It’s a fully immersive experience; sitting in a homeless shelter. The scent is overwhelming. Ripe. The sounds of bodily functions and snoring abound.
Low barrier ministry; folks are loaded. A gentleman is rolling around on the floor, far off of his mat. Hoping he doesn’t wet himself tonight.
Most are grateful to be out of the below freezing temperatures. A safe place to rest. Perhaps clean up in the bathroom. Wash some clothes. Refresh one’s physical body. Restore some dignity.
She was distraught upon arrival. Her face severely scratched. Sat with her. Prayed with her. She took three fistfuls of pills nonetheless. Had to call 911. She began insulting us for allowing her to take so many pills. Let us know how stupid we were. Ended up leaving abruptly. Only to be followed by the paramedics. Praying she gets the needed professional help. At least for tonight.
These folks are truly torn up. Covered in their own filth in some cases. Hungry and cold, with no place to lay their head at night. In our current culture, this is the least. They are alone in this world.
In my ignorance I ask silly questions to myself. Like, where are your families? How did you end up sleeping on the street? How long have you been unhoused? How are you keeping a job while sleeping on the streets? Where do you shower? Clean your clothes? Where do you get your food?
What can we do for these suffering children of God? So many of them are addicted. Mentally ill. Some with disabilities. We have two blind men, and three hearing impaired guests.
We can open our doors to them. Extend kindness and hospitality. Even in a shelter setting. It’s in our intent behind the act. Folks know if we care or not. They feel it.
Lord, may I love the unlovable. Befriend the friendless. And earnestly minister to those in the margins. Help me to live these aspirations out in tangible practical ways, so that they are more than just platitudes. I want a life lived for Jesus. May I reflect His shining light to a dark world.