Well-oiled machine

For the most part, street ministry is waiting. Waiting expectantly for God, for moments when a person is open to the possibility of new life. Sunday evening at the dinner church, I met Roland. He asked if I had a sleeping bag and explained that he was newly homeless. I offered to meet with him the following day. I would have a sleeping bag for him, and we could talk about different housing resources. I have a very low success rate for people showing up for appointments. One out of ten might be a generous estimate. Roland arrives on time and I am stunned. For street ministry this constitutes a miracle. We discuss his situation and some possible steps he can take. I give him three pairs of socks, two t shirts, and a windbreaker. He needs to get a negative covid test to get into a shelter. He has identification and a phone. Miracles number two and three. I tell him about the Tuesday dinner, and he writes the address and time down. Before we part ways, I offer to pray. I encourage him to stay hopeful. Because of the pandemic, it is not easy to get into housing or shelter. We pray and I think only God can help this guy. He is way to gentle and kind to survive out on the street. As were praying, I sense the presence of God, and can tell that Roland feels the goodness of the Lord as well.

The next day we meet at the dinner. He borrowed twenty dollars from his brother yesterday and was able to stay in a shelter that charges fifteen per night. Miracle number four. Roland has been busy talking with different service providers. He is enrolled with a mental health care agency and has what he needs to get referred into shelter. I call my co-worker and the dispatch center is ready for him. Through-out the evening I check my phone for an emergency, “They wouldn’t help me get into shelter” call. No such call comes, and I assume Roland is figuring it out.

The next day I receive an email that Roland has been placed into a Tiny House. This is literally, the greatest thing I have heard all year. I call Roland to make sure he doesn’t miss his appointment. He already has his keys. He thanks me and tells me it was just like I prayed. “God really does care about my life”. We make plans to meet for coffee and I lose track of the number of miracles in Roland’s life.

Michael Cox

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