Jan 23, 2019


I am grateful for the shape of my life. I am grateful for the ways that I am gifted. And even though I am often jealous of other people‘s gifting, I am glad to be me. I am grateful that I have found a vocation that is just right for me. 
It combined so many things that I love: solving problems, teaching, learning new things, trying new things, helping others, relating to the outcast, orchestrating an amazing machine with lots of moving parts, crossing cultural barriers, and sharing good news for a better world.

I am grateful for the people I journey with. I love my family of origin. I love the legacy they have given me. I love the family that I created with my wife. I look forward to the possibility of loving families created by my children. I love the community that I have created In my various workplaces. I love the community that is being formed in the ministry to homeless young adults. I’m grateful for my church family—groups that form For worship, discipleship, service, morning, celebration, and discernment. Each is unique and a blessing.
I am grateful for money, but I am more grateful to be freed from its enslavement on my life. I think it no small chance that God changed me from being employed to create wealth to being called to serve others without wealth, Without the possibility of company ownership, and without further amassing personal wealth. I am truly glad to be dependent. I always was, but it is a blessing to see the literal dependency on the gifts of others to follow my vocation. I am not creating a company that I own. I am not creating a profit. I am not being paid what I am “worth“ by trade or training. I am supported by the gifts of others who have come to understand my calling and want me to pursue it. God‘s blessing in my life is bigger, but is hard to name and earthly blessing larger than the support of so many people for my vocation.
As unexpected as the blessing of support has been, probably the most surprising blessing has come from including 5000 or more homeless broken and simultaneously amazing young adults in my life. They are so interesting. They are so strong. They are so diverse. It is not the reward of serving them but simply the reward of being with them that is such a blessing. The things they have taught me. The things they have made me think about. The glimpses of life that I can never fully understand but that I could also never experience myself. They have added a richness to my life that was completely unexpected. The blessings dwarfs any gratitude for accomplishment Or even growth that could come from serving.

I cannot write about gratitude without mentioning my sweet and amazing loyal companion, Rosie. That God would create a relationship between a man and a beast of such depth boggles the mind. Truly do know the love of a dog is to learn something of the unconditional love that God has for us.
I am grateful for the rhythms of life. For day and night. I used to bemoan that there wasn’t enough time in the day until someone pointed out that it was beyond arrogance To force everyone else to endure another hour just because I felt like I didn’t get enough done. I am grateful for the rhythm of a week. Often it feels as if Monday through Saturday is some type of marathon. But somehow I cross the finish line into Sunday and into worship.

There I am refreshed and rejuvenated and somehow ready to run into the next week. I am grateful for the rhythm of the seasons. I try to enjoy the cold of a cold day, the heat of a hot day, and everything in between. They are exactly as created and I was created to experience and indeed live in them. And I enjoy the rhythm of the calendar. Birthdays passing. Holidays celebrated. I have come to see the wisdom in the ecclesiastic calendar. The beginning of the year without vent. The celebration of Christmas. Preparation for Easter. A risen Lord. Pentecost. Life with the spirit. It all feels right. 
Finally I am grateful for perspective. Whether it’s focusing on tiny things or stepping back to see the big picture. Whether it’s looking externally or looking inwardly. Whether it’s looking to the physical world or into the spiritual realm. There is an order And a beauty and a wholeness. It is good. But the fact that I can twist any of it for my evil purposes keeps me humble and grateful for forgiveness. Jesus loved me first. He was willing to give up even Godhood to save me. And heal me. And restore me. This is why I believe. This is why I behave – at least to the extent that I manage to behave. This is why I follow. And this is why I serve. 

Jan 22, 2019

Score for SYM at Souper Bowl of Caring!

Every year during the climax of the NFL season, the Souper Bowl of Caring event provides food or funds for the homeless. Turn your Super Bowl watching event into something better!
We'd love to be your designated recipient for SouperBowl activities. Register at the link below:


Jan 21, 2019

Drop-in 4.0 is open and operating!

       SYM intern Tondra Daily shows off a clean and newly re-organized Drop-in Center, with refreshments ready to be served for the opening day celebration Jan. 4. It was a great success!

       It's our fourth iteration of improving services since we began operating our Drop-in Center in January of 2017. This year we are focused on even more client engagement. We've created more space for larger groups and more semi-private conversations. We've created a better on-boarding process for individual volunteers, and we've installed two workstations for seasoned volunteers to help other volunteers make a difference with each volunteer shift!

      We invite you to took a tour and come check it out!


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.