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Category: Testimonies
Topic: Intentional Homelessness as a Christian Calling

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Dear family,

I am just writing a little note to inform you of a wonderful article on the website for PRISM magazine that shares the story of Colette Gambiez and Michel Collard. They are a married couple in France who spend three quarters of every year out on the streets on France. The story of how they came to be called to minister to the homeless by taking on their lifestyle is fascinating and compelling.
Here's the link, which you can simply cut and paste into your browser. If the link doesnt work, just search for their names on the prism website:


Here's a short excert:
Creating opportunities for society's poorest members to give of themselves has become a central focus for Colette and Michel. An apparent oxymoron, the concept is at first jarring: receiving from those who have nothing? Finding hospitality among the homeless? But if we listen closely we will recognize in it the perfect logic of God. For if it is indeed better to give than to receive, as Christ said, then should we not extend the joyful opportunity to give to the neediest among us? Observe, with Jesus, the poor widow offering her last coins at the temple: in giving the little that she has to give, the woman not only expresses the quality of her love for God but also affirms both her freedom and her dignity. Who more than the poor needs to experience these precious gifts of giving?

When Michel and Colette allow the homeless to play host by inviting the couple to share their squat, their scavenged meal, the coins they've begged, the poor begin to see themselves in a different light. When the beggar becomes the giver, they write, a revolution takes place which reestablishes in him a lost or unsuspected dignity ... Traditionally, the poor man is he who cannot give, he who always receives without any hope of reciprocity, he who doesn't know and who must be taught.

P.S. I'm excited to hear from all of you about this article and to dialogue with you. Here are some questions to spark the dialogue:

--Does God call some of us to voluntarily give up our wealth and privilege, not just for a season, but for a lifetime, in order to identify with the poor more fully?
--What does it look like to "sell all your possessions and give to the poor" in America?
--What are some of the best ways to "give" to the poor?

Posted: 2005-08-31 16:35:00

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Hi my name is Rachael Haney and you want to hear something crazy. Well back when me and my friend read this book, about 2/3 months ago, we wanted to do the exact same thing. And as you said what a better way to relate to them, then to live among them. Oh how i Would truly love to just get out there and do it. Yet at the same time I want to make sure it is what God has for me to do at this season of my life. This is amazing!
Thanks for your time

Posted: 2005-09-14 21:48:00

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Hey Rachael,

It's good to hear from someone who is so excited about jumping outside the bounds of traditional life and into the grand unknown of life that is seeking to follow Jesus whatever the cost. Although I have not taken the step to enter into homelessness myself, I have spent much time contemplating this step and do think that it requires much prayer and seeking of the Lord. One of the things that has helped me to grow in faith has been reading biographies of individuals who have shown great faith. I highly recommend, in addition to "Under the Overpass" the following books--

Chasing the Dragon, by Jackie Pullinger
Jackie went as a missionary to Hong Kong with nothing to her name, and not even someone in Hong Kong that she could connect with or a mission organization to go with. She started a ministry among drug addicts and gang youth in the "walled city" of Hong Kong, and has a wonderful story to tell of God's work in her life among the poorest of the poor.

Rees Howells: Intercessor
This man of prayer lived by faith and gave up his job in order to trust that God would provide for his daily needs

Any biography of Saint Francis of Assissi
Saint Francis is perhaps one of the best known Christians who intentionally gave up their wealth in order follow in Jesus footsteps.

Your bro,

Posted: 2005-09-20 19:00:00

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My name is Kevin, I am attending a Christian college in Colorado and leading a homeless ministry. Every week we go down and talk to the homeless...pass out clothing and blankets...just simply be friends and hear their stories. For a while now I have wanted to live the "homeless" lifestyle, and then I heard about this book. That feeling of leaving my comfortable life and living on the streets is getting stronger and stronger, and becoming more real to me as life goes on day to day.

Working with the homeless through this ministry I'm leading has changed my life. I have been a part of the ministry for a few years now (this is my first year leading). I live in Denver and there is something about downtown that is attractive (and it's not the night life...the partying...the dancing...it's the homeless). The urine smelling dumpsters, the dark allies, the cold sidewalks under bridges. There is nothing like the smell of a homeless man, woman, or community (there is something about it that draws me in). The homeless will always be part of my life now (I'm just not quite sure how yet).

Posted: 2005-09-26 11:13:00

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Our God is SO AWESOME! It is exciting to read these posts about people who are feeling God's call to "step out of the boat" and join Him on the water!!! There is simply no greater adventure than to walk hand-in-hand with our precious Lord and Savior...particularly when He leads us "out of the box."

Someone else mentioned several other good books, and I will chime in and add that I recommend, "The Barbarian Way" by Erwin McManus. In it, he speaks of how our churches today have too often become "civilized, domesticated and docile." We carry the name of Christ as Christians, but all too often we have forgotten that Jesus started a revolution 2,000 years ago that rocked this little planet we live on. Jesus was different, He was radical, He had no place to lay His head or call home, He did hang out with the sinners, the sick, the lost, the shunned...and He was, quite literally, offensive enough that it got Him nailed to a cross.

McManus also talks about the fact that God chose a man as eccentric as John the Baptist to prepare the way for the coming of His Son...so while most of us today want to immediately send someone like John to counseling and medicate him, GOD had no problem with with his eccentricity. I find that to be so liberating in a day and age where as Christians, we are all too often made to feel that we should fit into a nice, little proper "Christ-like" mold...a mold that Jesus would NOT fit it were He to walk back through the doors of our churches.

This little book also speaks of how we are too often led to believe that if we are in the center of God's will, we will know it by the fact that our lives are going along without troubles or tribulations. We think that if problems arise, we must be outside of His will. But surely John the Baptist was in the center of God's will...and it got him his head on a platter! Stephen...stoned after one sermon. Jesus (God Himself!)...nailed to a cross.

Sometimes it's not until we actually get a little "unconventional", trust God to walk on that water, and do the very things that might freak other people out (we are adopting our second child internationally after having four bio kids, a complete God story on it's own, and we now have grandchildren older than our youngest kids...so surely, we fit into our own "eccentric" little mold for a lot of people...and there are other Christians who frown on our "unconventional" family, but we know we are exactly where God wants us because HE is the One who led us here)...but these are often the greatest adventures that lead to relying on our Lord and keeping our eyes on fixed and focused on Him. This is not what "the world" and many in the church would consider a "great" adventure...but we know that this is GODS adventure. And through these ups and downs and wild rides, our faith grows by leaps and bounds.

Posted: 2005-09-27 23:21:00

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Mike, are you speaking in Michigan in December

Could I have some details . May consider attending

Posted: 2007-11-28 00:52:55

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