Once again we made our trip to Love Park. I have just found out that we are no longer able to serve the poor there because it no longer actually belongs to the city! They sold the small plot of ground to the Federal government to make it a national park! What on earth? The homeless therefore have been kicked out of the park indefinitely. They will need to find a new place to sleep in the city. To me, it is sad. Why on earth would people want to kick people out of a place where they can sleep? They are not hurting anyone by sleeping on a bench. They have never begged us for money or harassed any of us for any reason. The homeless people we have dealt with from the beginning have been kind, honest, and teachers to others and myself. For many of us, going across the world to serve as missionaries is not as easy as it is for others. 20 minutes away from where we live is our mission field. It is where we go not once a year for a week but each Monday night. We will not be discouraged though. We will continue to go down there and love on these people. They are no longer strangers but friends who are in need of a hand up, not a hand out. I wish the city would realize that they are not helping the problem of homelessness. They are only making it harder for people to find a place to lay their heads. I am sure they will figure that out soon enough though.
Our trip last night was good. We were missing a couple of people who usually go down with us due to school schedules and other obligations but we had a great crew of people who were ready to serve. We brought down our usual sandwiches, coffee, and clothes and proceeded down to the subway to hang out. It was not as cold as it usually had been before but we felt that perhaps more people would be hanging out there than a lot of other places we could have gone. We also knew the area of the subway we go to quite well. We knew where we could set up and not get in the way of other people who passed by and how to set up our areas to serve those who were in need of a warm drink and a lunch.
It is amazing to me how God seems to provide just enough of what we need. We took down 31 lunches Monday night and somehow were able to give each person something to eat and drink. To me, that just means that God has blessed our ministry and our passion to serve others. It is always cool how God does that kind of stuff.
I didn’t see Keith tonight. I wondered if perhaps he had found a bed with his wife in that Motel. He was probably off somewhere doing something I will end up hearing about next Monday. I have no doubt he would do that. I guess I will just have to wait until Monday to find out.
As I was serving coffee, I met a guy named Bill. Bill was a broad shouldered black man, wearing a bright orange coat and a large black hat. He told me over and over again that people didn’t understand the homeless. They just thought they were all lazy and didn’t have a right mind about themselves. He said that perhaps people were lazy for sitting behind desks all day, eating chips and making tons of money to buy big things that made them even lazier. He said that people today only cared about themselves and never reaches out to those in need – especially those in their back yards. He was so thankful to see that we would take time out of our own schedules to help other people. He wished that more people would care enough to help out. We talked about sports, life, women, work, and the city. He was a down to earth kind of guy. He seemed genuine enough. As he prepared to go, another man (I didn’t catch his name) came over and shared with me that he had 25 blankets he wanted to give us to hand out to those in need. He was homeless a long while ago and was given these blankets for free when he needed them. He was no on the giving end and wanted to bless others with this gift. I just sat there and smiled.
As we gathered for prayer that night, I felt as though there was hope. Hope that people would learn to give back. Hope that we were doing something right and that we were making a real difference. Hope that I needed to continue to serve others because I know Jesus would have been right there with us. Hope. It is the driving force that sustains me and helps me forget the worries I have. It really is a beautiful thing.