Consistent faithful presence

Street ministry always feels like a work in progress. Like the bathroom ceiling fans at my house. I have the fans, just haven’t been able to install them. A friend of a friend installed one and fixed my hallway light switch. My father-in-law fixed my leaky faucet. Another friend of a friend installed new doors after my house was broken into. Reverend Rick Reynolds fixed my toilet! Those of us not experiencing the isolation of homelessness can take our access to help for granted. This week a woman sitting alone at a picnic bench in Pioneer Square thanked me for socks and handwarmers. We talked about the chilly weather and how my clerical collar helped me look less like a cop. She didn’t want to pray but shared some uplifting words of encouragement. “We are all in this together.” Another young woman came to the Capitol Hill community dinner and asked if we could baptize her. We are helping her find peace and wholeness as she navigates her new life of sobriety. She wept when I told her she was included in the story of God’s love. We met a man in Ballard who told me how Nightwatch had saved his life. “I was only homeless for three weeks. I was able to work during the day and get fed and into shelter at night with you guys. The way Nightwatch is set up really works!” In a moment of clarity, our long-time friend on the street who suffers from schizophrenia was able to call his dad and leave him a message. His dad called back and shared how grateful he was for our relationship with his son. Last night as I was walking to my car, I met a man with crutches kicking a wheeled basket with his belongings in it. He was on his way to Nightwatch for a meal and community. We talk about how he was hit by a car. He is grateful to be alive. “If I had been standing one foot over, I would be dead.” I walk with him to the dispatch center, and he tells me more of how God has helped him. I kneel and place my hands on his knee and pray for continued healing. The trust Nightwatch builds, repairs, and restores in the middle of extreme brokenness is truly miraculous. “But even when I am afraid, I keep on trusting you. I praise your promises! I trust you and am not afraid. No one can harm me (Psalms 56:3-4 CEV).” Thank you for supporting street ministry at Operation Nightwatch.

Michael Cox

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