JANUARY OUTREACH| It was a tough week to be living on the streets of San Bernardino. The city was on a mission to rid all parks of every homeless person and every trace of their existence.
It started early in the week at parks like Meadowbrook, where police and code enforcement officers descended upon the park accompanied by multiple trash trucks. Everything in the park that belonged to the homeless was confiscated and thrown into the trucks. Anyone resisting was handcuffed and put to the ground until the city’s task was finished.
When we arrived on Saturday at Wildwood Park, we were told by the homeless that they had been given their eviction notice early that morning. They and all of their belongings had to be gone by noon or they would face the same fate as those at Meadowbrook.
So, our outreach wasn’t the usual celebration with live music and open-air preaching. Instead it was one-on-one, with us carrying the hygiene kits, food cards, socks, Bibles, and water bottles in bags as we moved from place to place.
We prayed for all and cried with many. And, we assured them that God does care.
We stopped by Del Taco and picked up fiesta packs for all, so they would have at least one meal that day.
After an hour and a half, we left, in the comfort of our vehicle knowing we had a place to go and not knowing what the fate of any of the homeless would be.
In San Bernardino, being homeless doesn’t mean you sleep on a couch in someone’s house or in a friend’s garage. It means you sleep outside, in the elements with dangers more than we can explain here—including assaults, weather and starvation.
So when you get “evicted” from the patch of ground you’ve come to call home, you really have nowhere to go. You simply take what you can carry and move from place to place, losing a piece of yourself along the way.
The homeless people we’ve come to know will no doubt move on to other cities such as Colton, Fontana and Riverside. Then, after a few months, as the city relaxes they will move back to the same spots they once occupied in San Bernardino.
It’s important to note here that not every person on the street matches the stereotype. As we recently learned from a documentary, there are three main reasons a person becomes homeless: addiction, mental illness and “stuff happens.” Not all who live on the street truly want to be there. Rather, they make such statements as a defense against the hopelessness that can creep in otherwise.
It’s much easier to tell yourself you want to be somewhere than to fall into the despair of being trapped there.
A Call to Our Brothers & Sisters in Christ
All of this has broken our hearts. We have cried out to the Lord, and we are now calling out to you, our brothers and sisters to help. We ask that you begin to pray with us for God’s intercession. We ask that you search your hearts for what you may be able to give or do. The needs are great: spiritual needs for salvation and deliverance, needs for things we take for granted—food, shelter, medicine, showers, human contact and companionship—rehab and mental counseling and so much more.
It’s time for us to band together as the Church. It doesn’t matter what denominational sign may hang outside your house of worship. What matters is Christ living in you, and the call He has placed on all of our lives to share Him (and the gospel) with others and to give to the least of these.
In doing so, we not only honor the Lord but also render service directly unto Him:
“Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for Me.” (Matthew 25:40)
And consider joining us.
We are ordinary, everyday people called by our extraordinary God to serve and love others. No one involved in Domestic Missionaries is paid. We are all volunteers, responding to the love of Christ by loving others and serving in our local mission field.
We need your prayers and we need you.
Prayerfully look at the people and resources the Lord has placed around you, and seek how these may be used for His glory and for this mission field.
If you hear Him calling you to action, please contact us at email@example.com or 909.338.4301.
Our next outreach is February 13, 2016. The time and place will be announced—watch our Facebook page and our website (www.domesticmissionaries.org) for information.
Thank you for your prayers and support. We hope to hear from you.
Tony and Koren