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Category: Testimonies
Topic: Voluntary Homelessness

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Comment Author Comment Text

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My name is Chris Lahr, I am the city director for Mission Year in Philadelphia. This past week someone doing mission year in Chicago turned me on to this book. I'm glad she did. I think more christians should embrace voluntary homelessness now and then.

Between 1992-95 I used to spend a lot of time hanging out with homeless people in Philadelphia. On occasions I would also go and spend a night or so on the streets, no money, no food, just a butt-bible (pocket Bible) and desire to hang with people and be with God. I cannot share all the things I have learned or script about all the people i have met, but one thing is for sure, I am different.

Currently I am working with 21 young adults, who have committed themselves to living in a poor urban neighborhood, serving among the poor for a year. Over the past couple of months I have been able to take these young adults (18-29) (I'm 33 so I guess I am quickly approaching middle-aged!) down into center city on pizza runs. We simply get a few pies (pizza) and go and hang out with homeless people. We usually grab a couple of slices ourselves and simply hang out for a while. More than once those we are hanging out with have commented that we are a little different than others whoi hand out food and move on. We stick around, hang out, eat pizza with them!

A couple of weeks ago I had everyone from mission year meet downtown at our office. I brought the doughnuts and explained the activities for the day... They were instructed to "dress down", work clothes preferably. They weren't allowed makeup, cell phones, and absolutely no money! I sent them out for about 8 hours to a 20 block radius of center city and told them to just "be". They were encouraged to hang out with homeless people. They also had to be creative with finding lunch... they could ask someone to buy it for them, eat out of a trash can, find hand outs or panhandle. It was amazing to see the struggles many of them had. They could not believe how they were treated for simply holding out a cup, they were really hungry, they really wanted to eat. What also amazed me was how affected they were when they received compassion from people. Yes its true, it was our homeless friends who hooked everyone up the most.

I often teach that if you want to be able to "give" to the poor, you need to learn what it is like to receive.

Just thought i would drop a note. I'm glad you embarked on the journey! Keep it up! Peace. chris Lahr

Posted: 2005-11-26 09:50:00

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Hi- My name is Cassie Setter. I am currently attending Baptist Bible College in Clarks Summit Pennsylvania, I am interested in getting involved in you mission. I have a heart for the Homeless. Growing up in Detroit Michigan I have seen a lot of homeless and never done anything about it. I am willing and would love to get involved anywhere needed. Please if you could let me know of anyway that I could be of service or an area of need, I would be interested in helping.

Posted: 2006-01-11 13:38:00

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