Saturday, August 18, 2012

Making Homeless Friends

I'm back, officially back at the 'bury. I'm so happy to be here. I have lots to blog about, but I had an encounter today that is more blog worthy than my week of RA training. Don't worry, I'll write about it as well.

Like the typical college student, I shop at Walmart a lot. I stopped by on my way to a local Christian high school football game to help promote Asbury. As I was walking in, I saw a lady with a small poker table and a pink sign that said, "Women's Christian Academy." She was talking to a man who just dropped a few dollars into her plastic bin about all the great service that they do. I didn't stop, but kept walking.

After grabbing things I needed and debating over which sugar dispenser I should buy for 10 minutes, picking one up and then returning it back to the shelf 5 minutes later, I headed out. As I walked out the same doors I entered, I saw three teenagers sitting outside the doors on the opposite side of the "Women's Christian Academy" lady. One guy with bright red hair was holding a sign that said, "homeless and hungry." I smiled and kept walking.

As I was walking to Ruby (my truck), I felt the need to go help the three teenagers. I just wanted to hear their story, so I went back. I walked up and said, "Hi, I'm Janah. How can I help y'all?" Almost in unison they said, "We're hungry. Any food would be great." I then asked if they wouldn't mind walking across the parking lot with me to McDonald's so I could buy them dinner. They jumped up and started following me.

I just started asking question, "What are your names? Where are y'all from? Where are y'all living? What's your story?"  They were from Lexington and all came from broken homes. *Ella's mom had recently died, *Mike's parents disowned him and *Doug had ran away, but he didn't say why. They met on the streets and banded together to help one another survive.

When we arrived at McDonald's I told them to get whatever they wanted and then come sit with me. They sat and started telling me about how they were living in an abandoned building and sleeping with some blankets and pillows that UK students had thrown out while moving in the past few days. Ella said, "They just throw out perfectly good things, because they have the money to buy new ones." Talk about feeling convicted.

There was a lull in conversation and I said, "I want you guys to know why I'm doing this." Doug interjected saying, "It's because you're religious." I wasn't quite sure how to respond, but said, "Well I wanted to demonstrate to you the love that Christ has for you. He cares and loves you, even in tough situations in life." Erik was amazed and said, "Wow, no one has ever done this for me before." I almost stated crying.
They started expressing their dislikes about the church and why they're not Christians. It was an AWESOME conversation, but I hurt for them. I was so sad that they had all been so hurt by the church. I wasn't sure what to say so I said, "I'm sorry." Doug smiled and said, "But at least you're not forcing it down our throat." I said, "I do not want to force it down your throat, but just want to love on you all." He responded with, "Thank you. I knew from the start that you weren't trying to."

Our conversation continued, but I had to head out to get the the football game on time. I asked if I could pray for them before I left and they all nodded yes. I prayed probably the wordiest, most nervous prayer I've ever prayed. I told them that I was really glad I met them, I loved them, they thanked me again and I headed out.

There was more to our conversation, lots of laughs and awkward silence, but it was great. I left happy and proud of myself for helping someone in need, then I realized how stupid that was and un-Christ like. I came back down to earth real quick and was humbled.

Then I was angry.

Why had so many "Christians" hurt these teenagers? What did they do that turned them away from Christ? Why didn't the Christian lady from the "Women's Christian Academy" help them? I could get on my soap box and rant about these for hours. It really frustrates me.

I don't know where Ella, Doug and Mike went after I left McDonald's. I pray that they find someone to help them and demonstrate Christ's love for them in a bigger way than I could.  

*These are not their real names. I have changed them for their safety.

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