A few weeks ago Brittany from Mosaic Community Development came to talk to us about Neighbors United ( http://parkavenuecommunitymcd.wordpress.com/neighbors-united/ ) a movement to unite various community churches to feed the local homeless in the north park-avenue area. This week Scott, Zach and Andy went to help. We had been told they needed more guys to just generally patrol the area and keep peace if people really high or drunk showed up.
When we first got there, we saw (to our amazement) that one of the homeless guys outside was wearing an AG Gustafson family reunion T-shirt from 2006. He was not a relative, but we had a good talk. Scott and Zach and I each did some patrolling, and some eating with the guys who came and talking, and some cleanup at the end.
I ran into some people I knew– mostly friends and relatives of my guys who help me out. I had good conversations with people about the renovation of apartment buildings in the area and how that is driving some of them elsewhere, the promise of Obama, and the hot weather. In one of the more interesting interactions a guy told me that there are people who come in and eat and get clothes who don’t really need them. He also told me that the last thing a homeless guy wants is to be snubbed– he just wants respect, like any person. Clem told me, “People who are nice to us have a friend! I mean, I don’t smoke or drink, so I don’t need your money. I can get what I need without it– its not all about money for us.”
People working and eating seemed happy we were there, and it was a really encouraging time for us, and I believe we all felt a desire to want to be involved and stay involved in this ministry. We work with people from many different church backgrounds, we met new friends from those churches, but best of all, we made new friends with some of the people who live on the streets near to us. It is wonderful that neighbors united ministry got started. We hope that real relationships that matter are started through this feeding time. Its great to fill empty stomachs, but it takes a lot more to help fill the emptiness in some of the lives of the guys who were there today. May God help us all to seek ways to be used in our world around us…