We talked with seventy-two people last night. The Deacons and my coworker Ben handed out socks, sandwiches, snacks, and hardboiled eggs. We didn’t see Dante in his usual sleeping spot and prayed that his absence was an indication that he was inside, safe, and warm. Alan loves Deacon Frank and told his friends to treat us all with respect. “Shut the F up, my church is here,” is a wonderful greeting to receive. Chad wanted prayer for his memory and asked how he could be praying for me. There was a man sitting twenty feet away from us screaming, “give it back to me” over and over again. Another man thanked us saying, “it may not seem like it, but it makes a difference when you guys come out here.” We walked around the corner and I got accused of being a pedophile and was told my church would be burned down. The threats and accusations came from a young man that was so drunk he could barely stand. On my way home that night I saw him walking in the middle of the street into oncoming traffic. I met a woman that believes downtown used to be a torture chamber. She said she has a bird in her head and that she used to be chained up inside a metal box. I spoke the freedom of Christ over her and she smiled. I had a great conversation with a young Native American kid about his art. We looked at pictures on my phone from a native owned gallery in the Pike Place market. He explained the art of the coastal tribes to me and the significance of the eighth generation. He said he felt inspired.
Our friend Nathan was thankful for the wheelchair we gave him last week. Considering that his last one got stolen, it was a miracle that he still had it. Who steals a wheelchair? He asked me why I was so quiet and how my week was. I told him about my new doors and how a friend was installing them for free. We both agreed that we were blessed. A woman cried when we told her that she was loved. I prayed for a young man that had just injected heroin into his arm. Blood was clotting under his sweatshirt while the Holy Spirit stood him up on his feet, reminding him that God has always had a purpose and plan for his life. He thanked me for listening and not preaching. I hope the Bible we gave him helps connect him to God and the sobriety he is seeking. His drug dealer was riding around us on his bicycle like a vulture circling roadkill. A woman stopped me and told me that she needed something spiritual. She asked for a prayer of protection. We prayed and she told me how God saved her from an abusive marriage. “The husband is gone, and God never left.” She has a level of faith that can move mountains. As we rummaged through our pockets, looking for the packets of salt to go with the hardboiled eggs, our homeless friends offered yells of encouragement and laughter. The eggs, incidentally, are hit and miss!
Thank you, Lord, for our time last night. I always learn who you are from people living on the street. “Be completely humble and gentle: be patient, bearing with one another in love (Ephesians 4:2).”