Saturday, November 18, 2006

They're Still Out There

Last night I had the chance to go out on Nightwatch again with the Salvation Army. In Nightwatch we visit various places where homeless people live in the city and take them some hot food, coffee, a blanket, and pray with them. We climbed under a lot of bridges and had the chance to talk with about 20 people and pray with each of them. Around 2:00 am (we started at 8:00 pm), I came home and got into bed, and a nagging thought has stayed with me from then until now – “They’re still out there.”

As I woke up at 10:00 this morning and went to take a nice hot shower, I thought, “They’re still out there.”

As I watched UNC beat State in football, I thought, “They’re still out there.”

They’re still out there – each of the men that we prayed with and gave food to are still sleeping outside on the street. One was sleeping in the front doorway of my church – we had spoken with him at about 8:30 pm, and saw him sleeping, somehow, on the concrete at 2:00 am in the cold night. There were men sleeping on pipes suspended beneath the bridges, men sleeping in abandoned trailers, men in church doorways, men on foam mattresses beneath highways, men in a shed behind a local business.

Sure, it’s nice that we gave them a warm hat and blanket and prayed with them. It’s nice that 5 Christians gave up their Friday night to do some good deeds. But for the rest of that night, and the rest of that week, those guys are still out there. And I don’t know what to do with that.

6 comments:

meblogin said...

What are the options?

What happens when it is 0 degrees?

thanks,

Marshall said...

There are emergency shelters at Urban Ministry and Salvation Army when it gets to be a certain temperature outside (Salvation Army opens at a warmer temp than Urban ministry).

Todd B. Waldo said...

I'm with you Marsh. What do we do after we serve a meal or give someone some clothing? We spend time treating the effects of homelessness and poverty, which is good! But to combat the causes and to truly free people from living in these hard conditions...that my friend is a great battle. And I'm not sure how to fight it.

Wild Willie said...

Marshall, I too have thought these things as well. And I still do not have the answer, but one thought has crossed my mind.

Is it wrong to be homeless?

From my American cultural perspective it is, but is it from God's perspective?

suz said...

I think what "wild willie" said is food for thought. Why is it perceived that -- to be homeless is wrong? There are our obvious answers, "Yes, it is wrong b/c there is a better way and you need assistance when you are homeless" Yet I would I challenge us to just THINK about Willie's comment with no set conclusions in mind

suz said...

I think what "wild willie" said is food for thought. Why is it perceived that -- to be homeless is wrong? There are our obvious answers, "Yes, it is wrong b/c there is a better way and you need assistance when you are homeless" Yet I would I challenge us to just THINK about Willie's comment with no set conclusions in mind