friday night update
Blessed Portion Friday Night Update for 1-5-18
For as cold as it was we still had a pretty good crowd come out and join us as we had an amazing hot ham stew made by Amber Gaskill--- there was plenty to go around thanks to Nick Reinoehl and his Company Nucor for the hams they donated. Many were able to get seconds and that always makes us happy.
We heard tonight about some loss, tragedy, had some laughs with close friends and just as you do we enjoyed being with our family. Families can be difficult, hard headed, stubborn and yet at the same time love is the key. Love seems to be the glue that eases most tensions....even if that means you agree to disagree and try to remain at peace with another. We see that a lot downtown and yet time and time again we see people coming together at the end of the day--even those who are at odds with another. Had a conversation with a friend tonight who talked about how years ago he called me to come downtown and help bandage up some stab wounds he received from someone who was his friend. He talked about how bad that day was, and then in the same breath talked about the man who did it to him with kindness. He talked about what he is doing with his life now and there was no anger against him. The reason that conversation even got brought up was, because we were giving first aid to one of our friends who had a major wound on his head and was bleeding and this friend was helping me give first aid to him. What I love is the friend who needed the first aid tonight came downtown to help us....didn't even mention his head wound. Only reason I knew of it was because he was sitting down and I was standing by him and saw it and so we worked together to help our mutual friend---because were family.
Later on as we were winding up the night we went to check a few spots to make sure anyone who was outside was ok. At first glance it would seem that there was no one at this particular spot--and yet after doing this for 6 years you learn to be able to see the shape of a person under many blankets pretty easy. We let him know we were there and offered some hot soup which made his night and his friends who was also there trying to keep warm. We had 4 soups left over and gave them all to these 2 men and then shortly after that 2 more men came upon the spot asking if we had anymore food to give out...and as quick as can be one man said "We have extra --we can share with you." Standing there seeing this take place was humbling. Men who are literally freezing coming up out of their somewhat warm spot and shivering as they ate was hard to bear. One of them asked if we had any water and we only had 1 left...but he walked up to the van and got a few more hand warmers and a jacket. This young man of 19 was wearing a thin summer wind breaker and said he didn't need another coat....well for the mamas on our team that wasn't going to fly so we got him one to add to what he had. I thought of my youngest son who is 18 and this young man only being a year older than mine and thought "Oh my goodness, this is some woman's son." When you can see people other than "HOMELESS" and see who they really are, and who they are to others it changes you. He was so thankful for all he was given and said thanks and walked back to his site saying he would see us next week. He walked back in 14 degree weather to a wet, cold, dirty area to finish his bowl of soup and that is what breaks your heart. We don't know his story and haven't asked...all that mattered tonight was that he was warmer and fuller after we left then we got there!!
Now to the picture in this post....this was the last stop. We were looking for a friend who didn't show up tonight and no one has seen him and some were very worried. So we went to where he sleeps and saw this. I tell you my 18 year old never makes his bed and yet our friend ALWAYS does! He keeps his area impeccably clean. The "smoke" you see in the picture isn't smoke it actually is their breath! That's how cold it was last night...he took the picture and it captured his breath...again another reminder of how cold it is. So many are sleeping outside instead of going to a shelter for whatever reason and it is hard to comprehend....so please pray for them, for their health, for them to find freedom with what they are struggling with and pray for more laborers to come forward to help bring resources for those who need it. We have so many places struggling to stay afloat as the need increases for shelters, recovery classes, the finances to keep them running and people to run them.
Thank you everyone for donating this past week--our bins are empty now. We are in need of x large and above shirts, sweatshirts, WARM jackets, men's boots, jeans and thermals. So please keep us in mind...we usually every week go to the Salvation Army and Goodwill to purchase items but even they are running out of items it seems so please spread the word of cleaning out one's closets for our friends!! God Bless everyone