May 22, 2010

Ministry Reactions

Abstract desktop wallpaper of gentle ripples on a lake
I'm out in ministry every day, caring for street-dependent young people in the 12 blocks west of the UT Campus. I experience different reactions from the community. Here are some:
  •  A sidewalk food vendor watches me carefully. One day he calls me over. He says I'm doing a good thing. Talking with me, he reveals that he was a troubled youth like my clients. He gives me cash donations from time to time and also food he can no longer sell so that I can share it with the youth.
  • A young man completing a degree in Architecture, who has always been drawn to helping these street-dependent young people who are so like him in age and interests, decides to get a social work degree. He did original research to help determine what type of housing options this age group wants and needs.
  • A sidewalk vendor who travels from place to place tells me: "I have done my part. I fed the bird. This is more important than feeding the homeless." This man seems to live a sad and shriveled life. I am left speechless by his views but do pray for him.
  • A man I used to work with collects a certain toy. He literally has dozens, maybe hundreds. One day he decides that one more in his collection will not make him happy. Not even a hundred more. So he sells the whole collection on eBay and donates the funds to SYM. He tripled the investment and turned it over to help the ministry to know, love, and serve street-dependent so that they may come to know Christ and connect with Christian community.
  • An older man, street-dependent one year ago, volunteers regularly and donates food items when he can. He was befriended by the street-youth population and now gives back. He takes them to dinner occasionally, as well.
  • A street vendor in the market square shares herbal remedies for many things that troubles a street-youth. She was once a street-youth herself.
  • Another street vendor in the market square meets me at the curb and yells, "You can't stand here. I'm calling the cops. This is a market and not a sidewalk. You encourage the youth so I'm calling the cops." The police declined to come. I continue to pray for her troubled and angry life.
  • A young woman going to school notices me hanging out with street youth she has met in the past. She inquires. She becomes a regular volunteer. Because of her love and training as a volunteer, she successfully and safely invites street-youth to her church for dinner and worship.
God, let the ripples from each of these reactions spread out into the community. Let those that are not from you, dissipate quickly into nothing. Let those that come from your will, your love, and your spirit spread and grow, bouncing off the many rocks and obstacles and continuing without limit or bounds.

"To know, love and serve street dependent youth."
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