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Showing posts from February, 2017

Insignificant Mustard Seeds and Tainted Yeast!

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Before I came to Chicago, I drove a taxi in my home city of Auckland, New Zealand. And man, did it affect my outlook on life! Forever.
If you ever want your naivety and innocence challenged, if you ever want to see and experience new things, if you ever want to be shocked and crushed, if you ever want to go on a long emotional roller-coaster, drive a taxi and choose the graveyard shift! You go into the job one way and come out another, your view of humanity will change forever. People love to reveal their deepest darkest secrets to the lonely taxi driver, and on top of that, what's done in secret, in the dark, in the shadows, is so different than what's done in the open and in the light! 
One of the major lessons I learnt during that time was, it didn't matter who sat in my cab, and I drove people from all spheres of life, from very rich to very poor, from celebrities to street kids, from gangsters to church folk, life seemed to be about getting more power, money and control…

A Slave To Sin

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Last week, Ricky came running up to me; he was very upset and stressed out! In fact, he looked downright scared. 
He told me how he'd made a promise to God and broken that promise. He was scared of what would happen to him, so he asked me a bunch of questions; Would God forgive him? Does God still care for him? Does this broken promise mean that God would now reject him and cast him aside? Would God listen to him?
His fear was real. His grief was real. He wanted to do right, he wanted to change, but he'd slipped up! It wasn't his first time and he was tired of losing battles, so he was beating himself up and felt God was in the business of beating him down too. 
Ricky has actually come a long way. He's in recovery, he's been sober and clean for some time, but his struggle now is with those dreaded cigarettes. He felt it was his time to overcome this struggle too, so he promised God that he would never smoke again. But, you know how it goes, it was just a matter of ti…

Remembering An Uptown Gem!

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Earlier this year, Uptown sadly lost one of her regulars; a veteran of both the war in Vietnam and the mean streets of Chicago. Through all his trauma and tragedy, I will always remember Dan as a peaceful soul who loved to read novels and chill out with a couple of his buddies. Even though it came to him, Dan was someone who make every effort to steer clear of the drama. No matter what was going on, I always loved to bump into him and have a good chat with my older buddy! 
I knew Dan in many circumstances, over many years. I knew him at the shelter, I knew him as he slept behind the CVS, I knew him when he stayed at Friendly Towers, I knew him when he slept under bridges and I knew him when he got his final apartment. I walked with him throughout his complicated and emotional journey; it can be a tough and joyful experience to walk with someone through their homelessness, their evictions and their eventual housing. This is especially true for someone who served his country and was lef…