Dec 8, 2018

Fund raising

Our end-of-year
fund-raising goal
is $83,801. You
can help us reach it!
Trusted. Inspiring. Empowering. Fresh.
These are the words that describe us. By giving now, you will keep these services going as planned. This goal was calculated carefully from what we will have spent on services from January to now in 2018! In addition, we are seeking $25,000 to begin our San Antonio pilot operations in 2019.


Dec 7, 2018

SYM clients observe Dia de los Muertos

'A peaceful, beautiful moment'
Dia de los Muertos is a religious remembrance of family and friends who have died. It is celebrated throughout Mexico and among Hispanics in the U.S., including SYM clients who gathered for regular Bible study in the Drop-in recently under the guidance of Zarah, our fall intern. Some clients made private altars called ofrendas (at right), a great means of being creative and learning about others’ cultures. “It was a very peaceful and beautiful moment,” Zarah said.

Dec 6, 2018

Meet Porshia

Meet Porshia, our new staff member!
Porshia Sauls, newest member of our SYM team, will work around the Drop-in Center. Please welcome her to the cause!

She was born and raised in Austin and recently graduated from the University of Phoenix with a bachelor's degree in psychology. She enjoys singing and dancing. She has a passion for others and believes everyone deserves to have a fair chance in life.

Dec 5, 2018

Merry Christmas

We thrive because our identity is deeply rooted in God's calling to serve street-dependent young adults, and because we are clear about what we do and what we don't do. We want to see our clients become more stable and more sober, to reconnect with God and find a faith home! -- Terry
We strive to be known
as trusted, inspiring, empowering and fresh!
This is the 40th time I’ve written this quarterly newsletter. Our first was December 2008! Over the years, more than 5,000 clients have helped us learn exactly who God shaped us to be.
I was speaking with Bam this past week. I knew him 15 years ago when I first started volunteering with homeless young adults. "I didn't know what to do about you,” he recalled. “You just showed up. And you didn't go away like so many other people in my life." Bam now manages 11 local fast food restaurants. "It took me about a year to decide to trust you,” he said. “You would just come alongside and get involved. But you always wanted to help."

I couldn't have been more surprised when Bam called me up many years ago to share that he had become a Christian, let go of his anger issues and ended his criminal and drug involvement. I am very proud of him. As I showed him around the Drop-in this past week, he remarked, "It's so easy here to see what you care about. You care about us."

Over the 10 years, I have struggled with identity, personally and as a ministry. We thrive, I think, because that identity is deeply rooted in God's calling to serve street-dependent young adults, and because we are clear about what we do and what we don't do. We want to see our clients become more stable and more sober, to reconnect with God and find a faith home.

I was chatting on Facebook with another client this week. Justine was no more than 18 when we served her a few years ago. She loved drugs and was highly unpredictable. She traveled around but would come visit us, sometimes a few days and sometimes a few months. She participated in our outreach, our Bible study, our prayer time, as well as just hanging out and talking. "I'm sober now,” she wrote me. “I had to straighten up for my child ... a beautiful baby girl 9 months old. I just wanted to let you know." She continued, "Things are about to fall apart. I've separated from my husband, but we're working on it. I live with my brother and go to church. I'll make it." So now we are praying for her.

We're real, relevant and fun. These three things provide a unique way of helping, letting clients know why we care, and letting them know we believe in them.

I had a tough conversation this week with Marty. He got into two fights inside our space this past week, and he broke some things. "So what was going on with you?" I asked. He pointed the finger at others but then asked, "So, can I come in now?" I shook my head. "I'll be happy to get you anything you need and bring it out here, but until you can own some responsibility for what happened, I'll have to say no." He left angry. He's got a mega-chip on his shoulder from a pretty rough upbringing. He's up and down with drugs. But he wants better and he tells us about it. We know he'll get there. We're praying for the chance to continue our discussion. We know he can turn into a Bam or a Justine in time, discovering his own story of healing and restoration.

We will be trustworthy for Marty. It means being tough at times but consistent. We will be inspiring. We know he can overcome all of this with help from God. We will be empowering. We won't tell him what he needs but will wait patiently and support him as he finds his way. And we will continue to find new and fresh ways to engage with Marty so that the conversation continues.

In ten years we have grown to become a great team doing amazing things. We have four wonderful associate missionaries and Drop-in workers dedicated to being present for our clients. We have two interns. We have 275 supporters. We have hundreds more volunteers, a thousand prayer warriors, and many thousands of readers and followers. Thank you for being a part of this ministry for Bam and Justine and Marty! I pray you have a very joyous and meaningful Christmas!

Terry Cole

Dec 4, 2018

Turkey Grab

‘Turkey Grab’
 was a hit, so
 we'll do it again! 

"It's my first Thanksgiving, and the first time my mom and dad have ever had a home at Thanksgiving! So cool! And I'm so cute!"

We provide turkeys for clients who are housed, and they provide Thanksgiving dinners for those who are not.

Nov 17, 2018

Have any treasures in your 'lost & found'?

Jennifer at Covenant Presbyterian displays a t-shirt that arrived in the lost-and-found; after a suitable period if it is not claimed, she'll donate it to SYM. We'd like our other church and ministry partners to do the same. Our pledge is to find homes for the times. If a staff member lives near you, we will be happy to arrange pickup. Otherwise, we ask that you find a volunteer who might bring them to our Drop-in.

Nov 10, 2018

Clients join volunteers in fellowship

Clients join volunteers in fellowship
After “Investment Saturday,“ we have a sit-down family meal, with our homeless young adults and volunteers joining in. It is really fun to watch the community come together in fellowship.

Nov 9, 2018

...'toward love and good deeds'!

...'toward love and good deeds'!
Lots of UT students helped out one recent Saturday morning in our “Chopped!” event. These are from a student club called Humanity First. This event is very popular among groups that volunteer with us. To schedule your group, click below:
Interested in volunteering? Click here!

Nov 6, 2018

Success Story - Jacob

One street youth's journey: from client to missionary
It was the kind of simple, one-on-one conversation I pray for – the missionary and the homeless, aimless wanderer. A message of forgiveness and hope through Jesus Christ vs. a cacophony of swirling alternatives: Hinduism, Buddhism …Satanism?

We rarely learn how these conversations turn out, but this time we did.The answer came in a Facebook post:

“My name is Jacob. I'm 25 years old now. About four years ago I was homeless in Austin, Texas, and I used to come around your organization. I am working towards my own street-based ministry here in Asheville, N.C. I'm hoping that we can somehow network and bring the vision that Christ has given to us, and watch it grow all over America.

“My testimony is very powerful, and now I am giving up all that has held me back from God. I hear His voice more clearly every day, and today He has me contacting you. I am looking forward to just listening to your wisdom about where to start, to build a stronger foundation that somebody can look upon, agree upon, and hopefully support.

“I believe that a lot of what I do will also benefit you, because I believe in what you do. I believe in Christ Almighty and the Father that has sent Him."

I replied that I remembered Jacob and had a photo of him sitting on the tailgate of my pickup, playing his guitar. He responded:
 “I also remember a time when we sat together talking about spirituality and you were so sold on Christ Our God, and I could not commit to anything. I thought, is it Krishna, is it Hindu, is it Buddhism, is it Satanism? Should I live evil? Is everything just turned around to trick me? I felt so confused.

“I understand now. I knew you had the eternal wisdom but, sleeping on the streets with all of these people in other beliefs and religions, I couldn't commit my life to one thing. Now it is a different story.I am again so GRATEFUL to finally know the truth. God opened my heart and let me live as one in peace of the greater vision that is Christ Almighty.”

My conversation with Jacob is where the many Street Youth Ministry “events” – the meals, clothing closet, cold-weather gear distribution, Movie Night, Turkey Grab, computer time, peer counseling, etc. – are designed to lead.

We see 500 homeless young adults per year. That's 5,000 in the 10 years we're operated. Wow! We know that one in 10 young adults in the United States experiences homelessness at some time between ages 18 and 25. That’s hard to believe, but it's a recent statistic and one we think is accurate.

We cannot reach them all, but they all deserve people in their lives who care. We are looking for our proven methods to be replicated and/or improved upon all over the country. We plan on taking our ministry model to San Antonio this January, but we know our clients can carry the gospel to more locations and people than we ever will reach.

We look forward to hearing from more and more "Jacobs" in the future. It's already a small handful. We can't wait!