Raised in a safe culdesac suburb. Attended a large Lutheran congregation. Didn’t help the homeless. Didn’t really know of their existence. Church was a club.
Was introduced to those living on the streets through The Salvation Army. Declared that this was NOT my ministry.
Was placed in Santa Monica. The Mecca of homeless. Had no bearings, context, or skill set to minister to them. It was too big.
Hid in my office for two years. Avoided contact. Cried. Failed. Failed some more.
The scales are coming off. Our friends have been praying fervently for Eric’s recovery. They genuinely love Eric. This love is changing people. In particular, me.
My heart breaks for these folks. They don’t want to be mentally ill. No medication. They don’t want to be sitting in their own filth. They don’t want to be treated like rabid dogs. They need love more than most. They are considered the worst.
Eric and I currently pastor a congregation of 100+ folks. Most are homeless. They call our church home.
I know why people don’t help. It’s unpredictable. Scary. Unpleasant to the senses. I did not see the homeless as people. I simply never saw them.
I am witnessing the transformative power of love. Our homeless friends are changing me. I am more empathetic, compassionate, and patient. I am closer to my Savior after having built relationship with our friends.
Christ’s love cuts through the messiness of homelessness. These are daughters and sons. Brothers and sisters. Mothers and fathers. I love these precious souls. Now that I finally see them.