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Category: Testimonies
Topic: Hopelessness in Chicago

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I just finished reading your book and was truly amazed to see God work in many of the situations you experienced on your journey. It was also a shock to see many of the reactions of Christians. Here we are, the body of Christ, commanded to love others - yet we are so caught up in our comfort zone that we fail to look past our own selfish desires.

I just started my first year at DePaul University(majoring in Information Systems, Mike), and commute via train to downtown's Union Station. On a typical school day, I pass about 5 homeless people. When school first started, I usually gave some of them spare change every now and then and continued on my way. It pained me that there were so many and I felt restricted in what I could do to help them because of my college-strained checkbook. I obviously would go broke if I gave money or bought lunch for every homeless person I came across.

About halfway through my first quarter, I heard your radio broadcast on Focus on the Family and was challenged to do something more than just give spare change here and there. I started to notice an older gentleman that stood outside Union Station on a regular basis panhandling. From that point on, every time I passed him I made sure to spend a couple minutes talking with him and occasionally bought him a coffee or meal. A couple times I was able to pray with him as he talked about his suffering health and hard time finding work. It was extremely encouraging to me when he told me how he always looked forward to chatting with me when I came by. One day, during my last week of school for the quarter, I was almost brought to tears when he told me about how sick he really felt all day and was planning on going to the hospital as soon as I stopped by and prayed with him. I could see the hope in his eyes that day.

I had been constantly asking God for wisdom about dealing with so many homeless around me and He showed me what really mattered - love and relationships. I cannot help every single homeless person in Chicago by myself, but I can help the one's God put in my life by showing them the love of Christ.

Posted: 2005-12-25 22:37:00

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I have been all over the country and have slept may nights in the Chicago Greyhound (been thru the Union also). I think it's great you take an interest in people there. Most people just walk by and cant even manage a hello.

Posted: 2005-12-30 19:49:00

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hey paroikeo, i direct a warming center not far de paul, in logan square. it's a day time drop in center for the homeless folks in our community to get out of the elements, get food or clothes, and just hang out and fellowship during the day when the shelters are closed. you are welcome to come by and check it out. the website is http://thenewcom.com/warmingcenter.html; you can my contact info through that. blessings!

Posted: 2006-01-05 12:28:00

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Hi there, my name is Corinne and I work at McHenry County Pads in Illinois....it is
a homeless shelter/day center where the homeless can come during the day to get warm, take a hot shower, have a hot meal, work on a resume and hopefully get a job. I see so many people trying so hard to find work....some of these people have come from very affluent backgrounds...they have worked for large corporations who have downsized and let them go....mostly men, who's wives have left them, taken their children away and left them to figure it out on there own. Here's the problem...no one wants to hire a homeless man...if you don't have an address.....you can't get a job! Even the library won't give these guys a library card to use the computer to find work if they don't have an address! Can you believe it!!!!
On the bright side....Some McHenry County Churches have opened their doors to the homeless men and women in our area in the evenings from 7 pm to 7am during the winter months so that they have a warm place to sleep....thus, PADS...because that's what they sleep on....PADS...PADS stands for Public Action to Deliver Shelter.
Everyday I see the homeless, some chronic alcoholics and drug abusers, some with mental illness and some with tramatic brain injuries, others who have been homeless for so long they don't know any other way to live, others still who end up on our doorstep not knowing where else to go for help......we even have one man who came here dying of cancer who's family won't help him......
Life will change for all these guys come April when the church sites shut down and they have to find another place to sleep....
This year we have no sleeping bags or tents for them and no sign of donations coming in...which leaves us praying alot.....
All in all though these guys have alot more than some homeless do.......

Posted: 2006-02-14 14:02:00

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Reading this gives me excitement for what God is doing. I am reminded, that (unlike mike and sam ;) ) the homeless did not choose to be homeless. God has been placing the people of inner-cities on my heart. I'm not sure where it's going yet, but the passion keeps growing, and becoming more intense. This summer I was able to work at a Christian camp for the kids in Chicago (more specifically south side neighborhoods, and Cabrini). To be a part of that was amazing. To see God work in the hearts of these kids and teens.....wow. And I probably learned more about God this summer then they did!! God gave me a passion for these kids, but the passions He's instilling keeps growing. It's expanding beyond just the kids....it's for every person in the city. And it's overwhelming!!!! Anyway, I'm just rambling on in my excitement because 1) I just finished the book, and 2) I saw someone posting about Chicago. Haha so I'll stop now.

Posted: 2006-03-14 23:53:00

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Posted: 2006-03-20 23:22:00

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I'd like to ask cssholtz if she knows where the homeless that use the McHenry county PADS church sites sleep after April. I just recently started volunteering at the Saturday night church site, and was told that they go to a place they call "tent city" in Crystal Lake. I was thinking of trying to help out with food in some way after the church sites close. Just don't know where to go.Any suggestions?

Posted: 2006-03-29 19:51:00

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