We didn’t go to Love Park tonight. We decided that we would instead do something a little different. We went to the free library a couple of blocks from Love Park and hung out with a lot of people we normally would never see. The great thing about doing that is that the same people at Love Park would not attack us for food and drinks. Those who we talked to would be more open to talking first and then we could offer them a sandwich afterwards. Since they didn’t know us, and we didn’t know them, this would be fresh ground to do some ministry. I was excited that perhaps we could trade off Love Park every other week for the library or something. As I approached the park near the library, I have to be honest and say that I was a little worried. I was worried that we would not be welcomed as we were at Love Park. There was no “Love” sign for us to look at from time to time. We had one another and a few sandwiches to hand out. That’s it.
Instead of engaging with one or two people tonight, I thought I would do a couple of laps around the area and see the different types of people who made the ground their homes. My one friend thought that perhaps these people weren’t homeless at first, due to the many blankets laid out all over the ground. I shared with him that these are the blankets of homeless people who would soon find it to be their bed for the night. I was right. The place was dirty and smelled (worse than any smell I had experienced at Love Park). There were dirty socks and clothes all over the place. The trash was scattered across the park area and the dust that surrounded us in that area was intense. I had a couple of lunches, which got stolen from me from other people who had ran up to people to talk to them. I was a little upset about that because I had not had a chance to have one conversation with someone and already I had no lunches to offer.
I spent a lot of time in prayer and walking around. The stereotype that most homeless people are middle aged black people was quickly erased from my mind as I saw such a multi ethnic present in the park area. As I walked around, I found some friends who hand out vegetarian food to the homeless. They are this group called, “Food, Not Bombs.” They are a bunch of volunteers who go into dumpsters and get food from other places and make really good food for the homeless. A couple of friends I have made from that group were down there so I went over to hang out with them for a little
These guys are differently not the type of people you would expect to be doing this kind of work in the city. Some of them wear shirts that promote not buying coffee at starbucks and homemade clothes. Some also have a unique style of hair, several tattoos, and more piercing than I could tell you. Even still, they are doing a lot of great stuff. Check out their website and learn more about their activism. Anyway – I received a whole bag of fresh bread from a Panera’s and went to hand it out to people. I never thought I would be met with so much hostility. As I am about to hand people bread, they are telling me that they are not birds. I couldn’t believe people would pass down this bread. In the store it is so expensive. I guess I have more to learn about this kind of stuff or something.
Well we finally gathered for the night and prayed. I can only imagine what going to this end of the city will do for us. For once, people do not expect anything from us. We would also get opportunities to share Jesus with others. I think that is a great deal. I am sure we will go back to Love Park. But I think for a little anyway, we should stay where we were last night. That is just my personal suggestion though.