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Showing posts from September, 2015

A Senior Moment.

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Today, I walked into the office and saw one of our caseworkers sitting with and assisting 2 elderly gentlemen experiencing homelessness. Their combined ages are a staggering 160 years. One is a Korean War veteran who's 83 and the other guy is a hardworking 77 year old.

Such an image causes me grief, yet at the same time, this images makes me smile! 
I grieve, because no senior citizen should ever have to be homeless, especially in a nation that has so much affluence. I smile, because I watch and see how these 2 are compassionately getting their needs met.

I grieve, because these guys are just 2 of far too many men and women over 60 walking into our place, homeless and seeking assistance. I smile, because I know these 2 fellas are in capable hands and the work being done today will eventually lead to them proudly holding up keys to a new apartment.
I grieve, because of society's injustice, neglect and cruelty to the "least of these". I smile, because we have the oppor…

Standing Firm in My Faith

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I want to tell you about 2 friends; they run in different circles and have nothing to do with each other, but my heart aches for both of them! 
For decades, one of them has struggled with heroin and popping pills, while the other has struggled to stay out of the Joint for very long. Even though they run in very different circles, and one of them is a lot more violent than the other, they are united in the same struggle. They struggle to stay on the narrow path. They struggle to stand firm in their faith.  

I know both these guys, I know they were both trying. They were staying on the path, trusting God and making the right decisions. The first guy had been resisting the needle and other narcotics for a short while, while the second guy had stayed out of prison for about 4 or 5 years; which for him was a major accomplishment. They were both telling me how excited they were about their progress! They were both thankful to God and would constantly talk to me about how difficult it w…

Birthday Tears.

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I wandered into the guys office and was met by a grey-haired elderly gentleman. Even though he's not staying with us at the moment, I believe he's still homeless and had resided with us before. He'd come to pick up his mail.  
This scenario isn't unusual, but today, I was struck by the power of not feeling forgotten. I was struck by the importance of being remembered! I was struck by the need to feel loved! 
This elderly man was crying. He wasn't sad, he was crying with happiness. Tears were rolling down his street-worn cheeks, he was grinning ear to ear, and he kept on shaking our hands and saying "thank you, thank you, I love you guys, you make me feel special!"
What did we do? We just handed him a birthday card and a wrapped gift that was made especially for him. He opened it before us, and a floodgate of emotions opened as well. He told us how depressed and rejected he felt that morning, and how this gift changed his whole demeanor and had resurrected ho…

Remembering Some of Uptown's Forgotten Troopers

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This is a segment of a longer post I recently finished, called Tragedy and Exhilaration. (http://freeingprisoners.blogspot.com/2015/09/tragedy-and-exhilaration.html)
During the month of May, I knew 5 men who sadly died. They all died too young. The truth is, people who experience the hardships of homelessness have a far lower life expectancy than the National average. These 5 men range from their mid 60s down to only 38. This is my weak attempt, trying to give each of these fellas a little honor and recognition....
Isaac was a Vietnam veteran who had struggled with various bouts of homelessness and health issues, sadly he died in his apartment I helped him get into. I'd met him at a Tuesday night Church service called The Bridge (a place where I preach once a month) and was homeless last year, but he moved into Friendly Towers and found his final earthly home there. Isaac loved the Lord, had a heart of gold and was always trying to do right. Rest in peace my friend; I'm going to…

Rotting Feet

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Yesterday, as the rain was thundering down, one of our security guards walked into the office with this middle-aged fella, who was completely and utterly soaked to the bone!

This guy recognizes me and calls me by name. His face seems familiar, but I couldn't recall his name or if he'd stayed with us before. Nervously, he kept saying "I'm sorry", as he politely and humbly asked me for a pair of shoes.

His question was bizarre, not because he asked for shoes, but because that's all requested. He was completely drenched. He didn't want dry socks, a shirt or pants. He was asking for one thing; a pair of shoes, size 12. 
His demeanor showed he didn't want to come in, he didn't want to ask for help, as he kept on quietly saying how sorry he was for bothering us and taking our time. For some reason, this fella was desperate, crying out for help and wanting us to notice something!

We tried to settle his nerves. We kept telling him that we're here to hel…

Tragedy And Exhilaration

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My life in Uptown is often a confusing mess of both tragedy and exhilaration!
My life in Uptown is often wrought with so much contradictory life and death! My life in Uptown is often surrounded by countless conflicts and celebrations! 
This chaos causes me to seek the needed space to breathe and pray. This chaos causes me to crave time to sit back and reflect.
This chaos causes me to covet a vacation away from all the hustle and bustle.

I enjoy my life. I love my whanau (family). I am happy!
I enjoy what I do. I love where my journey has taken me and the direction it's going; this journey has taken me and is taking me far beyond my expectations and dreams. I am truly blessed!
I enjoy the unexpected surprises that rock my world. I love how my life isn't controlled by anything mundane, but how things cling to me with unusual expectations and challenging dreams. I am optimistic and hopeful! 
The truth is, I really do love this life I'm blessed to be living. It's unusual and strang…