I have been going to our outreach at Little Five Points almost every Sunday afternoon since the middle of September. We have been blessed with beautiful weather. I don’t think that it has rained once. It’s been mostly sunny with mild temperatures. Today, winter finally arrived. The temperature this afternoon was 36 degrees with a wind of 10 – 15 MPH. That gave a wind chill factor of 27 degrees. The only thing we had going for us was that when the sun was out it felt a little warmer.
Our goal as always was to share the love of Jesus and release the Kingdom where ever we could. But I also told the team that they needed to get inside out of the cold whenever they could. As the cold sets into the L5P area, you can just feel the darkness begin to increase. Any hope or joy that the people out on the streets might have is completely sapped by the cold. It becomes a matter of survival. What can I eat, how can I stay warm? Where will I sleep or how can I get high to relieve all this pain? So our job of releasing god’s love and bring hope will only be more important, and probably a little harder than in the past. But really it’s not about us anyway. We are just to bring the light of His love into the darkness. So the darker, the more bright will be His light and hope,
How do you release His love to someone who has so many needs? You can’t solve all their problems. You can’t fix hardly anything. When you leave, their physical situation will probably be the same. So what can I do? Probably the best thing that I can do is to actually build relationships. These are people. They need to be treated with love and respect. True honor is releasing honor to someone who doesn’t deserve it. So, we need to honor them. We need to listen to them and allow them to have a few minutes of dignity and respect. So, today, that is what I did.
It started as we were walking up to the main area. We had already decided that we were going to by some people coffee. This homeless guy with one eye came up to a couple of us and asked for money for food. We said we couldn’t give him money, but we would buy him a coffee. So we took him with us to the coffee shop. He said that he was hungry so I bought him a sandwich and a large cappuccino. Then I sat with him at a table in the coffee shop and I listened to him talk and asked him questions for probably over an hour. His name is Joseph and he grew up in the Atlanta area. He was in the service. I didn’t find out how old he was, but I know he was younger than I was even though he looked much older. He had no place to sleep tonight and I pray that he finds a warm spot. He never ate his sandwich. We bagged it up when we left. But he did drink his cappuccino as we talked. He is a believer, and I prayed for healing for his hand and for peace and a warm place to stay. Like most of the homeless that I have talked with, Joseph doesn’t like the shelters and only will go to them as a last resort.
After I left Joseph, I ran into Digger and Tim. Digger is a Viet Nam Vet. He served in the Big Red 1. He is suffering effects from Agent Orange and is fighting with the VA for benefits. He has a son who is a pilot in the Air Force. He and Tim seemed very nice and looked prepared for the cold. It’s fascinating to talk with these guys. Some are mean and won’t talk, others are friendly and just want company. They all have problems, obviously. But there but the grace of God go I.
It’s all about decisions and consequences. It’s about our attitude and how we react to problems. What did I learn today? Today I learned that all men and women need respect and love. I learned that God loves them in spite of their wrong doings and failures. They are His children, and He wants the best for them. I can at least meet with them over coffee, try to build trust and relationship and then hopefully bring the Kingdom to bear in their situation. Today was a good day. I hope that it was as good of a day for Joseph, Digger and Tim as it was for me. I know that God met me at L5P today. I think He met those guys too.