Making New Friends


Scott and I have found a new way to spend a Saturday night together.

For two and half years now Scott has been going into a nearby city to distribute bagged lunches to the homeless as part of our church’s homeless ministry.  Typically, I stay home with the kids while he goes.  In January, I had the opportunity of joining him.  I had been once before about a year ago, but still I was nervous.  Scott assured me it was safe and the people were friendly. 

They always stop on the same street corner at approx the same time.  People know this and gather there in expectation.  I had the opportunity to speak with a few gentlemen while distributing backpacks.  One man’s name was Joseph.  I was struck by the sense of hope he had.  He worked construction and told me had numerous licenses.  While he was without work at the time, he was quick to tell me about the many places in the city he had worked.  He also told me all about his one year old daughter and how he wanted to save for her college fund.  (His daughter was not on the street as she lived with her mother).  He visited her often he told me.

Next we went to the tent city.  It was a place I had never been and was most nervous about.  Scott had talked about it before, but it was nothing like what I had pictured. 

I’ll be honest.  What I pictured was a bunch of tarps with a fire bin in the center and I am ashamed to admit, drug dealers all around.

What I found was some of the kindest men I had encountered in a long time.

The tent city is located on the grounds of a church in the city.  The church bought the land to allow those in need to “set up camp” so to speak on their yard. Camp consists of cardboard boxes beneath them and layers of blankets and tarps on top.  Once they go to sleep for the night, they pull the layers tight over top of them to keep the warm air inside.  Once they are “in” they don’t like to get up and let the heat out.  Some people had boxes of their belongings piled beside them.  It looked as if they had recently left their home and this was all they could take with them. 

There was a man who knew everyone there.  He’d come up and ask for a bag for “so and so” who is 3 mths pregnant and laying over in the corner.  He knew everyone’s name, life situation, size and even though they were tucked in for the night, he was looking out for them, he’d come and ask for stuff for them and then walk with us to where they were so we could give it to them.  He didn’t need to do this, mind you.  It was obvious he cared about these people.  It was obvious they had formed a community here.  One man described himself as a resident of the tent city.  This was their home.  I so enjoyed meeting these people.

While we were there, one man ran several blocks to get his brother from the Vet Rescue Mission and asked us to stay until he got back. 

While we lingered, I had a long talk with a man named Timothy.  He was a Christian.  I didn’t hear why he was on the streets, but he’d been a resident of the tent city for several months.  When he walked up I introduced myself and asked his name.  He laughed.  I wasn’t sure what to make of that till later he told me he had a daughter about my age with the same name.  I struck a chord with him.  He lingered after we handed out lunches, chilli, and backpacks, so we got to talking about the Bible and he brought up the book of Job.  I had just read it the week previous and I told him that.  He then started talking to me about the leviathan.  I had no idea what he was talking about (kind of embarrassing since I had just read Job the week before).  He asked if I had THE WORD with me and I did.  So we got the Bible out and in the dim streetlight me and two men stood reading Job 41 and talking about how nothing is out of God’s control or reach, nothing is more powerful than Him, even the most powerful monster on earth.  It was a sweet time of fellowship.  

The man’s brother returned breathless.  He ran up to Scott and gave him a huge hug thanking him for waiting and for the backpack. 

As we left, I told Scott if I ever have to be homeless, which I truly hope is never the case, I’d want to live there.  I was truly moved by the selflessness I saw in that community.

Prior to Scott’s involvement in this ministry, I must confess I tended to avoid the homeless.  If I saw them on the street, I didn’t want to make eye contact with them.  Scott’s involvement has opened my eyes to the fact that they are people too, and instead of being afraid of them, we need to show them God’s love and kindness.  When he goes to deliver lunches or visits a rehab house to make dinner, he always makes a point to stop and talk and engage the men, to show them he cares about them and extend a hand of friendship.  He’s not just giving them a meal, he is giving them his friendship.

God has definitely placed the homeless on both Scott and my hearts.  After my last trip out with him, I am eager to join him again.  I’ve found some friends who are willing to watch the kids for us, so that we can now serve together in this ministry.  This is something that excites us both.


  1. First, allow me to say that your husband sounds like the kindest and most giving man. It's so easy to donate money to the poor and think you've done your job. Giving of one's time and one's self is a whole different story, though. Most people (myself included, shamefully and I will now think of a way to change that) will say they are too busy to give a whole evening or night or lunch hour to someone else.

    And even though you weren't always there you were giving up time as a family with your husband so certainly that is charitable also.

    What an amazing experience it must have been for you to accompany him. One I can only imagine. I, too, have a fear and nervousness regarding the homeless. There must have been nothing more amazing than reading God's Word with mere strangers and making such an impact on another's life.

    God Bless you and Scott.

  2. What a great mission you two are sharing. Scott's work has inspired me for years, and I too am looking for ways to help. But for God's grace, any of us could also be there. How touching that they care so much for each other - a humbling example for us also.

  3. What a wonderful, eye opening, post. Thanks for sharing your heart for this group of "the least of these" that God loves and wants us to serve. Very inspiring.

    With the economy the way it is, this ministry may become even larger and more needed in the near future.

  4. I know the tent city. It is across the street from the mission where my father works. I have seen them regularly and spoken to a few. I am so pleased God is using you and Scott and the others in this ministry to help them. My heart breaks for them. I can remember standing in front of Helping Up Mission Christmas morning, we were coming for the big Christmas lunch that they do, and seeing people freezing cold with nothing and wishing disparately that I had something to give them. It was then that I began to pray for them. Thank you.

  5. Love you girl! And that family of yours! Good reminder on days like we've had with the rest of the world falling upon us. How bad is it really and just like Moses never complained, just kept on moving forward to His Awesome God!

    Go forth!
    See you tonight!

  6. Awesome post! This gets me so excited I can't type the words fast enough! My town used to be a wonderful little place where your kids could play, leave the door unlocked and most people knew one another. Now we have quite a bit of poverty and people who are down on their luck and homeless. All of our industry left and some people turned to drugs and alcohol out of despair and a way to escape the fact that they can no longer provide for their families.
    You & Scott are doing something truly wonderful for these folks and I think they really just need someone who is willing to listen to them. Can't wait to hear more!

  7. hi there...found you through missy's post and thought i'd pay a visit to a fellow PCAer...

    what a great great that you can join your husband in it while the kids are being cared for...keep up the great work!

  8. It's awesome that you are able to serve together in such a touching ministry!

  9. Wow, this is a great, great post. Thank you for sharing your experiences!


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