Posted by: Darrell Johnson | November 14, 2009

a concern & a praise

A Concern:

This morning one of our day shelter guests, Jerry, came up to the kitchen window to get his ID back after using one of our towels for a shower. Jerry’s typically not one for small talk; he usually says “hey” and goes on his way. But today was different, Jerry had something on his mind…something that shook him up. Before I could ask him what was up he looked at me and said, “I almost got killed last night, man.”

Now this isn’t something you hear everyday, even working in a homeless shelter; no, this was serious stuff. “It’s just plain sad,” Jerry continued, “all I wanted to do was sell some pop.” Turns out Jerry was at the skate park last night  here in Louisville, selling canned soft drinks (as a licensed vendor) to any thirsty patrons…when a group of teenagers began to harass my friend. They were just giving him a hard time because he was homeless. He told me that well over a dozen teenagers were taunting him and one of them decided to prove his “manhood” by knocking over his cooler and running off from his vending spot.

Jerry is not a small guy, he’s a military veteran and could handle himself pretty well if he had to…but he’s also not an ignorant guy either. He knew good and well that the best thing to do was walk away. He then told me that as he was walking away, the kids thought it would be fun to throw the contents of his cooler at him as he went on his way. Some of these full soft drink cans pelted Jerry in the back and the shoulder. The leader of the “pack” then proceeded to cuss Jerry out and threaten his life, telling him that he was worthless and a bum (and other things that do need to be repeated). Jerry then told me that they threatened to run him over with their vehicle and continue to throw his cans at him.

To make matters more frustrating there were adults (if you’d even call them that) who just stood by and watched all of this happen. When I asked Jerry if the adults were going to do anything about it, he said all they did was tell him he best get out of there and move on.

“It’s just plain sad,” Jerry stated. “I’m not going to jail because some punk wants to pick on a homeless guy, but I came close.” He then showed me his hand and said to me, “I’m still a bit shaken up by all of this;” and yes he was trembling somewhat. Jerry made it clear that he did eventually look the kid in the eye and told him, sternly, to rethink what he’s doing. The kid’s friends eventually convinced him to leave him alone.

I felt bad for Jerry, not only is he in a state of low morale and despair but he has to put up with kids who just don’t know how to respect folks. But he was somewhat understanding of how kids are raised these days, he then reminded himself that there’s a lot more bad stuff for kids to get into now. “I smoked dope, drank a little when I was younger…but we never had the access to the filth that is out there now.” “There was no meth and we had respect for those who were older than us, no matter what their situation.”

Jerry’s right…it’s just plain sad. I told him that I would be praying for him and he thanked me for that. Please pray for Jerry, as a result of losing all those soft drinks he lost his job selling them. As I mentioned earlier he was working as and for a licensed vendor, but the profit that was lost last night at the skate park was enough to get him fired. It’s just plain sad.


A Praise:

Later this morning I got some encouraging news. I spoke with Willie (from my November newsletter) and he informed me that he was planning to go to the 11:15 service at Sojourn. When I asked him if we was serious, he just held up a clear plastic bag that had his church clothes in it. “I’m gettin’ ready for church tomorrow man,” he said.

And that’s a praise. I’ve been praying for Willie for some time now and to hear that he’s cool with going to Sojourn is pretty cool. I look forward to going to service tomorrow. Please keep Willie in your prayers as well, he’s seeking community; he’s looking for a church family and I pray that this helps him out in his search.

Yup there are many things going on here at Jeff St. God is at work here please pray that we continue to seek Him out in all that we do.


OH LORD, guide us all.

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