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Category: Testimonies
Topic: Homeless shooting



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Comment Author Comment Text
artworks1

Member Since:
2006-12-07

I have always been a christian and never really doubted my belief in God. I am currently a third year architecture major in Philadelphia, PA and had not tried very hard my first 2 years away at college to find a church or even participate in a christian group on campus. However, this year, God really pushed me and had people reach out to me, to attend out Campus Crusade for Chrsit group. I have found a sincere group of people who I know I can trust with everything, especially to help guide me in my walk with Christ. Last month, I got the oppurtunity to feed the homeless in center city. I've always been a little leery of helping the homeless. I know it seems selfish, but I just felt like they could really get out of it if they wanted to. Surely any fast food restaurant or gas station would be willing to give them a job. Churches and shelters would provide a short-term home for them while they attempted to get on their feet. Anyways, I decided to go feed the homeless because I felt God wanted me to use this to strengthen and share my new-found faith. I also saw it as an oppurtunity to bond with the members from Campus Crusade for Christ. 7 of us went, 6 girls and 1 guy. It happened to be raining, so the normal spot outside in the open where they usually fed the homeless was empty. Our leader (who was a student herself) decided to head down to the entrance to the subway. It's under cover where the homeless would stay dry, but it's not exactly what you would think of as a subway area, more open. Anyways, we passed out PB&J's and chips and fruit to a couple people. We were down there for 20 minutes when we heard a gunshot. It was literally 20 feet behind us. I don't want to go into details, mainly because my mind doesn't really remember them. I just remember feeling like I was in a video game, running from the bad guy, but can't find the end of the level. We managed to run out of the area and into a bank where a police officer was. To make a long story short, the guy survived (he knew the shooter in some way) after being in critical condition for a few days. Our group had to be taken to the police station and each of us had to give our statements of what we witnessed. We eventually made it back to campus, strengethened in more ways than we could have imagined. My friend, who happened to be with me on that day, lent me this book. In the beginning I was just like so what? I felt like the authors could really have no idea what it's like to be homeless, because in the end they were going to go back to a home. If anything went wrong they could always call someone. But it really hit me, when they brought up the bible verse Matthew 25:40 - what you do for the least of these you also do for me. It hit me at that moment, that it doesn't matter how the homeless got on the streets or why it seems like they aren't doing anything to get off of them. What matters is that they are in need, at this moment, and I can do something to h

Posted: 2006-12-07 00:56:00
CJS

Member Since:
2005-07-07

How scary that must have been for you!
In the year we have been feeding the homeless I have been fortunate to not have a bad experience yet, but it is always in the back of my mind that most all of the homeless probably carry weapons, and some or most are probably high or in a desperate situation, or something, and that is a frightening thought! I am so happy you and your group were safe, I couldn't read all your message, but it is heartwarming to see how God changes hearts like yours and mine, so we are moved with compassion as Jesus is.

Have you gone back yet to help the homeless again? I hope so, it is such a blessing! We go to a public park, all out and in the open, they go there to hang out, sleep, or use whatever poison they desire. It could be dangerous still, even though it is a public place, because they are using drugs there, but I think that it helps that there aren't any enclosed places to get backed into a bad situation in. I think a safe, and very public location is key if you aren't in a shelter or mission, just because the enemy hates what we are doing and will do whatever he can to stop us. But God is stronger and his angels outnumber the enemy's agents, and if God is behind you, nothing can stop you, except your own fear.

I will pray for you and your group's safety, and please pray for mine. I feel scared before I go still, but while I am with the homeless, for some reason I have no fear, only peace, but we have prayed for protection, we stay in groups and never go off alone, and try to put on God's spiritual armor and keep it on, and we always have watchful eye on our surroundings. I feel almost like God's light is surrounding us protecting us from the evil that is close to the edge of that light. Does that sound weird, or have you or anyone else felt that?

May God bless you, guide you, protect you, and continue tranforming your heart into one fashioned after his very own.

Posted: 2006-12-16 02:00:00
artworks1

Member Since:
2006-12-07

I'm sorry it's taken me awhile to reply back, and I saw that my whole post didn't fit, but I didn't have enough time to rewrite it. I had gone back with a group one more time before the semester ended. 2 other people in the group had been with me during the shooting incident. It was a completely different experience. We stayed out in the open (thankfully God had provided us with a gorgeous 60 day in December). Our bags of food and clothes were gone within literally 10mins. One member of the group seems to have 'made friends with one of the homeless people. She has seen her every time she came to feed the homeless so the recognize each other. We stayed and chatted with her for about an hour before heading back to school. I remember reading in the book that what these people need more of is someone to just talk to, to know that they are human and not just something on the street. I felt that we were able to do that in my last experience.

Thanks for your prays and I will be praying for you. My biggest struggle is getting my parents to understand what I'm doing. My mom doesn't feel it's necessary for me to go out. She thinks there are safer ways, such as soup kitchens, to help the homeless. But for whatever reason, I really do feel called to actually venture into the city and reach out to the poorest of the poor.

It's ironic that you mention that you feel God's light surrounding and protecting you. The one member in our group (who has connected with the same woman every time she's fed the homeless) has kind of said the same thing. We always kind of joke that she is so calm, too calm, in certain situations. She never seems to worry, no matter how bad the situation seems (she never freaked out during the whole shooting incident). She says she doesn't know why she's so calm, but believes that God is in control of every situation and He is taking care of us all.

I don't even know if you'll read this response, lol, but I appreciated your reply. May God bless you and show His amazing work through you.

Posted: 2007-01-09 10:02:00
rew171

Member Since:
2006-11-27

that is some story, Art. But you are right, it does not matter what reason they are there, only that they are and that they are in need. No ifs ands or buts, Jesus says to serve. I am glad you read Mike's book. I got to meet him and he is down to earth and seems like a great guy.

God bless,
Josh

Posted: 2007-01-18 17:16:00
CJS

Member Since:
2005-07-07

Hi Artworks,
Thanks for responding, and sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you. I am so glad to hear you are able to continue to go out with a group, and didn't let the shooting sway your determination, obedience, and compassion.

I understand your parents point, my church and my husband both told me the same thing. They wanted me to work with an already successful group, because it is safer and easier. Well, in my life God rarely calls me or anyone else to do something the easy way, he calls me to do something that NO ONE else is doing, because it NEEDS to be done. And usually it seems impossibly difficult, but with God, all things are possible. While my church and husband were telling me I shouldn't be going down and feeding the homeless with my group of friends, God at the same time was telling me I should, to trust in HIM, and HE would work on my husband's and church's heart. And God has, a whole year later, now both my church and my husband support me completely in my monthly outings to feed the homeless, and now they are even proud of me, and seem to have forgotten that in the beginning they didn't want me to do it. God is amazing! Trust him to work on your parent's heart, he is much better at it. If it is God's will then it will happen. But, wait on him, it takes time.

So, my advice to you is PRAY, PRAY, PRAY for direction, take your parent's concern to God, and ask God what he wants you to do. And if you feel in the deepest part of your heart that God does want you to keep doing what you are doing, pray the he convicts your parents, so they see with their heart, what God's will for you. And pray that GOd makes a path for you to continue your obedience, and your safety, and that His will be done in your life, and that he takes care of the opposition, I can promise you and Jesus promised you, that you will receive. The opposition you receive should just show you that you are on the right path, and then when God takes care of the opposition for you, then you know with the utmost certanity, that you are doing his will. But remember some opposition God allows to strengthen us, and other oppostion he will protect you from. Trust in Him no matter what oppostion you receive.

We have to remember Satan HATES us and what we are doing with the homeless. He likes them where they are, addicted, hopeless, and hurting. He doesn't want us coming around them shining God's love, light, hope, and peace among them. I believe this with every fiber of my being, Satan has NO defense against God's unconditional love and grace and our own life's testimony. What powers me is knowing that without a doubt that when God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and all the angels are working toward helping me be obedient in God's will, what can man or the enemy do to me? Only our own fear, lack of faith, and disobedience can defeat us.

My prayers are always with you, and thank you for yours! God bless you!

Posted: 2007-01-31 10:35:00
 




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