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Happy 4th of July everybody!

I hope and pray that you all have had a safe and fun 4th of July! What an incredible holiday, celebrating our Nation's heritage and triumphs toward freedom!

I was actually in downtown Portland celebrating tonight with my roommates. Just a few hours ago, several hundred thousand people were milling about the waterfront area where Sam and I spent so many days and nights 2 years ago. I couldn't help but remember the 4th of July that year which we spent in the shadow of the Washington Memorial in Washington D.C. It had been an unbelievably hot day, and we found ourselves exhausted and dehydrated when quite an impressive fireworks display finally began.

As was the case last time I was downtown, it was strange to be in the heart of Portland. Strange not because I dislike the city or am uncomfortable after having lived there for a month, but rather strange just because everything seems so familiar. The location where we watched the fireworks display this evening was only about 100 yds. from the Hawthorne Bridge, Sam's and my shelter from the rain on more than one stormy evening. I looked for anyone that I might recognize, but the sheer number of people made finding someone in particular impossible.

About two weeks ago I was in Portland for a couple of hours and decided to try an experiment. I went to the same burrito place that Sam and I had gone by the waterfront, bought a bunch of burritos, and then spent the next hour walking around handing the burritos out and enjoying some of the lengthy conversations that followed. It is amazing to me how much relationship can come out of something as simple as a burrito.

What if we were to commit that on our lunch break (especially those of us who live in the downtown areas) we would buy or bring two helpings of our lunch and then hand the 2nd helping out to someone we pass on the streets later that day. I think the impact would be amazing. Of course it's not only about food, but more about human interaction and being Christ to one another. But the burrito was an open door through which relationship could walk.

In other news, a few other really exciting thing are taking place this week. Tomorrow I am actually moving to central Oregon where Danae lives. She and I decided that although Portland is really a very cool place, she and I need to be in the same place as we draw closer and closer to our wedding day. I'm so excited!!!

Finally, tomorrow (July 5th) and Wednesday (July 6th) are the days that the Focus on the Family radio broadcast regarding Under the Overpass will be aired. Pretty amazing stuff. Please pray with me that the Lord would accomplish exciting things for His glory through this opportnity to be a guest on Focus on the Family. You can find a local station which syndicates the Focus on the Family broadcasts by going to www.fotf.org and seeing what they've got listed for your area. Please pray that the Lord would be glorified through Under the Overpass and all that has happened, is happening and will happen as the story gets told!

Hope you have an incredible week!

Grace and Peace.

Comment Author Comment Text

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Mike - Heard you on FOF this morning (KTIS 98.5 in St Paul MN). I was very moved by hearing your story and look forward to day 2. I work in downtown St Paul and occasionally encounter people on the street who are looking for money. Given your experiences, do you have any insight as to how a Christian should respond? Quite often the stories that are given are far-fetched...but I can't say I would do anything different if I were in their shoes. My concern about just handing over money is what it will be used for... Drugs? Booze? If I pull out my wallet will the credit cards, etc. that are visible be a temptation (i.e., do I put myself in danger)? I grew up in suburbia and have no experience to draw on... Any thoughts that might help me?


Posted: 2005-07-05 10:06:00

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What's up man?

Wow! I heard your story on WNIV am 97 here in Atlanta while driving to work this morning. I am so inspired by what you did.....and what God is doing through you.

I pray that he'll continue to use you to CHANGE THE WORLD!!!!! with acts of kindness, decency, humilty and raw service of mankind!!!

You have challenged me to grow, be a servant, to care, and SEE what's going on around me.......

The comment you made about how the child could SEE you? WOW!!!

God is good, all the time, God is good!

Go brother! Serve him, Honor Him!



Posted: 2005-07-05 11:07:00

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Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your obedience to God's calling, for your boldness, faith, and testimony. I had not even heard of you until two days ago. My friend called me to tell me about your story and your book that she heard about on the radio on the 5th and 6th and how similiar the two ministries are.

See, the amazing thing is, the same day you were on the radio, at the same time, my chuch was calling me to tell me that were not going to help me with the homeless ministry that God has placed upon my heart. At the same time you were on the radio, I was at the point of just giving up, so frusterated and heartbroken, and I was crying out to God,

"Why have you placed the homeless on my heart, and now the church won't help. What do you want me to do God, do you even want me to do this ministry, is it from me or is it what you want? I am only one person, I need help, I need volunteers who are pure in heart, I need words of encouragement because Satan hates what I am doing, and he is pounding every part of my life to stop me. What do you want me to do Lord, what? If you want me to go forward without the church, please send me volunteers and words of encouragement."

Then, my friend called me and told me about you. The details I believe God has given me to start a homeless ministry are so similiar to what you are doing, it is no accident. I just heard about you, and I of course have not read your book yet, but I have ordered it, and can't wait to get it.

Because of your being on the radio the past 2 days, and my friend heard it, and then she called me to tell me about you, and now I know without a doubt, that God wants me to go forward. He has placed 10 volunteers in my lap practically, who want to help me pass out food and talk to the homeless, and remind them of God's unconditonal love by listening and praying for them.

It is scary because every part of life is being pounded by Satan, but then at the same time, God blesses me hundredfold for every attack I go thru. I posted more details about me and this ministry on the bulletin board, but I just wanted to say thank you, and God is using you in powerful ways, to help people like me, who only want to do God's will and work. God used you to encourage me, and because of your radio show, I am more passionate then ever about starting this homeless ministry, thank you so much, and Praise God.

I know you are so super busy, but if you have any words of advice for me, I would really appreciate it. But if not, I know your book is going to be awesome to read. Thank you for walking actively in faith.

God bless you,
Cathy Speck

Posted: 2005-07-07 14:48:00

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i heard u speak at the covention on the 16th street mall in denver colorado and it really inspired me to help out the homeless and see what i can do for god. if you could help me with finding ways to help the homless that would be alwsome. so if u can e-mail me at sora1012000@yahoo.com cause you really moved me with that speach you gave. i know that i'm only a 14 year old boy but i feel that i can make a difference now cause of you

god bless u mike and save travles

James Lynn

Posted: 2005-07-12 13:54:00

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Our agent, who also happens to be your agent, gave us each a copy of your book recently. Your story really made us think, and we decided to feature your book and post our thoughts to the Hall of Justice page on our website. Each month or so we feature different issues we would like people to be thinking about.

You can check it out at www.panicsquad.com. Just click on the Hall of Justice link. Feel free to email us your own thoughts and we will post it on our blog.

Thanks for your courage and commitment to do something extraordinary. While your experience obviously changed Sam and your lives, it is impacting countless others as well as we read your book. God's best to you and congrats on your upcoming wedding.

Andrew Bright

Posted: 2005-07-13 11:44:00

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I heard you on FOF last week and ordered the book from amazon.com. I was challenged and encouraged by so many things that you wrote that I hardly know where to start. Thank you so much! Thank you for listening to God's voice and his leading. Thank you for sharing the lessons you learned and are continuing to learn.
I never knew quite how I should respond to the hurting homeless in this world. Now I know where to start!
Thank you also for sharing so humbly and honestly about your struggles during the trip. I was convicted and challenged by the story about your argument with Sam about the relationship between faith and action with regards to salvation. I very easily slip into arguing my convictions out of pride instead of humility.
Thanks for reminding me that "We are all equally privileged but unentitled beggars at the door of God's mercy" (Brennan Manning).
There were so many Godly insights you shared that I had to keep putting it down to stop and pray... and had to keep picking it up to find out what you learned next (I finished the whole book in an afternoon). Your book challenged me in so many ways that I'm going to read it a second time. I've been a Christian a long time and had a lot of diverse, eye-opening experiences, but your book was a bold, fresh challenge to look at my world and to look and my God, and in God's strength be a difference-maker. Thank you so much! I believe that God is going to and use your Jouney of Faith to make waves and touch lives accross America and around the world.
In the grip of grace, Anna M.

P.S. I am praying for you and Danae, that God will bless you richly keep you bold and humble all the days of your lives.

Posted: 2005-07-13 18:29:00

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It is 3:45 AM and I just finished your book. I, too, heard you on the radio and was inspired to buy your book and read more about your experiences. Now that I have read the last page, and closed the book, I have so many thoughts running through my mind all at once that I want to share. The words on the pages of your book brought me tears, to laughter, to revelations. I felt at times, that I was with you on those streets because you touched my soul and stirred my heart. But mostly your book confirms the realities of living anywhere, under any circumstance, under any conditions, for Christ. What a wake up call!

We all have a story to tell. I thought mine was unimportant until I read your book. I thought my prayers were humble, until I read your book. Prayer after prayer I have asked the Lord to allow me to serve Him in a special way. Day after day, I wait for Him to show me what that might be. And then day after day I go about my life ... waiting. Have I missed His call? All those moments that stop me in my tracks, that certain circumstances, or people weigh heavy on my heart, that thoughts repeat in my mind as I fall asleep - are THOSE moments His call?

I will pray differently now - I will listen differently as well. Nothing crosses our path that is not planned by our God. The experiences that I read from your book have supported some heart felt feelings, encouraged some doubts and inspired my faith.

Thank you - for giving God the glory in your walk and for sharing it with the world.

Keeping you in my prayers,

Posted: 2005-07-15 03:06:00

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I am the Director of a homeless ministry in Dallas Texas......my father was listening to the radio last week and called to tell of your story and the name of your book. I have just finished reading it and I was inspired to by it.
This ministry has been in operation since 1999, it started out by taking a van to the downtown Dallas area and busing people to our Church in Farmes Branch Texas. We then changed directions and started going to where they were at, this opened a whole new aspect of the minstry for us. We are now currently at a stand still as the city of Dallas is putting into place a city wide restriction to those "who feed under the bridge and on the street" to go to remote locations or we will be fined from 200.00-2000.00. I was upset to say the least, but after reading your book...I began to realize that we don't HAVE to take food for the body....but we can go and give love and learn to listen. I take on average about 12 kids with me and several adults from our church to do this. I know now that I need to show these kids there is more to this ministry than taking them food and drink............they need to learn to just sit and listen with an open heart and allow the Holy Spirit to use them. (don't get me wrong we always take the love of Christ but with it we take food)
I believe fully that EVERY outreach mnistry, shelter and even church member should read your book. I will be having my group this.
Thank you for your heart to follow after the things of God..because you are right......in Matthew 25:35-36 it clearly tells us how to live as Christ.

God bless you in your ministry
Dawn Tunis
Director of The Bread of Life ministry in Dallas Texas.

Posted: 2005-07-18 13:35:00

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Hey Mike,
I heard your interview on FOTF on my way to the beach with my daughter her friends and my niece. My daughter and her friends weren't too interested but my niece who isn't saved and has literally no knowledge of Christ whatsoever, really listened. She started asking me questions and it gave me an oppertunity to share the gospel with her. I ordered your book adn read it within one 24 hour period. I couldn't put it down. God has been really been putting the scripture on my heart about doing for the least of these... I am so blessed by your experiences and although I so try to feed people when I encounter them instead of give them money, I can honestly say that I will never look at the homeless the way I used to anymore. When I see them, I see Christ, and if I say I truly love Him, then I love them too. Please pray for my niece Suzanne(19), I am giving her the book to read.

Posted: 2005-07-21 21:32:00

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MIke: I just finished your book that was given to me by the uncle of a classmate of yours. I worked for over 20 years in a city detox and so many of the folks you mentioned reminded me of them. Most of the folks I worked with lived on the street. How I admired their creativity and their own code of ethics. Thank you for the courage and foresight to feed the hungry, clothe the poor and be willing to live with those who are among the forgotten, ignored and despised. You and Sam have truly loved your neighbors and seen how they have lived.


Posted: 2005-07-22 13:30:00

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Greetings, Mike:
First time i've reallly gotten excited about a ministry. After reading Rick Warren's book, I attempted to get our church's leadership and my men's group to answer the basic question......What is your ministry,,and what is you mission.....not a single answer.. Also seeing my church just sitting on opportunities, but giving lip service.....This put the need for action back on me.
I'm now sober 8 years by Gods grace. I know the basic problems of relapse. I have spent time with men in recovery at our local Rescue Mission, and again not seen any carry through.
Here is my basic question for you...... Do you know of any IN PLACE model of half way houses? A place for those sincerely desiring a new life,but being clueless as to tools, more's, expectations of the mainstream?
Congratulations on you approaching marriage. Bless you both.

Bob Martin
Flushing Michigan

Posted: 2005-07-25 07:14:00

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Mike, I read your book about a month ago and it totally refueled a passion in me that had died months ago. My friend and I are planning something similar to your ministry over Christmas break. Were going to spend 3 weeks on the streets of Pittsburgh, away from our cushy lives that we take for granted and ministry to the people living there. If you have any advice or words of wisdom for us, they'd be greatly appreciated.
Congratulations on your upcoming wedding!
Lauren Shaw

Posted: 2005-07-26 13:11:00

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I just zipped through Under the Overpass in about 12 hours. I could not put it down. You have a talent for writing, bro.

Having been homeless myself (by choice) when I was younger, I could relate to many (most all) of your experiences. We used to wait in the trees across the street from McDonald's until after the lunch rush. Then one quick dumpster dive and it was smorgasbord. It does make you appreciate everything else after on so many different levels.

Hope your feet have healed by now; and may you never have to wear a crappy pair of broken flipflops again.

Peace in Jesus, dude.


Posted: 2005-08-02 11:57:00

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Hi Mike,
I am a youth group teacher in our church and was pondering upon material to read for insight into the Homeless MInistry. Our youth group is leaving for San Francisco this Monday 8/8 for one week for missions to serve the Homeless Ministry. We used your book as a guide into the lives of the homeless. I thank and praise God that we were blessed with the book in our preparation. It re emphasized the importance of actions in expressing the love of Christ to our brothers and sisters, especially those who have hardened their hearts. Thank you for your courage and obedience. Peace

Posted: 2005-08-03 13:41:00

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hey... i am one of the students of joanne yoon teacher~. all i wish for from you is to pray for us as we go to sanfrancisco. anyways... i have learned alot from your book. It really helped me on what i am looking forward to when i go to sanfrancisco. Anyways... as i was reading the book i couldn't stop reading!~ it was so fascinating=D I used to think that homless people would actually still have a great time in the streets, but after i read the book i didn't no that homeless people will actually be living like this!!! Also I couldnt believe how the people would judge the homless people! I just wish i can help all the homless people right now. Well my name is Haeun Kim, im 12 years old, and i am a pastors daughter=] well anyways may God be with you always.


Posted: 2005-08-06 12:27:00

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Blessings to you Mike! I read Under the Overpass with MUCH interest--then shared it with my 15 year old daughter. I had to share with you an event that happened today.

After reading the "What Now" comments I had wondered indeed, "What Now?" Although the need is great, I'm happily working on some other ministry things right now and wasn't convicted to dive headfirst into a "new" area. Yet, things in your book kept running through my heart and my mind, prompting some soul searching as to whether I should do SOMEthing and what that something might be.

Today my daughter and I were running a garage sale when a lovely older couple came up to ask us if we would take less than the marked price on some mens shorts. "You see we work with a homeless ministry, we drive a route every Monday evening handing out food to the homeless, and we like to have clothing available to give them too." We had a wonderful visit with them, and took their name and phone number so we now have a local contact (and yes, we gave them a reduced price on the shorts and loaded them up with everything else they were willing to take including some small motel soaps and candles which we were told their clients use to cook with and use for a little heat in the winter). We will be able to save for them milk jugs, water bottles, etc. that they run through the dishwasher and then use to hand out lemonade in the summer. (They dispense hot chocolate in the winter). They also would like us to save our local supermarket plastic bags for them to hand the food out in.

As they left, Kerry (my daughter) and I looked at each other, mouths agape, and agreed it is an awesome God that we serve that would plant the idea and then the opportunity to serve in such a neat way. Thanks for letting us know the need is there.

Posted: 2005-08-06 20:27:00

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Your book was one of the most awesome books I've ever read. It has truely envoked me to rethink my ideas on ministry. I could hardly put it down !!! Thank you so much for allowing God to use you it has truely impacted my life. I've got a Big God and big dreams but your book has caused me to recheck my motives and my veiw on who it is we are sent to help. This has sent me into my prayer closet asking new questions and I'll admit its sort of scary! Me and a friend are planning on checking out the City Gosple Mission in down town Cincinnati, OH ... I'm a little suburbin femail with out a clue how I'm going to relate but your book has provoked me to lean on my Big God and step out on faith... Thanks again !!
God bless you and your marrage!!!!
Feather Farler

Posted: 2005-08-08 17:28:00

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Hey mike

I just wanted to thank you on your book you wrote... i never thought a book could actually talk some sence into someones head but yours did for me...im a pass addict and was in the drug scene for a few long years there and i felt pretty much like i was a homless person ...thats how i can relate to your story.but my mother bought your book for me when i moved away from my home town and all my family and freinds to come where im at now where im secussfully clean ...but i just wanted to let you no your book put a huge impact on my life and made me look at life on how your suppose to live in and it really helped me get through some of my troubles...but anyway i just really wanted to thank you man

peace & love

Posted: 2005-08-09 23:35:00

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Mike, Thank you for writing this amazing book. It has really touched my life. This morning on the way to work, I saw a homeless man. I have driven that road for 9 years and have only seen maybe 2 hitchhikers. Today when I saw this man I knew God had put him there for me. I stopped and gave him my lunch and we said a few words. Thank you for opening my eyes. Friends in Christ. Teri

Posted: 2005-08-15 10:44:00

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Mike and Staff,

My wife Anita recommended your book for her book club. She totally enjoyed it and kept after me to read it, giving me bits as she went thru it. We were in Denver at star bucks on the 16th street mall. There was a very skinny man sitting out by the corner and she kept telling me to buy him something to eat as that is what the book says. I did and I know I got more out of it than he did. What a high. I have since read the book and appreciate it. We have been Focus on the Family listeners for years and I congradulate you on your broadcasts. Our son Aaron was the mountain biker who found Matthew Sheppard outside of Laramie Wyoming as was the case the next day Katie Kuric pointed out James Dobson and Focus on the Family for the attack. We wrote several "says I's" in newspapers throughout the U.S. to say how out of line that was. She never withdrew her statement. God bless your group and thanks for the insight.

Kevin L. Kreifels
Grand Island, Ne

Posted: 2005-08-17 23:26:00

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Mike, I was homeless myself for 5 months in 1997 after graduating from College, as a sort of Christian mission trip to identify with the homeless poor. If you could, I would love to have a dialogue with you about our trips.

Posted: 2005-08-19 02:08:00

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Hello Mike & Sam,

Read your book... And have many mixed feelings about it. Some good...

Hope your future with your new wife & life are exceptional. Looks like this thing is very lucrative for you with the books and speaking engagements and all...

Am puzzled by the lack of anything more substantial from your partner Sam. Where does he fit into all of this? And are you planning another book deal? Did not get to hear you on Focus. Will try the archives later...

Must admit tho... my heart has been challenged, no matter whatever else happens or why else you did what you did...

Gotta go. Lots to do... And it's getting darker.


Posted: 2005-08-25 01:38:00
Keith Hall

Member Since:

In the bible, Jesus tell us to come to him as one of these (children). It showes that children have no judgments or predjudices.
I hope to be able to meet with you one day, I too have a strong passion for the homeless.
Keith Hall
Hospitality House of Boone NC staff member.

Posted: 2005-08-25 11:35:00

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Dear Mike,

I'm sure you've heard of my church's youth group already (seeing that my teacher, Joanne, and my friend, Haeun, have already posted). My name's Miran Kim. I spent a week out of this summer with some truly amazing people. My youth group at Jesus Village Presbyterian Church (7 people including teachers) went to reach out and give a helping hand to the Homeless Church of SF and the rest of the homeless people there.
My youth group read your book before leaving for San Francisco in August and I wanted to thank you for the doors you have opened because of your obedience to God's voice. Your book prepared our minds and hearts for what we were to face in San Francisco. I don't think that any of us realized the reality of being homeless until we dove into the pages of your book. Under The Overpass taught us that although they are homeless, theyre people just like us. In God's eyes, theyre just as good/bad as the next person - theyre truly loved by God. I think we tend to forget that sometimes.
I was blessed enough to have been able to spend my Sweet 16th birthday with people that God loved. Thank you for your boldness. Thank you for sharing your life-changing and incredible story with us. We have a saying in our youth group. "Go M.A.D." It means, "GO Make A Difference. You have done that in so many ways. God loves you so much. God bless you!

Always *GO M.A.D.* !
Miran Kaleigh Kim
- Jesus Village Pres. Church (NJ)

Posted: 2005-09-01 00:57:00

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Congrats on marraige. Hope the adjustment has been smooth and a blessing. I'm getting married in October.
I was wondering if youre attending the CCDA conference in Indianapolis this year- seems up your alley (especially after reading in UTO that you were reading a Perkins book on your journey). I am an "Urban Missionary" at a church in downtown Spokane, WA, and I would love to connect with you in Indianoplis in November, if you'll be there (as would my pastor and the others in our group).
A final question (I'm not even sure if you read these, but I didn't know how else to get to you)... would you ever consider doing a similar journey with Danae? Living as homeless has been a though of mine for about a year, but has not been a reality for me and will not before my wedding. My fiancee, at this point, is open and excited about the idea of us doing it together, but (in addition to talking to many close friends, mentors, and family members), wanted to get your thoughts on that. ??
Reading the book was a huge blessing. I think I'll have our Ministry of Presence team, who volunteer to welcome, talk with, pray with, etc. guests who come into the church, read it this year.

Posted: 2005-09-06 14:36:00

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I came across your book on accident at a local Borders. I can't tell you how amazed I was to find something that reflected so much of what I believe in my own life.
Honestly, the whole idea of dedicating my life to Christ has always unnerved me. There is too much pleasure in the physical world, and too much temptation with physical urges for me to just give it all up.
But last summer, I met someone who did just that.

My friend and I had gotten into this abandoned building on the East side of Buffalo. When we were inside of it, we found some belongings spread out along a make-shift wooden table. There was a tie-dyed blanket, a bible, and a notebook full of writing. At first, because of the blanket I suppose, we thought it must be some 20-something squatter girl hanging out around there. With that thought in mind, I naturally had the urge to meet this girl, and wrote a note on a piece of paper to meet me there on Friday afternoon at a certain time. Then we left.
Friday came around, and my friend and I went back to the building. Instead of going inside, we stood on the other side of the fence and called inward to the broken brickwork: "Hello! Are you in there? Come on out!"
And they did.
Though, instead of being a girl our age, it was a fifty-something year old man.
He came shuffling forward, coming real slow and smiling like something amazing had just happened. At first my friend and I were apprehensive, being young and still a little naive, but we were curious too. This person peaked my interest, and more so because it wasn't who I thought it was.
He introduced himself as Keith, shaking our hands and still smiling. I remember he slipped through the fence posts easy as a breeze, to join us on our side for a walk a little ways down the road.
And that's when he started talking.
And talking about Jesus...and God. And how if we trust in him, great things will happen. It wasn't coming from Keith's ego; it was pure trust, faith and servitude for something greater than he himself.
When asked how Keith had come to live at this abandoned building, he told us that he had been in a terrible place in his life. He had been abusing crack, marijuana, and alcohol. Then one day, he woke up and realized what his life had become and asked God what to do. And God told him to give it all up; his apartment, the drugs, the destruction, just give it up, and trust in him.
So that's what he did.
He gave it all up to live in this abandoned, half-fallen down building to be with God.
And never before in my entire life have a met a human being more blessed and holy than he.
Everyday, he just lived with the scripture. Not only was his bible tattered from use and reading, but his entire notebook was filled with notations, and interrprettations, and reflections, on every passage that he read. He just kept telling me to trust in God. Trust in God.

I work in a coffee shop, and so

Posted: 2005-09-10 19:39:00

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WE "PROTESTANTERS" better re-think our STANCES on IMPORTANT issues! The Church of Rome is STANDING WITH JESUS CHRIST on REALLY important BIBLICAL issues, If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother:
8 But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth.
9 Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart, saying, The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand; and thine eye be evil against thy poor brother, and thou givest him nought; and he cry unto the LORD against thee, and it be sin unto thee.
10 Thou shalt surely give him, and thine heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him: because that for this thing the LORD thy God shall bless thee in all thy works, and in all that thou puttest thine hand unto.
11 For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.

Catholick Priest Pitches Tent in Homeless Camp

Warm-up Question:
What 3 comforts in your life would you find really tough to give up? (i.e., cell phone, fast food, comfortable bed, email, car, etc.)

“Tent City 4" is located next door to St. Brenden's Catholic Church on church-owned property. The nomadic community of Seattle-area homeless people moved there in mid-May. What began as a general offer to host a tent city at the church sometime in the future suddenly became an urgent matter when about 50 homeless people from a Seattle tent city needed a place to move to. The church quickly invited them to set up camp on its land after the community had opposed the county's plan to set up the tent city on public land next to a Park & Ride lot.

The church has faced strong opposition to its decision to host the camp. The city filed a lawsuit against the church the day the camp was set up, claiming that the church violated zoning regulations by hosting the tent city without a permit. Church officials claimed that they were within their rights to invite the camp, citing constitutionally protected religious activity. Court rulings have since allowed the camp to remain on the church property for a 90-day period.

Father Larry Minder pitched his own tent in the homeless camp so that people would “stop being afraid” of them, and to atone for his decision to invite the camp without much community notice. For the past month, he has been living among the tent city residents, and plans to stay for the full 90 days that the tent city is hosted by his church. Minder says that the decision to host the camp was a “no-brainer.” He sees a Gospel mandate to help the homeless. He said, “It's an extension of the church's 2,000 year history of hel

Posted: 2005-09-20 01:44:00

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Homeless problem a ‘scandal'

From the issue of 14 Nov, 2004


THE lack of emergency accommodation for homeless youths in Brisbane is a ‘scandal', a youth advocacy priest said.

Fr Wally Dethlefs of the Church Network for Youth Justice spoke out last week after an incident in the heart of the city on November 1 when police closed a street while two teenagers threw projectiles from the top of a building.

A study has shown that an increasing number of homeless youth are moving to Queensland from southern states.

A report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare showed that in Queensland 71 per cent of people seeking emergency accommodation were turned away - a rejection rate 20 per cent higher than the national average.

Fr Dethlefs said other national studies had indicated youth homelessness had increased by 5000 in Australia between 1996 and 2001.

He pointed to research by the University of Technology Sydney that showed almost all of Brisbane's homeless people were in that situation because of trauma such as sexual or physical abuse, drug addiction and mental illness.

Karyn Walsh, who co-ordinates Micah Projects, based at St Mary's Community, South Brisbane, said youth homelessness was only part of a wider housing crisis in Brisbane.

Ms Walsh said a Brisbane homelessness action plan was needed to address the number of people coming to Queensland and the redevelopment happening in the area.

( Copyright -- Catholic Leader, Brisbane )

Posted: 2005-09-20 01:49:00


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