NOVEMBER HOMELESS OUTREACH | We arrived last Saturday to find foul conditions in the park. Mattresses, bedding and shopping carts filled with possessions cluttered the large gazebo, and the normally clear concrete floor was littered with trash and urine.
In the midst of the filth, we encountered both anger and kindness. Anger in the form of a homeless man who bitterly said, “That’s what you get when you come to hell to preach.” Kindness in the form of another homeless man, who greeted us warmly and began doing his best to help clean up the area so we could “have church.”
It was a profound example of how two people faced with the same bitter circumstance can respond so differently.
As you might guess, the man who responded in kindness has attended our “church” before and, although he still struggles with drugs, he hopes for a better future. The angry man wanted nothing to do with the Word of God.
Yet, amazingly, that angry man eventually joined us and listened to the Word being preached. Praise God for the power of His Holy Spirit to minister to angry, hurting souls!
In all, 33 people joined us for “church” in the park. Along with love, prayer and the Word of God, they received information on where to get help with shelter, food, medical needs, and other support for those experiencing homelessness. All 33 received bottled water, a food card, a hygiene kit and clothing. We also gave out 12 blankets and several jackets to those needing them for warmth. (The need for blankets, jackets and rain ponchos will rise substantially as we move into the winter months.)
People also eagerly accepted the 25 pocket-sized Gideon Bibles we had available, and many grabbed the donated books, devotionals and magazines.
Our sincere gratitude goes out to our faithful volunteers Paul, Judy, Christine and Robert and also to our daughter Shannon for their help. Thank you also to Aimee and Izzy’s Girl Scout Troop for helping make hygiene kits; Mick, Candy and Jonas for financial donations; Brett for the books and magazines; Kathy for the sweaters and coats; Crestline First Baptist Church for prayer and support; and, the Gideon Lake Arrowhead Camp for Bibles.