This evening, I am simply writing to reflect on my eclectic afternoon....
Like most of my days, I was smacked with many ups and downs, emotion and joy, despair and hope! It's part of the wonder of working with people experiencing homelessness; nothing plateaus, things are always changing!
Today, I was able to assist 5 people financially in different ways. One poor lady, with tears streaming down her face, had been given a "5 day notice". I helped her to catch up on her rent, so with $300, she now won't get evicted. One ecstatic mother just got employed, but she couldn't get to her new job, so I was able to give her 2 weeks worth of transportation. I was also able to assist 3 guys get their birth certificates; 2 of them stay at our shelter, while the other one sleeps outside and had come to see me after I had met him under a local viaduct in last week.
Just after lunch, I wandered over to Target to get a gift card for Ange (pictured below). He had unexpectedly been approved to move into his own apartment, but his place is barren and is in need of some household items. Ange was overjoyed and very thankful. I marvel and find hope in fellas like him; he has come over to the U.S. from the Congo, where he has faithfully persevered and struggled to eventually reach his goal! Well done Ange; you did it!
I got a phone call from a friend who works for a local agency, he wanted me to take someone into our shelter. I know him; I know him well! He's a disabled and very mentally ill man around 60, who dresses in women's clothes and lives outside. We'd tried to find him during last week's artic blast, but we couldn't. With his health issues, age and lack of mobility, such weather could literally kill him and I'd thrown up a few prayers last week for this poor fella. Thankful he was still alive, I told the outreach worker we'd take him in and find a spot for him!
In Target, I see an older Hispanic gentleman sleeping. One night last week, during the subzero temperatures, I got him out of the cold. While driving around, we saw him in McDonald's and I asked him to come to inside; he obliged, but he only stayed that night. Today, I woke him up and invited him back to Cornerstone. His English isn't too good, and my Spanish is awful, but I was able to communicate that a safe, warm bed was available to him and he needed to come over. He worried me, because I knew that under his cap, he has a lot of exposed staples in his head. I don't know how he received this head injury, but I definitely knew that sleeping outside would be dangerous for this elderly fella that didn't have a place to lay his head.
These 2 guys amaze me; I don't know how they survive, but somehow they do! There always seems to be strength, when it looks like there isn't any. I pray as I write this, that they made it and they're both sleeping peacefully and safely under our roof.
These men and women I encountered today, tell different stories of tragedy, rejection, hatred and a messed up system. But we also can't forget, light shines in the darkness. These few lives also tell powerful tales of God's Kingdom, love, compassion and hope.
Though this world can be so dark and full of despair, my desire is to keep bringing Light and Hope into Uptown, and that God's Loving Kingdom will shine radiantly through His people....