeless, and asleep, so I walked on by through the doors of the Church.

We all fellowship for a few minutes, and someone brought up the man laying outside. People snickered and gossiped but no one bothered to ask him to come in, including me.

A few moments later church began. We all waited for the Preacher to take his place and to give us the Word when the doors to the church opened. In came the homeless man walking down the aisle with his head down

People gasped and whispered and made faces. He made his way down the aisle and up onto the pulpit. He took off his hat and coat.

My heart sank. There stood our preacher ... he was the "homeless man." No one said a word. The preacher took his Bible and laid it on the stand.

"Folks, I don't think I have to tell you what I am preaching about today." Then he started singing the words to this song.

"If I can help somebody as I pass along. If I can cheer somebody with a word or song. If I can show somebody that he's traveling wrong. Then my living shall not be in vain."

Justice - When you get what you deserve.

Mercy - When you don't get what you deserve.

Grace - When you get what you don't deserve.

Author Unknown

Some things to think about:

Understand Who The Homeless Are

The First--and most important--thing you can do to help the homeless is to realize that the tired old stereotypes concerning them just are not true.

Myth: They want to be homeless.
Fact: Less than six percent of the homeless are that way by choice.

Myth: They're to blame for being homeless.
Fact: Most homeless are victims.
* Some have suffered from child abuse or violence.
Nearly one quarter are children. Many have lost their jobs.
All have lost their homes.

Myth: They don't work.
Fact: Many homeless people are among the working poor. A person earning a minimum wage can't earn enough to support a family of three or pay inner-city rent.

Myth: They are mentally ill. Fact: About 25 percent of the homeless are estimated to be emotionally disturbed. One percent may need long-term hospitalization; the others can become self-sufficient with help.

Myth: They are heavy drug users. Fact: Some homeless are substance abusers; research suggests one in four. Many of these are included in the 25 percent who suffer from mental illness. [Many become alcoholics and drug users after they have been thrown out onto the streets.]

Myth: They are dangerous.
Fact: Sometimes an encounter with the homeless may end in tragedy.
It is extremely rare, though. In general, the homeless are among the least threatening group in our society.
*If anything, they are the victims of crimes, not the perpetrators

Most homeless people are not drunks or drug abusers or former mental patients. Most are able or willing to work. They are not the perpetual social problem many people believe they are. So who are they?

Full-time workers

One out of four homeless is employed full- or part-time, according to the United States Conference of Mayors. The arithmetic is simple and frightening: a person who works fourty hours a week at the 1992 Federal minimum wage of $4.25 per hour grosses about $700 a month, takes home less than $600-- and is a prime candidate for homelessness.

I meet such people at a shelter run by my synagogue in Westfield, New Jersey. Two neatly dressed sisters in their thirties arrived one evening.
One was a full-time sales clerk at Bloomingdale's; her sister was seeking a job. Two rent increases in a year had eaten their savings and caused them to fall behind in rent. Consequently, they were evicted. By using the Temple's hospitality program, they hoped to save enough for first and last month's rent and a security deposit for an apartment.

Disabled vets

One quarter of the homeless are war veterans, most of them from the Vietnam conflict. Do you remember Ron Kovic's story in the film, Born on the Fourth of July? It dramatized the fact that the veterans of that war were abandoned and discouraged, even dishonored, and in Ron's case wound up on our streets, some of them disable, others mentally traumatized by their war experiences, others simply unable to find work.

Children

One out of four homeless people is a child. The fastest growing homeless group in the United States is families with children. Their number nearly doubled between 1984 and 1989, and continues to do so.

Even more appalling, many homeless children are alone. They may be runaways who left home because there is no money for food, because they are victims of rape, incest, or violence or because one or both of their parents is in emotional turmoil. Some are "throwaways" whose parents tellthem to leave home, or won't allow them to return once they leave.

I was shocked to learn that in Washington, D.C., when a soup kitchen, Martha's Kitchen, was opened to serve destitute children, within three weeks they were serving thirty children a day.

The Elderly

Elderly people on fixed incomes don't fit the traditional image of homeless folk. But the fact is that a senior citizen who receives $450 a month in benefits and pays $350 for rent can't survive in any U.S. city. However, Social Security, Medicare, and other senior-oriented programs provide a safety net for many of the elderly, making their numbers disproportionally less among the homeless than other minorities. Although the elderly are not as likely to be found in shelters, it is true that some are afraid to go to shelters, or even a soup kitchen. Others are living in poverty, not homeless, but often homebound and without proper heating, water, or other amenities.

AIDS victims

Thirty-two thousand people with AIDS and their dependents were homeless in 1989. By 1995 over 100,000 AIDS related sufferers are projected to jointheir ranks.

Fast facts
The number who are homeless for at least one night during the year is probably over three million.
The majority of homeless are male; the largest proportion are single men.
Illegal immigrants are swelling the ranks of the homeless.
One child in five lives below the poverty line, making children the poorest age group in the United States, which accounts for the growing percentage of children who are homeless.
Many homeless people have completed high school; some have attended college and even graduate school.
The homeless are found not only in cities, but in small towns, rural areas, and affluent suburbs.
Millions are among the hidden homeless--people who are one crisis away from losing their homes. They may be doubled or tripled up in housing or 48 hours from eviction or about to leave a hospital with nowhere to go.

What To Do When Confronted With The Homeless

Carry Fast-Food Gift Certificates

We've all been panhandled for change to buy a cup of coffee or get a bite to eat. If you're like most, you've been suspicious from time to time, wondering what the money was really for.

That's why my daughter's friend carries fast-food gift certificates. When he's approached for spare change, be hands out a certificate and points the way to the nearest Burger King or McDonald's. In this way, he doesn't ignore someone who's in need, but he knows his funds are used for food.

Next time you do your spring or fall cleaning, keep an eye out for those clothes that you no longer wear. If these items are in good shape, gather them together and donate them to organizations that provide housing for the homeless. Most shelters need to have clothing on hand.

Anybody can give clothing: union members, church goers, kindergarten kids, and senior citizens. Most of us have closets that need to be cleaned out!

New clothing, particularly sock and underclothing can be purchased and donated to shelters. Besides, having something new to wear gives a psychological lift.

Another example--in New York City this last winter, there was a drive to collect warm coats for the homeless. And for many years, one enterprising citizen has launched a "One Glove collection--volunteers match up the gloves into pairs and distibute them in shelters.

Among the various good works your clergy should be involved in are programs to help the homeless. Ask if they are aware of the problem in your community. If not, educate them about what you have learned--show them this book, for instance. Then ask them to get involved in community efforts to aid the homeless. Point out specific programs you may have uncovered. Suggest that the congregation become involved.

If your clergy are already active in this area, ask how you can assist them.

Our legislators rarely receive more than three visits or ten letters about any subject. When the numbers exceed that amount, they sit up and take note.
Personal visits are the most potent. Letters are next; telephone calls are third best.

Housing issues don't come up that often, so your public officials will listen, particularly if you write as a constituent who is not a housing advocate whose job depends on increased funding or a tenant trying to hold on to an apartment. So let your government representatives know that you're concerned about housing, job training, health care, inner-city education, and support services. And keep letting your legislators know that your vote may be decided by their stand on those issues.

Submitted by the: CALGARY DROP IN CENTRE SOCIETY

Don't we all?

I was parked in front of the mall wiping off my car. I had just come from the car wash and was waiting for my wife to get out of work. Coming my way from across the parking lot was what society would consider a bum. From the looks of him, he had no car, no home, no clean clothes, and no money. There are times when you feel generous but there are other times that you just don't want to be bothered. This was one of those "don't want to be bothered times."

"I hope he doesn't ask me for any money," I thought. He didn't look like he could have enough money to even ride the bus.

After a few minutes he spoke. "That's a very pretty car," he said. He was ragged but he had an air of dignity around him. His scraggily blond beard kept more than his face warm.

I said, "thanks," and continued wiping off my car.

He sat there quietly as I worked. The expected plea for money never came. As the silence between us widened something inside said, "ask him if he needs any help." I was sure that he would say "yes" but I held true to the inner voice.

"Do you need any help?" I asked.

He answered in three simple but profound words that I shall never forget. We often look for wisdom in great men and women. We expect it from those of higher learning and accomplishments. I expected nothing but an outstretched grimy hand. He spoke the three words that shook me.

"Don't we all?" he said.

I was feeling high and mighty, successful and important, above a bum in the street, until those three words hit me like a twelve gauge shotgun.

Don't we all?

I needed help. Maybe not for bus fare or a place to sleep, but I needed help. I reached in my wallet and gave him not only enough for bus fare, but enough to get a warm meal and shelter for the day. Those three little words still ring true. No matter how much you have, no matter how much you have accomplished, you need help too. No matter how little you have, no matter how loaded you are with problems, even without money or a place to sleep, you can give help. Even if it's just a compliment, you can give that.

You never know when you may see someone that appears to have it all. They are waiting on you to give them what they don't have. A different perspective on life, a glimpse at something beautiful, a respite from daily chaos, that only you through a torn world can see.

Maybe the man was just a homeless stranger wandering the streets. Maybe he was more than that. Maybe he was sent by a power that is great and wise, to minister to a soul too comfortable in themselves.

Maybe God looked down, called an Angel, dressed him like a bum, then said, "go minister to that man cleaning the car, that man needs help."

Don't we all?

Please pass this on to a friend but ask that they subscribe in their own right at
Just A Minute

From Vicki

Hello Jay,
I just found your website yesterday, surfing around. Tonight I went to the homeless section. Let me share some about what the Lord is doing in our little church here in South Georgia.

First, our Pastor sold out to God, announced that we were not a social club, and for those who wanted one, he gave the freedom to leave. I was a new member of the church and he had just come on as Pastor about 5 months earlier. Well, leave they did. I call it "the Exodus", because I watched every leader and most of the families leave the church. A few stayed, and for 2 years we prayed for a vision for our local body. One Sunday morning, as our Pastor preached, the vision came in the sermon, as much to his surprise as ours.

The Lord told us to feed the poor, clothe the naked, etc. We all witnessed in our hearts that we were finally being called out of the pews and into the streets. We answered the call by remodeling our Sunday school wing into a shelter for the homeless. The first homeless man showed up one morning as the remodeling was in progress, sitting at an old picnic table on the church grounds, reading a huge Catholic Bible. The church secretary pulled up and saw him. She was so excited about her first "homeless man" that God had given us. He lived at the Pastor's house as he helped to finish up the shelter.

At first we took in every man that any of us found, but now, 3 years later, we limit this shelter to 4 men. The original Refugee (our shelter is named "The Refuge" and we affectionately call the residents "Refugees". Since most have been called worse, they don't mind) came to live with my family after a few months in the shelter. He could not rest there, and my husband and I both agreed that even though we have two teens, we had to open our home to this man. He lived with us for almost a year, then got a ride to Washington DC, where he had always wanted to live, and he now lives and works in the city's largest men's shelter. It was almost a full year before we heard from him, and honestly I didn't ever expect to, but he sent us a package and a few weeks later he called. He's called once more since, and I know that his healing is continuing.

We have obtained a grant from a church foundation to help support The Refuge. There is now a full time person who oversees the shelter and coordinates the volunteers who help out at night. We have many success stories, and other stories where the results were less than our expectations, but praise God, we are trying to be obedient and do what we are called to do, and that means leaving the rest up to God. Our church also tries to coordinate benevolent services between all of the churches in our county. There is another shelter for women of abuse and their children, and at this time, if a couple shows up for help at the Refuge, they stay at our Pastor's house. Right now there is a couple who have been living with them for about 9 months. Theirs is another story of grace and mercy and restoration.

I encourage you and other Christians, and churches to pray about addressing this problem of homeless people living in the midst of prosperity. As others have shared, for some it is a choice of a lifestyle, but for others it was a downward spiral of oppression that they were powerless to fight. Jesus told us that the poor would be with us always. We are not trying to reform the world, just trying to do what the Savior would have us to do in our little part of the kingdom. Our reward right now is to see these men in church, clean and sober, going up for prayer, serving, and going on to the abundant life that God intended for them. We have had marriages, miracles, and much much more to let us know that we are in the will of God and it started with thinking of others instead of ourselves all the time. Mission work is satisfying!!

Check out our website. It is being designed and maintained by David who lives with the Pastor (sshhhh, don't tell anyone, he's homeless). If you go to the section for the Refuge, there's one testimony posted at this time. God is good and He knows what to do. Listen to Him!!!
Love,
Vicki
website for our church and The Refuge www.kmkb.com



Homeless Links:

National Coalition for the Homeless

National Health Care for the Homeless Council

National Homeless Alliance UK

Homeless Pages UK

Help USA

Shelter Network

Homelessness Resource Center

U.S. Vets

Homeless Veterans Programs

Research, Education & Advocacy to Combat Homelessness (REACH)

U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH)

Hunger, Homelessness & Poverty Task Force

Homeless People's Network Discussion List

National Coalition for Homeless Veterans

Homeless International

The Good Samaritan Homeless Center for Women With Children

Shelter UK

The Homeless Handbook

National Center for Homeless Education

Health Care for the Homeless

The National Law Center

Help the Homeless (Fannie Mae)

HomeAid America

National Alliance to End Homelessness

National Low Income Housing Coalition

Habitat for Humanity

Magic Stream Resources To Combat Homelessness

National Alliance to End Homelessness

The McAuley Institute

National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness

Weingart Center Association & the Institute for the Study of Homelessness and Poverty

HUD Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives

Funding

Health Care

Disability Grants and Funding Resources

Grant Writing Tutorial

International Grants and Funders

Housing Grants


From Doug:

I'll share some info I've picked up over the years. Once upon a time i got fed up and just quit society and got me a backpack and became homeless on purpose. Living outside gave me an insiders view of what its really like. Our society is capitalistic and people have what they have because they earned the money, so the general mind set is "if you dont work, you dont get" Nothing wrong with that except we tend to throw out mercy cause were so busy working and after 40 hrs. we dont have such a giving attitude. Since i was there, i know what the guy with the sign is up to. Meth, beer, smokes , thats what they do with the 80 to 150 bucks these teams make every day, you know it. im just verifying it, these guys are criminals. The're all over my town at the beach and ive lived with them and they are not nice people. These people are happy to take advantage of others hard work and they laugh about it as eat the free food at the soup line. im just telling you ive been on a circuit many times from santa rosa to san diego and been to most of the missions and soup kitchens.

Within the homeless population there are people who want to be Christians, why dont we see God doing miracles for these people? because God isnt doing miracles right now. He expects us to bear the load of the poor christians. to boil it all down God expects x amount of the body of Christ to unconditionaly receive ANY one who has publicly confessed Jesus Christ as saviour and guess what? SERVE THEM. That means bring them home put our best clothes on them, let them stay at our houses, give them rides to work , church, pick them up, help them study, and forgive them 70 x 7 7-24. Add it all up and you will find its called SERVING THE LORD because the way we're doing it right now is making us the lauging stock of the secular world. But but what if something goes wrong? Someone might get hurt, well its a good thing Jesus didnt have that attitude in the garden of geth.

I'm into empowering poor new converts with tangible substance. And God wants people to know he's with them thick and thin. God does not do miracles like poof - have a hundred dollar bill. I do that kind of thing. and how do i get the money ? i do the work. It costs ME. See it hurts to serve the Lord. i mean its not pleasent but the pain of aquiring gift money is offset by the serious damage it does to the kingdom of the devil. Homelessness is a misnomer. We spiritual people know that in reality, having food and clothing we are supposed to be content. These are the days when God is expepecting at least some of us in the U.S. to pour ourselves out as a drink offering to the Lord. unless of course that has gone out of style? I'm just trying to stir people up to answer James'es call to help the poor, the widows and the fatherless. From my experiences on the streets all over ca. i know that until WE personalise what we claim to believe the problems we see today will only multiply. i bring people home and leave the house with them in it and when you do that they recognise you love them . Or they steal the stuff in the house. Either way i win cause all My stuff is stored in heavenly places. So thats my insight on this dilema. take it or leave it.

Doug

Home: Latter Rain


jay@latter-rain.com