Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Homeless Bags

Blast from the past: this post should have been published back in August 2010 Do you feel awkward when you drive by beggar with a cardboard sign? I do. In her sermon a couple weeks ago Dawn (one of my pastor's at Jacob's Well) played a video of a woman named Ladonna Witmer speaking years ago, and something she spoke struck me hard:
If you talk to my roommate, Colleen, and you tell her about God's unconditional love, she'll just look at you and say, "well what have you done for the homeless lately?" Because if you can't prove to her that you... can take what you believe about love and show it in your life, then she's not going to pay any attention to you.
In a non-trivial way that was a life-changing moment for me, because I felt, I knew, immediately, that I had to do something about that. And the reality is I can’t help everyone, but I can make a difference in a few people’s lives. Long ago I’d heard from my Mom this idea of making bags of food and stuff to hand out, and keeping them in the car. So I went home and assembled some: gallon zip-lock, a Gatorade, water, and cereal bars. Hardly costs me anything, I buy that all in bulk at Sam's Club. But it’s something. On day 1 I was running late to a car appointment and passed a guy on the corner. I didn't see him in time to slow down, but after driving past felt a niggling feeling, so I double-backed and gave him a bag. He said "thank you", we talked briefly, he seemed educated, coherent, and I felt good about myself. My prayer was, "Okay God, no more people today, I'll get the rest of the bags in my car for tomorrow, I promise". I was convicted that I needed to do more of this. That night I brought the rest of the bags out to my car so I'd be well-stocked and ready. On day 2 I saw another guy, he might have had some mental issues and didn't seem quite as alert as the guy from day 1; but he mumbled a thank you when gave him the bag. He then went back to his street corner, threw down his sign, plopped open the bag and downed half the water right then and there. I guess he must have been thirsty. I realized I would have to make more of these little bags. This is worthwhile. And I've been doing it since, in some form or another. I write this blog post as a journal for myself, not because I want to guilt anyone else into following my steps, nor for anyone to give me praise. I don't want it. If you happened to feel inspired to do something of your own, then that's great! But truly, this is just my own personal journal.

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