I was standing in the middle of a party out on the streets. This wasn’t your druggin’ and boozin’ party. I believe, this was in fact a party that God threw and I was just privileged enough to be invited.
A few weeks ago, I set out to organize an evening to serve the homeless community just as I do a couple of times a month as I serve at the Westside Campus of Bay Area Fellowship. I was amazed at the donations that began coming in. I knew God had something in mind because the food, clothing, snack bags, and personal hygiene items being donated were beyond what I could imagine.
And to top it off our band at church volunteered to play. I could just hear the praise music ringing through the streets all week as preparations were being made.
To my surprise . . .
I had planned for about 150 because that’s about how many we serve when we Take it to the Streets. I had to bat my eyes. I couldn’t believe it when we pulled up to our normal spot downtown and there were already over 100 homeless in line. I gasp!
I knew it then. God was surely going to do something big. We set up and people just kept coming and coming. We ran out of 125 to-go bags within 30 minutes. The food was going fast and I cried watching the heartbeat of a community (people from all over my city) just step up and keep ordering pizza (60+ extra boxes) so that no one went away hungry!
It was an evening beyond words.
Six months ago God laid this ministry on my heart, what I saw being lived out this night was the vision that God had planted on my heart.
It was hard to breath. I walked around in AWE as over 300 homeless were fed, loved, and cared for that evening. I stood amazed at the 75+ volunteers that showed up that evening to serve and provide food so that no one had an empty belly that night. It was an evening I’m still trying to find dictionary words to describe.
Then the ugly reality hit.
After we all sat around and visited for awhile in community loving and serving anyone we could, it was time to pick up this God-sized party and call it a night. It was such a beautiful evening — No. One. Wanted. To. Leave! No one.
We were gathering up trash, loading up tables and chairs, and saying our good-byes to our new friends when a young women from the streets walked up, “I am FULL, physically and spiritually! This was a beautiful evening.”
After some small chit-chat, she needed feminine products so a friend took her across the streets to buy the items. And the young woman continues, “This was such a beautiful evening. And now, NOW, I have to go sell myself so that my boyfriend can have a 5 piece. I have to ruin a perfectly good evening so that he can have a quick fix.”
All for 5 bucks!
I’ve tried to write this out before and the tears flow too heavily. There aren’t words to adequately describe the emotions that stir within me trying to retell this horrific truth. I want to scream, throw-up, and pound my fists!
I’ve said it before trafficking comes in many forms and fashions and IT IS HAPPENING IN YOUR CITY TOO!
This woman was forced by her boyfriend (even during her cycle) to sell herself, so that he could have $5 for a quick fix. He lurked over her. She was not going to escape.
I could go on-and-on after the tears stop flowing and my heart stops pounding, but seriously — you and I need to wake-up and get out of our pretty churches and love on those who are dirty, broken, and drugged.
If you think this doesn’t go on in your city — you’re wrong. You do not need to travel to Asia, Greece, or South America — seriously, just look in your own backyard!
How would you or how have you dealt with a situation like this?
How can you step out in your community to make a difference?