Now that my two weeks of spring break groups are gone, I can catch up on my blog posts (I have a list of topics in my tasks in outlook).
Each week of spring break we took the Salvation Army disaster van out on a Tuesday night to visit homeless men and women in the city and take them food and drinks. The second week our first stop was right across the street from Greensboro Urban Ministry, and because the weather was warm, the overflow beds were no longer available. Result? There were lots of homeless people hanging out on "the block", and so when our truck rolled up, they all came across the street. Just a few at first, then more and more. And as the first group came, I was across the street from the college students talking with a couple of men that I had met in previous trips out with Nightwatch.
So, there I was, the most experienced in this type of situation, all the way across the street, and a group of 10 college students, who were expecting to talk with maybe one or two homeless people at a time, on the other side with a group of 10 homeless men and women. When I got to them, the students all looked a little stunned, but as I reminded them to simply talk and pray with each person and led them in getting food and drinks out, they recovered and began to really minister. They laughed and talked with our friends, and each person who came was warmly welcomed and prayed with. Students were speaking truth about the Lord and were offering friendship, crossing racial and class and cultural lines, not necessarily with ease but with purpose and love.
While I have grown to realize the truth that the homeless are real people with dignity and real stories to their lives, that has taken time and many relationships and conversations. For most of the students, this was their first time confronting the stereotypes that many of us have, and they did it so well.