Monday, June 13, 2011

"When I was Hungry, You Fed Me"

We had an awesome time passing out lunches to our friends on the streets.  We have been trying to raise support in order to feed the homeless on Sundays.  The service center that used to provide dinners everyday of the week is not doing it on weekends any longer.  We recently had a couple of women volunteer to raise the money and make the lunches for one Sunday.  Kayleen mentioned several times how much fun they had making the lunches.  It was exciting to us to have people who enjoyed doing this for our friends.  We love these people so much.  One special thing that the homeless enjoyed was Kayleen's 5 year old who made little pictures for all 100 lunches.  It made the lunches personal and special to them.  Everyone of them mentioned how sweet it was that she would do this for them.  THANK YOU, EMMA!!  YOU ARE A SPECIAL LITTLE GIRL!

We would like to make this an ongoing project for each Sunday afternoon.  We would love to raise enough money to feed the homeless each week.  The week that was provided for cost $1.60 for each lunch.  Providing 100 lunches would cost $160.  This would consist of two sandwiches, bottled water, chips, fruit, and a dessert.  Please let us know if you want to start giving for this.  You could give for a partial amount, one Sunday, one Sunday a month, or whatever the Lord lays on your heart.  This gives us an opportunity to share more love, friendship, time, and food for our people who are hungry each weekend.

Friday, April 8, 2011

What happend to that girl?

 I have been thinking lately as I pick out my clothes for the day of "what happend to that girl that use to dress so nice?"  I would feel kinda gloomy and ponder on this for a minute or two.  When I was growing up I would wear nice clothing.  It wasn't expensive and the best, but it was nice.  I had all my "Sunday clothes" to wear to church and special events, I had nice jeans and shirts...a full closet and dresser full.  Now I look at the closet and I bearly have enough clothes to make it through the week that aren't in the best of shape.  I have a couple pieces of clothing that are for special occasions, but that is it.  I try to not feel sorry for myself because of the kind of work we do with the homeless.  When you see so many lives being changed, I think, "its okay.  It is all worth it." How can I complain when they don't have much and living on the streets? 

Today I found my mind wondering off again about the clothes today and all of a sudden it hit me...What happend to that girly looking girl that had all the nice clothes, the makeup, and the hair being done at the hair salon?  Jesus is what happend to her!  I gave my life totally up to Him and what He was calling us to do.  He totally changed my life and I'm excited about what He has called us to do.  He experienced the same thing, you know.  He was in Heaven, sitting on His throne, with the best garments that were pure and clean, but then He came here on earth and wore rags with sandles on His feet.  Who am I to grumble about what I wear?

I remember as a child hearing a story about a little girl who lived in a country where there was persecution for believing in Jesus.  Soldiers came in the church building and told the people that they had to step on the picture of Jesus and spit on it in order to not be killed.  Most adults stepped on the picture and spit on it, but the little girl didn't.  She told them she loved Jesus.  Now, I don't remember what happend to the girl because as this story was told my mind began to wonder and it was almost like I heard Jesus asking me, will you do whatever it takes to follow me?  Would you do what this little girl did for me?  I am reminded of this little girl constantly through my life now that He has called us as a family to reach the homeless. I have to only have enough clothes to make it through the week, which aren't the best clothes, forget about style, not get my hair done, not put makeup on everyday anymore, sell our possessions, be homeless for almost 8 months, go without food, be exhausted physically, spiritually, emotionally, had our car stolen, listen to people attack us, people turn their backs on us...I am reminded of that little girl along with others who gave their lives up for Him.  "What happend to that girl?"  She is walking the footsteps of Jesus.  I am so thrilled to be where He has called me to be.  I love the people He has called us to and I love my relationship with Him.  He is so awesome!!!  He has provided exactly what we NEEDED and when we needed it.  So, it is okay.  I know He is with me and it is wonderful to see Him at work providing and changing people's lives including mine.  What is the meaning of this blog?  It isn't to brag about my "suffering" or to get someone to feel sorry for me.  It is just to show where I am continuing to grow, how I am human, and to ask the same question of you as someone asked me when they were teaching me the story of the little girl...If God called you to suffer for Him whether it be by not living the American dream, to be homeless, not getting your hair and nails done, selling your possessions, being persecuted for believing in Him...would you be willing to do that?  Would you follow what He calls you to do no matter the cost?  I challenge you to think and pray about this.  Has He been working on your heart in a certain area?  Listen and obey His call.  There is no greater joy!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

100 Sunday lunches

We are hoping and praying to start a new aspect to the ministry we have in SouthEast Portland.  So far we have been advocating for them on the streets and in the courts, we befriend the homeless, we love them, we hang out with them, we drive them to appointments for jobs or visits to the hospital, etc, we help them move their camps when they have been kicked out, we help them get their resume's out, we find them jobs, apartments, help them get their ID, we teach them, we baptize them, visit them in jail, the list goes on and on.  There have been times when we have had a donation here and there for them to receive things from us like tents, Bibles, and once in awhile sack lunches.  They know we are not out there because we have anything tangible to give and so they don't usually ask for things like that.  We were even told by a group when we asked them what they needed with preparing for winter and they just responded by saying,

 "We just want you out here daily guiding and teaching us."

 We were amazed at this response.  It has broken our hearts though because they have stopped serving meals to the homeless in our area on Sundays.  We see them hungry.  We hear them talking about having to steal something little because they were so desperate needing something to eat.  They are eating out of dumpsters.  So, we have an idea that we would like to present to you.

  We would ask if some of you could donate really good sack lunches on Sunday afternoons.  You don't have to do anything but put it together and then we will meet you to pick them up and take them out on the streets to the people.  We would like to serve them starting at 3:30pm each Sunday.  We are asking for 100 lunches  Would you be open to one Sunday a month or every Sunday?  They are so hungry.  This would give us the opportunity to love on them in another way and spend time with them.  This would give you an opportunity to help us help them.

"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me."  Matthew 25:35,36 

Monday, January 3, 2011

He Was a Friend Before, But Now He Is Our Brother (story about Joel)

  We hadn't been out befriending the homeless in southeast Portland for very long at all.  Mike had been invited by several of the homeless people to come down to their camp.  They loved spending time with us and was fascinated in the fact that Mike was a pastor, but wasn't preaching at them.  He just acted like one of the guys.  He would sit down with them, listen to their stories, befriend them, and not cast judgement on them.  He would even help them push their carts or whatever was needed.  They knew he wasn't passing out money or anything, but they enjoyed and was intrigued by our friendship to them, so they asked him to come to their camp.  One summer evening it was over 100 degrees here in Portland and Mike took off walking to the camp.  It was an ordeal to get there.  You had to go way back and even crawling on your stomach from time to time to get through the bushes, fences, and into the Johnson Creek.

  One evening when he did this, he was walking toward the guys that he had met before.  They turned around and was excited to see him.  There was a particular man named Joel, who we hadn't met before and was sitting in the creek to get a break from the heat.  He immediately turned around and with a horrible deep voice said, "Get out of here, Jesus!" and he started running toward Mike with a knife.  As he lunged to stab Mike, the knife disappeared.  Everyone there including Mike and Joel was frantically looking for the knife and never did find it.  We believe God took care of it because it just disappeared in mid air.  Joel then started running into the camp fire and then took off over the hill to run onto the freeway in order to commit suicide.  Mike ran after him, tried to stop traffic from hitting Joel, but the cars just kept going without even slowing down.  So Mike ran out and pinned Joel to the ground, drug him to the side of the road and was able to get him back to camp.  That was our first meeting with Joel.

  He was demon possessed then and several times after that.  Our family all fell in love with Joel.  He was a great person when he was himself, so we continued being his friend, loving him, trying to help him in any way we could, drove him places he needed to go, helped him through court things, and shared with him about Christ.  We went through a lot with Joel.  Lots of ups and downs and even sleepless nights praying for Joel and his safety because of situations he would get himself into, but we just felt God didn't want us to give up on him. 

  Finally a couple months ago he showed up on our doorstep hungry.  We didn't have much ourselves, but wasn't about to turn him away.  We had him come in and we fixed him breakfast, ate with him, and had lots of time talking and laughing with him.  The next day, he called Mike and said, "Mike, I want to meet you.  I am ready to give up EVERYTHING and follow Christ." .  This was huge for him to say.  You may think, what would a homeless person have to give up in order to follow Christ?  Well, this was a struggle for him for a long time because of his love for women, drugs, his own freedom and being independent.  So, Mike met with him and right there in the service center he accepted Christ into his heart.  Recently we had the privilege to baptize him and what a wonderful day that was!  Every time I looked at him or someone would speak to him, he would have tears in his eyes.  It has been wonderful to see the change in this man.  He is much calmer.  He is calling Mike all the time and wanting to meet so he can be taught more things from the Bible.  Mike will see him in the service center or on the side of the road reading his Bible we got him.  We praise God that He didn't allow us to give up on Joel.  He was a friend before, but now He is our brother.  How awesome is that?