Thursday, July 1, 2010
Homeless in Redondo Beach
1. Jerry – homeless man at Shell gas station from Cleveland Ohio. He had not eaten for two days. Mobil or Shell?
2. Mike – homeless man who was picking trash out of our dumpsters behind our home. I talked with him for about 10 minutes and learned that he regularly recycles cans to get bus fare out to LA to go to the Union Rescue Mission for food every day. He takes the bus back to Redondo Beach every night to sleep behind a dumpster in a local shopping center. He has been doing this for the past 10 years. I was able to give him some cash, share the gospel with him and leave him with a gospel of John. He was very thankful to have met and said his faith had been strengthened.
3. Ron – homeless man going through the dumpsters behind our home at around 9am one Friday morning. I told him about a homeless BBQ our church (King's Harbor Church) was having that afternoon at 4pm and sure enough he was there. He has been living on the streets for the past 8 years.
4. Sherry – A homeless lady I met at the RB Pier where we go to proclaim the good news to people every Friday afternoon. I invited her to the BBQ and she walked with me over there. She told me she was a Christian, loves to sing and worship the Lord, and is 100% sure she would be going to heaven if she were to die today. I was able to encourage her and share a meal with her. She is currently living on the streets in Redondo Beach and is from Austin, Texas.
5. Sam – A man I met at the homeless BBQ. He spends his days doing research at the library and has been on the streets for 53 days now. He has 3 children, has auditioned for the Apprentice and fights in MMA events for charity. I was able to share the gospel with him and leave him with some literature and contact info in case there was any way I could help him in the future. He was a very intelligent man who is looking for any type of work in the South Bay area.
6. Maria – My wife and I went to eat at the Habit for dinner Monday night. As we were getting Nevaeh into her stroller a lady named Maria came up to us with a foreign accent with despair in her voice asking for money. She was with her 8 year old son whose name is Nicholas. She was almost in tears asking us for anything. We had no cash and asked if she wanted some dinner. She asked for groceries and told us she had a prescription from a doctor for her 2 year old son’s rash on his back. We told her we would be happy to buy the prescription for her and help her with groceries and walked over to Albertson’s/Sav-On with her. We came to know that she is from Bosnia, a single mother of 4, who just lost her job housecleaning and doesn’t have enough money for rent the coming month. It was almost overwhelming listening to her and seeing her desperation for her children. Giving her just a little bit to help her with groceries and a prescription for her son seemed like so little, but we were able to pray for her and continue to do so today
Some things I’ve learned from these experiences:
1. Pray for God to use you every day when you step out your front door. I have been specifically asking God to use me, to move me to the right, to the left, to direct each step, and to show me why I was alive today when I lay my head down at night. So, God has been giving me more opportunities to bless people, to share His love and grace with them, and to open my eyes to the tremendous need that is all around us every day.
2. Homeless people don’t expect us to show them any attention. They are similar to the Samaritan woman in John 4 who didn’t expect Jews to show them any respect. But Jesus shows us a different way, a better way. We all came from the same Adam and Eve, we are all made in God’s image, and we are commanded by Christ to love all.
3. “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35.
4. “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” Matthew 16:26. Homeless people have next to nothing. One homeless man named Ramon told me “he has a free ocean view” where he lives; all he has to do is peek his head around the dumpster! So many spend their lives chasing money. Make sure you are storing up treasures in heaven and inviting as many people as you possibly can to join you there. It is a free invitation, open to all, and it is our job as Christians to invite as many people there as we can.
5. Seeing these people remind me that there is only one thing that can meet their eternal needs, Jesus Christ. If all I do is give them money or food and don’t share the gospel with them, I’m not doing them a favor at all. It is important to not only bless them with what God has given me, but to make sure they know the truth about eternity and where they will spend eternity. We need to explain to them that the reason anyone goes to heaven is because God acquits us from the Courtroom of Eternal Justice on the grounds that Jesus Christ paid our fine. We are "justified" (made right with God) by His suffering death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ was God's seal of approval of the fact that His precious blood was sufficient to pay the fine.
Please pray for Jerry, Mike, Ron, Sherry, Sam, and Maria. Pray for God to use you, He will! Pray for His eyes to be your eyes and be looking for opportunities to bless people and make His Name known where you live.