Posted by: Darrell Johnson | October 8, 2009

October Newsletter

I’ve almost completed my first month at the Jefferson Street Baptist Center as a year long member of the HOPE team and to say that it’s good to be back would be an understatement. This place has been such a great blessing in my life and I am so grateful for all the prayers and support that you all have sent my way. Without your support, this year at Jeff St. would not be a reality; so again, from the bottom of my heart I thank you.

So what brought me back? If you were to ask me at the beginning of last summer if I was going to be at HOPE still, I would have answered “No.” But after being here since May 26th the Lord has shown me so many things and He has taught me so much. I thought and prayed hard about this decision to come back and I came to the realization that this would be a year that I wouldn’t be able to make up; there wouldn’t be another opportunity like this. And to quote my father, “you got to take advantage of your opportunities.”

The first day I came back to Jeff St. I wasn’t expecting many people in our day shelter to remember me (after all there were 12 HOPE team members this past summer!), let alone miss me. But much to my surprise there were many folks who were glad to see me back and that meant a lot to me after nearly a month away from serving in the day shelter. There are some new faces that are slowly but surely becoming familiar ones as well and I look forward to getting to know those people better.

The new faces, however, do not just apply to the day shelter guests and the residents here; we’ve been blessed with three new HOPE team members for the year, two of which are my new roommates. Please keep Caleb Butler, J.C. Williams, and Linsey Edn in your prayers as they continue to grow accustomed to life as a HOPE team member at Jeff St. Two of the women, Jessica Rood and Emily Shemwell, I served along side of this past summer have returned for the year as well so please continue to lift them up in prayer also. It’s been a blessing getting to know these folks better and I thank God for them.

Even though I have been here nearly a month, I can already think of several stories to share with you all. If you’d like to read them I encourage you all to visit the HOPE Team Blog @ All of the HOPE team members contribute to this blog and it’s a good way to get to know us and what we’re going through and to also find out how you can pray for us, our guests, and Jeff St. in general. Another way you can get involved and support Jeff St. is to check out their website @

I’d like to leave you with one of those many stories that we have to share at Jeff St. It’s about a moment in time that totally took me by surprised and just reminded once more how God is in control. About two weeks into my mission at Jeff St. I came across a familiar face from the summer, but I had not seen him since I came back…I wasn’t sure if he had found a place to live or had moved away. All I knew is that I missed my friend and that I would keep him in my prayers. But surely enough Michael showed up one day at the front desk right after we had received the new mail for the day. I asked him how he was and where he had been; turns out that Michael had kept a job working with the clean up crew at the Louisville Public Library following the great flash flood of 2009. He then informed me that his work there was about to end in a couple of days, but still he didn’t seemed too bothered by that. When I asked him why he stopped by the day shelter, he told me that he had a UPS envelop waiting for him (after all he still gets his mail here). And surely enough I found the envelope and I handed it to him. What would happen next was a moment that I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life, it was as if it was something out of a movie. Something life changing took place right before my eyes and it took Michael by great surprise.

You see, Michael is a poet. The man is a talented writer and he spent a majority of his time in the day shelter writing short stories and poems about the Lord and about life on the streets and most importantly about the redeeming power of Jesus Christ. It was not uncommon to find Michael hunched over writing something out amidst the games of dominoes and chess and the conversations of the day. It was common, it was expected. But what was not expected was the time taken out by one of the summer HOPE team members, Asha, to type out Michael’s writings, but she did. And that random act of kindness would prove to be life changing for Michael.

Turns out Michael turned in his typed out writings to a publishing company and the UPS envelop that I handed to him at the front desk turned out to be the preliminary work of a potential contract with this particular publisher. As he read over the piece of mail carefully, I could see Michael’s worn hands begin to tremble and with tears in his eyes he looked up at me said, “they’re gonna pay me $20,000 for my book.” Needless to say, I had chills and then I realized that HOPE really does change everything. Not the HOPE Team per se, but the hope that is found in Christ Jesus. For had it not been for Michael’s inspiration being Christ as well as Asha’s motivation to type out those writings, that unforgettable moment would have never been. Life as we know it would not be the same if not for Jesus and such “Good News” should never be kept to oneself. So with that I find myself ready to start another day at Jeff St. and God’s work through Michael is a good reminder to always “take advantage of your opportunities.”

Take care & God bless.
In Christ,

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