Posted by: jcwillyams | November 14, 2009

A Glimpse into a Day

I was under this silly assumption that everyone knew what I was up to this year, but I guess, considering I haven’t fully explained it, that assumption just doesn’t make sense.

This year I am part of the HOPE for Louisville program. This program is a “Missions Internship”. I am a missionary, simply one in my own city. Some people might ask why Louisville needs missionaries, to others it is obvious, but let me explain.

In our city there are over 11,000 homeless men, women and children; the large majority being men. There are those who have been homeless for most of their lives, there are recent additions. There are some who are alcoholics, there are drug addicts, there are veterans, there are mental handicaps, there are elderly. Some have lost their jobs, some have gone through a series of unfortunate events, some chose to be here. Some are from Louisville, some have travelled here, some are still traveling. There are also a few that simply don’t fit into any of those categories. There is not a fit-all description to the homeless.
I think the best way to describe them is hurting.
They are in need.
But ‘they’ are also people.
They are not a label.
They are not their addiction.
They are not their disability.
They are not their living situation.

Much of the world forgets. And as the world forgets, they themselves forget. They become hopeless. Once hope is lost…there isn’t much else.
My role, goal, objective, and even job is to build relationships – to remember who these people are. To know their names. To know their stories. To create friendships. To LOVE. To restore hope.
Of course…i can only restore hope to a certain degree – ultimatley my goal is to share Jesus. To share the gospel. To pray. Only through Christ can true, eternal hope be established. That is the hope that enables change.

***

I spend my typical day in the day shelter.

Day Shelter: The Day Shelter consists primarily of a large cafteria style room. There are three main stations: The Front Desk, The Storage Closet, and The Kitchen. These stations each provide services to the homeless and hurting as well as oppurtunities to start & build relationships.

The Front Desk: The Front Desk is by the entrance door and thus the initial checkpoint for people as they come in. It is both welcome and security. It is a great place to learn names and have a quick exchange. The front desk is also mail headquarters. It’s a very popular spot around mail time – and can be a bit overwheling, Jefferson Street is a mailing address for almost 2000 people.

The Storage Closet: The Storage Closet is a unique service of Jefferson Street. Imagine being homeless and unable to saftley keep belongings. You leave a bag in a bush and come back to nothing. You have a bag on your back and it is ripped off. You go to a job interview and have to take in a piece of luggage. That is everything you own. Important papers, the only picture of your loved ones, money, clothes for winter, toiletries…everything. The storage closet is a place for the homeless to store up to two bags. The room is monitored and a photo ID is required to take out a bag. You can rest easy knowing your belongings are safe. This station is a great place to learn names and have a bit deeper of a conversation. It is an easy place to get some laughs and smiles.

The Kitchen: The Kitchen has many facets. It is the most popular of the stations. The kitchen has a window that actually looks into the day shelter giving you the oppurtunity to watch people interact. You can learn a lot about someone when you see how they interact with others. From the window we hand out toiletries, towels, washclothes, and give out breakfast. This is also right next to the coffee station. People like their coffee. Jefferson Street is now a soup kitchen and serves lunch several days of the week which simply means that much more traffic. At the kitchen you are constantly being asked for something, but sometimes – people just want to hang out for a minute and talk. Often, when you are in the kitchen, you can take some time to sit in the cafteria and play cards, talk, or whatever. This is where you can really begin to build a friendship.

By working these stations I can aid the homeless. But more importantly, I can meet an individual and invest in their life. I can pray specific prayers and be a tool for God to use in the shaping of their and my own future.

***

When I am not in the day shelter I am still at Jefferson Street. I live here. I live with two other HOPE team members in the 3rd floor apartment. I eat meals with the residents. I hang out with them, go on walks with them, get coffee with them, go to church with them. I am living my life, not as a homeless person, but along side them. I can not fully understand their situation. I don’t try to pretend that I can. I only offer my love – and I give – as best I can, the HOPE of Christ.

God works in this buildling. Lives change. He receives all of the Glory. I am thrilled to be a witness.

Advertisements

Responses

  1. Thanks JC for the reminder. It was great to meet you and your mom this Sunday!
    Thanks for sharing!

    • Nice to meet you too!
      Thanks for reading & commenting 🙂

      Maybe my mom will be around again this Sunday…we shall see


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: