Tuesday, January 26, 2010

a heavy heart

I started reading a new book, Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore, recently.  It’s the second book that the Bloom Bookclub is reading.

I’m only about halfway through, but already this book has had an impact on me.  It’s a true story of the lives of the two authors and how they became friends. 

I don’t want to spoil the story, but I have to say that Denver was homeless in Fort Worth, TX, for a good bit of his life.  In the book he tells of his memories of life on the streets.  It just really opened my eyes for the first time to what life as a homeless person must really be like.  I’ve always had compassion for the homeless, but while reading this book my heart was just softened more towards them.

It came at a perfect time, too.  (Thank You, Jesus!  Your timing is always right on!)

This past weekend Justin and I had the opportunity to go out in downtown Dallas with a team of people and minister to several homeless and hungry people.  We took them some food, clothes, and the Hope of Jesus Christ.

A girl that went with us wrote a note on facebook telling her account of the time we spent.  If you want to read it, you can here.

I wrote in response to her post and want to share that here as well.  (It is lengthy, but this is for me.)

it was also my first time to do any sort of ministry to the homeless. i wasn't going to go at first because i was sleepy and knew it was cold outside. God prompted me to go, and i'm so glad i did. i got very convicted about not going because it was cold and inconvenient for me. at least i had on a jacket. many people that are no different than me are out there without warm clothes. without full tummies. sleeping on concrete with temperatures in the teens and twenties.
i tried imagining myself out there. i tried imagining my mother or my sister or one of my (future) children out there. it just broke my heart. none of us are any better than the ones sleeping in the cold and wondering where their next meal is coming from. just a few wrong choices or bad events in my life, and i could be there.
i didn't do any "preaching" saturday night. i really just tried to talk to the people and encourage them. i wanted to let them know that i realize they are humans, too, and that God loves them just as much as any of us out there.
a couple of the stories i heard were just so heartbreaking, as im sure all of them are. one man i talked to told me that he at one time lived up north with his wife and daughter. he worked a good job and had a nice home and vehicle. he made a bad decision and chose drugs, and over time he lost it all. justin and i began telling him that there is hope in Jesus. justin has been in that same spot. a life of drugs with nowhere to lay his head at night. We told the man some of that testimony and you could see the change in his face. a ray of hope began to shine. we told him that we hoped to see him again, but not on the streets sleeping. we want to see him on the streets preaching and passing that hope along to others.
after this experience, God has really softened my heart for the homeless. He laid it on my heart to help gather supplies for the backpack ministry. we don't have much money, but i figured that if each time i buy our groceries and our socks and our water, i can just pick up one or two items for the homeless. it won't add much to my total bill. we will never even feel the difference. but those men and women on the streets could feel the difference eternally.

Rusty by the urban fabric.

I urge you, if you live in a city where homeless men and women live, please prayerfully consider what you can do to help them.  You never know, you might change a life.


Summer said...

I haven't read this book yet, but my boss did...and he actually went to a conference with the author and had lunch with him. I need to read this....

Jodi said...

Thank you for mentioning "Same Kind of Different as Me" on your blog! I work with Thomas Nelson, and we would love to follow your blog and hear what readers think of this moving book. I also want to let you know that Ron and Denver have just released a new book "What Difference Do It Make?" which updates readers on their activity since the first book came out. Please contact me with your mailing address if you are interested in receiving a complimentary copy of the new book for review on your site at your convenience.


Jodi Hughes

Jenna said...

I loved reading this.

Maura said...

I am thinking about picking this book up after reading this post. I live in Philadelphia and have many daily encounters with the homeless. Thanks for shedding some light on this serious problem. A lot of people are deeply intimidated by the homeless and treat them as if they are not there. Walking by and not even looking at them. If you ignore someone they don't just disappear. I have had some really encouraging relationships with a few people who lived on the streets of Philadelphia. Sometimes helping someone really takes so little. A lot of people just really need someone to talk to and care about them. It doesn't take much to really make a difference.