We met Brett last month. He was living in a tent next to the freeway onramp. We introduced ourselves and gave him some socks, gloves, and a sandwich. Standard issue survival supplies. The next week we gave him a beanie, more socks, and more sandwiches. He didn’t come out of his tent or talk with us. His buddy took the survival supplies and thanked us. Sometimes people are getting high in their tent and are ashamed or embarrassed to talk to us. Other times, people just want to be left alone. The next week we saw Brett in a doorway organizing his backpack. It was freezing cold and raining. The wind added insult to injury, making it impossible to stay warm or dry. Brett was chatty. He had just survived a near death experience. He was asleep in his tent when a truck lost its brakes and smashed into him. “I should be dead. I don’t know how I survived.” We prayed thanksgiving for miracles and gave him a brand-new sleeping bag. The next week we saw Brett in a different part of town. We talked again about how God saved his life. I reminded him that he was a walking miracle. Its amazing how quickly we dismiss the miraculous. Brett began to cry. He shared how he believed in God and how God had blessed him in the past. He shared how he is trying to get clean from drugs. How he is apprehensive and afraid. We exchanged numbers, prayed, and made plans to connect next week for coffee. Operation Nightwatch creates a space of trust and vulnerability on the street through consistent respectful listening. People experience God through people. It is through tear- soaked eyes that Brett can say, “I see God in you guys.” “You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples (Psalm 77:14 NIV).”

Michael Cox

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