Monday, December 15, 2008


Good afternoon, saints!

Praise God for warm clothes, warm homes and vehicles, refrigerators and quiet corners in our homes with comfortable chairs in which to rest and think on this cold blustery day!

After spending week after week down on Division Street, I hear that one of the struggles about being jobless, homeless (staying in a shelter or crashing at a friend’s indefinitely) is the daily uncertainty and noise. Countless brothers and sisters speak of the restlessness of not having a room of one’s own – not having privacy in the bathroom or privacy to gather one’s thoughts in a quiet space.

Whether the groceries are running low, the gas gage on the car is near empty and payday is still five days away, or the washer or dryer are on the fritz, most of us still have a comfortable bed in which to lie in peace at night. We still have the privilege of getting into our own vehicle where we can drive to the store for more groceries and collect our thoughts away from the noise of the outside world. We still have the ability to walk into our own kitchens and look in our own cupboards -- even if they do look a little bare at times.

The hope that lies in the stories of those we meet down near South Division Street is that Christ will meet, is meeting and has met them in their struggles. Some we talk to our richer than those the world calls rich because they are forced to depend on God for their well-being. HE may be all they have left because their families and friends are gone.

This reminds me of a testimony from Captain Guy Gruters on the Lighthouse Media CD Surviving with God in a Communist POW Camp. Gruters tells of his horrific five years spent in a Vietnamese POW camp. He says that he was closer to God and had a deeper relationship with him during those five years than any other time in his life because he truly knew that God was in charge of everything. He had to let go of his anger toward his captors or he knew it would kill him. Only by totally abandoning his will to God’s Will did he overcome his trials.

The bottom line is that we don’t need any possessions to do the work of Christ.
We can choose to be Jesus to those we meet all around us. We can choose to see Jesus in those we meet whether it’s on Division Street, in the workplace, the grocery store, our neighborhoods or churches, etc…All is takes is a smile, a comforting hug, a warm greeting. The brothers and sisters we meet are sharing these gestures and receiving them with genuine gratitude.

Blessed Mother Theresa had wisdom beyond ours as she cared for those whom society discarded because of looks and/or social class. If left to her own devices, she said her work would have been impossible. Only through the love of Christ were she and the Missionaries of Charity able to care for those whom society saw as insignificant because they were sick, had no job, no “worldly” purpose, etc…

This past Saturday afternoon another group made a trip downtown to South Division Street in G.R. We filled up our vehicles with hot pizzas, hot cocoa, hot cider, sandwiches, boiled eggs and fruit.
Parking in St. Andrew’s church lot across from God’s Kitchen was a good spot. So many who came over to us for pizza stayed around afterward to talk.
Through the generous donations of others at OLC and beyond, we had boxes of socks, gloves and scarves to pass out to our brothers and sisters in need.
We saw Doug, Neil, Gene and Tina again from our first day down there. They talked of some hard times, but were also a little more “hopeful” than the first time we met.

One gentleman, Daryll, was repeatedly thankful for his new fleece hat. He was wearing ear muffs that were a bit too small. He shared that he had worked at Steelcase and GM and is now “living” at Guiding Light mission following a divorce. He went to West Catholic and is searching for Christ. He was so happy to have some pizza – a luxury he hasn’t had in a long time. When I told him I was there because he is my brother in Christ, he said that meant a lot.

Another gentleman that was working at God’s Kitchen ran across the street in his apron to say hi and thank us for doing this. He said he was an alcoholic on the streets years ago and has been on his feet and dry for the past eight years. He said every lit bit helps to bring hope.

There were more women this week than ever before. Most were staying at De’Gage’. They were happy to receive women’s clothing items, which came through your generous donations! One woman, Tessa Mae, came back to thank us again after she had been gone for awhile. I gave her a hug and she just kept repeating, “God bless you.” She was full of the Holy Spirit!

Another brother, Martin, was full of life and stories. His past has been a colorful one, to say the least. His future is uncertain, yet the beauty of Christ in him is beyond my words. Shaking hands with him and so many others is one of the greatest gifts.
Those of us making the trips to GR know that we can’t fix the lives of those that we meet each week. We can make a difference, though, by planting seeds. We plant the seeds. God waters them. HE is in control of what happens next.

Here is a link to a recent GR Press article. One of the men we met showed us the article and his picture standing in line!

In this season of giving, please giving to those who won’t be able to repay you(Luke 6:27-35) by donating a Little Caesar’s gift card, hot cocoa, Styrofoam cups, and Meijer card. There is still a need for men’s and women’s gloves and coats. Our brothers and sisters really appreciate the hot pizza and drinks with the chance to socialize.
Also, let me know if you want to schedule a day to drive down to Division and become part of Christ’s bigger family. All you need is a vehicle with compass of Christ at the helm.

May the peace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ reign in your hearts, your minds and on your lips today and always!