Travelers are one of our client subcultures. They are named for their habit of drifting, often by "hopping trains" or hitchhiking. Some have vans or cars. They come to town, stay a while and then leave. We love having them and often see them several times a year. Some travelers come to visit us only once a year, but have been doing so for several years.
Travelers are very practical and know what they want. They often take action to get what they need and then move on. They are tough looking and tough acting. They like dark colors and are often very dirty from the train and from camping outdoors. They usually travel with dogs and in groups. They refer to traveling buddies as "road dogs." They aren't thugs but they can be gruff. They often drink alcohol and heroin runs through the sub-culture as well.
We usually meet travelers on our street outreach activities--we call that our "front door." Despite invitations, it's not easy to get travelers to come inside to our core services. As a result, we often work with travelers outside on the street, asking about faith and sharing ours along with other relevant conversations. But we are overjoyed when they do come in. Recently we had a few. Here are sample conversations from a prayer time:
"I want to be a righteous person. I want God to give me peace. I want God to help me reconnect with my daughter. I'm traveling to see her now." With this person, we ended up doing one to one faith counseling after prayer time. The traveler shared his somewhat universal views of God and faith. He had many questions about Jesus and heaven and hell. He wanted to know what the Bible said about reincarnation. He listened intently to what Jesus says about heaven and judgement. He understood and said he recognized the truth in it. We had a long discussion about comparing religions and showing him common things (morality, creationism, and righteousness) but how grace was unique to Christianity. He really began to understand that. We pray these seeds will give him great hope for the future and ultimately bring him to understanding of Jesus Christ personally.
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