Posted by: Jessica Rood | October 31, 2009

November Newsletter

Dear Friends and Family,

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “The only way to have a friend is to be one.”

Chuck and I have been friends since early this summer.  We had several opportunities to sit down and get to each other.  We shared many things this summer, from our families, to what was going on in our lives, to why I was at Jeff. Street, to believing in God.  Our relationship continued to grow during the summer months; we always make a point to talk to each other.  Once I was riding my bike and saw him waiting at a bus stop so I stopped to talk to him for a while.  Conversation just came naturally between us.

Since returning for the year, I have not had many opportunities to sit down and talk to Chuck.  He chats with me while I work the desk or the closet, but we always get interrupted.  My teammate, Emily, has challenged me these last few weeks to make the time to sit down and have a meaningful conversation with Chuck.  Unfortunately I have not seen him much, nor had the chance if he did come in.

On Wednesday, October 28th, Emily and I were working the front desk when Chuck appeared.  Emily encouraged me to go talk and I willingly accepted.  For an hour or so, we had a long conversation about what was going on in our lives.  We talked about where he was staying and his past relationships.  He shared with me that I was the only friend he had a Jeff. Street, including the other guests that come in.  I had never noticed this before, but he does not really talk to anyone but me.  I mentioned that my birthday was the next day.  Chuck stated that he would make a point to come see me (he does not always make it down to Jeff. Street because his “home” is about 30 blocks away).

On Thursday the 29th, my birthday, Chuck came in just like he had promised.  I was working the front desk by myself.  He stated he wanted to take me to McDonalds.  I said that I could not go because I was at work.  I was also very busy at the time, so I did not get the chance to explain why I could not go by myself.  He walked by me and on to the Day Shelter cafeteria to get coffee.  Shortly after, he left the building.  He did not come in today.  I hope Chuck comes in again soon so I can reconcile our relationship.  I want to explain to him why things went the way they did.  He came down just to see me, and yet I hurt his feelings.  Even though I had a great birthday, I could not shake the thoughts of how I had hurt Chuck’s feelings.  I know he does not have many friends and I want to be his friend.  Please pray that Chuck and I can reconcile and become better friends.  Pray that I will have more opportunities to share Christ with him.

From this incident with Chuck, I am learning just how fragile relationships at the shelter are. Based on information I have gathered from talking to our homeless guests and from my observations at the shelter, many people come and go from each other’s lives.  People are dating different people all the time.  Living on the streets is tough.  I have learned how important it is to make an effort to sit down and talk to people. I have learned how important it is to take the time to foster lasting friendships.  My purpose for being here is to make a point to talk to these people and be involved in their lives.  Hope is a program developed to invest in the lives of our guests, residents, neighbors, and teammates.

When Jesse, our Hope Director, speaks about the program on promotional trips to colleges, he asks two statements: The first is, “List five sermons that have affected your life.”  Can you do this? This is a very difficult question to answer.  The second question is, “Name five people that have greatly affected your life.”  This is a much easier question.   His goal for all Hope team members is that we become one of those five people to individuals we interact with regularly.  In doing so, we are able to teach them and show them who Christ is.  My prayer is that I can be this to Chuck and teach him who Christ is and what He did for him.

I cannot do this without your support though.  Thank you for giving your prayers, thoughts, and donations.  As a team we have raised 20% of our financial support.  Please prayerfully consider supporting me so that I can share the Gospel with Chuck and others at shelter.  Please pray that I can be a light to these people that are in the darkness.

God Bless and Much Love,

Jessica Rood

TO DONATE TO HOPE | Send your tax-deductible donation to

Jefferson Street Baptist Center | Attn: HOPE 733 East Jefferson Street | Louisville, KY 40202
Fund ID # HOPE-0910-JR1 Make sure to include ID in the check’s memo line
You can also donate on our HOPE website at http://www.hopeforlouisville.com
Visit our online journal at http://www.hopeblog.wordpress.com

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