"We’re all just one event or bad decision away from being homeless…"

Dear New Life Friends,

"We’re all just one event or bad decision away from being homeless…"

You can agree or disagree with that statement, but that’s the statement that caught my attention.

I was sitting at a table following dinner, sharing in conversation with several of our CARITAS guests - http://caritasva.org. It was a humbling and enlightening moment. One person began sharing about how they came to find themselves in that space in between employment and housing.

As they shared a little bit about their growing up years, it seemed as though their story wasn’t too different than my own story. Their young adulthood story sounded familiar too. Even their adult story was tracking with mine until the part about their medical emergency. That’s when their story took a tragic turn and they just hadn’t seemed to be able to get back on their feet from that experience.

That’s when another guest piped in and said, “We’re all just one event or bad decision away from being homeless.” They began telling their stories, which sounded familiar as well. Until... the “bad decision”.

This kind of story sharing isn’t always what I’ve found when I visit with our guests. It makes sense that we would be somewhat guarded in telling our story to complete strangers. So, I became very alert when conversation began to go down the path of storytelling. 

You see, until then, I admit I had an "us and them" mentality, a kind of “aren’t we good because we’re here to help you” attitude, that may have come across as superior or arrogant instead of compassionate and helpful.

That’s when I examined my life and realized the distance between “us and them” really isn’t as far as I thought it was. What further convinced me that God was trying to shape me by this conversation was the fact that I was reading a book about developing relationship between a business man and a homeless called Same Kind of Different As Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore.

“We’re all just one event or bad decision away from being homeless…” has stuck with me and helped me have perspective as we are in ministry with those who are homeless and jobless. I recognize I should simply treat them as I would want to be treated if I were in their situation - of which today I happen not to be, but who knows about tomorrow.

So, I’m excited that we have the opportunity to demonstrate generous hospitality through CARITAS. We offer a warm building, nice dinner and good breakfast, hot shower, clothes cleaning, and a lunch to go. 

I’m also excited, because it takes at least 100 of us to pull this off! That means there is a way for everyone to participate from setting up the building, cooking a meal, cleaning bathrooms, staying overnight, playing cards, working puzzles and just hanging out for conversation. Who knows what life changing stories will be told - by you or someone else.

How fortunate we are to have a roof over our heads, food on the table and a room during the week where we can close the door to have some privacy. I appreciate all those who picked up a shamrock over the past couple weeks to help make some of this happen for our guests. Certainly you recognize “We are all just one event or bad decision away from being homeless."

If you want to get involved in some way, contact Fred Hicks or Katie Nylund by clicking one of the buttons below, and they’ll help get you connected in a way that fits your personality and availability.

Thanks for being a blessing - you might just find yourself learning something new and being blessed!

Blessings in Christ,

Pastor Mike