Jan 1, 2016

2015 Highlights in Review

2015 SYM Top Ministry Moment #10: Summer Student Interns
McKenzie (far left) and Josh (far right) both learned compassion
and how to help homeless young clients this summer.

This summer we had two high school interns. McKenzie and Josh were our first ever, and they proved it's a very worthwhile position. In addition to logistics, they formed relationships with many clients. The summer internship differs from our leadership internship in that it's fewer hours, more flexibke, and has a shorter term to better fit into a student's summer. We're so proud of both McKenzie and Josh and what they will continue to do in the world! We look forward to new applicants for summer 2016!

Read out our internship and pass the word to mature juniors. We have a weekly stipend we can pay. Not a lot but enough to keep one from needing a second job.

2015 SYM Top Ministry Moment #9: New Prayer Time Home
At prayer time, clients enjoy a meal, making or listening to music,
and reconnecting with prayer for themselves and others.

In 2016 we had to find a new home for our weekly Monday prayer services. Our old host moved to a building whose owner wouldn't allow homeless people into the building. We found an even better location and ministry parter in Texas Wesley House! Clients enjoy homemade breakfast tacos, smoothies, and fresh fruit every Monday at 11am. Clients have also learned to pray for the Wesley House leaders, students, and staff as well as for themselves, family and friends.

2015 SYM Top Ministry Moment #8: Turkey Grab
Rosie our ministry dog reconnects with a client who is now in college,
working, and living on her own away from the streets!
Each year we receive boxes of turkey fixings and frozen turkeys. We elect to distribute them to clients who have transitioned from the street and have kitchens, jobs, and houses! Frequently they use their turkey dinner to share Thanksgiving with friends who are still street dependent. It's a wonderful time to catch up with clients we no longer see on a regular basis!

We keep in touch with clients who have transitioned from the street and offer them prayer request service. You can join our prayer team and receive one specific prayer request about one client every 3 or 4 weeks. Sign-up at our single sign-up page.

2015 SYM Top Ministry Moment #7: Reduction in K2

Whit spent the better part of 2015 addicted to synthetic drugs, but faith shared with him on the street among our clients changed his life and saved him!
This past year was one of the darkest ministry years we have experienced, mainly because of an invasion of synthetic drugs with the most common street name of K2. However, we are pleased to report that K2 use is subsiding and that our clients have increased their awareness of the deleterious effects of K2 addiction compared to the start of the year. And we have shining examples of clients who have overcome their K2 addictions!

We share newsletters quarterly that highlight one aspect of ministry. Over time you get a really good idea of what we're about. Sign-up at our sign sign-in page.

2015 SYM Top Ministry Moment #6: Darvin Intern and Volunteer
Darvin helps one of our clients at the Christmas party.
Darvin has trained and volunteered for 6 months this year!

We loved having Darvin Tan as our leadership intern in 2015. His term began in June. He studied for 13-weeks and learned to lean an urban poverty-informed ministry like ours. He feels so called that he continues to volunteer as he awaits approval of his religious worker visa to become our second Journeyman missionary sometime in 2016!

We look forward to new applicants for our leadership intern positions for spring, summer, and fall. Read about it and spread the word. Perfect for those considering a religious call, those interested in social work, or drug counseling!

2015 SYM Top Ministry Moment #5: Homeless Prom
Clients got dressed up in formal wear for a fancy sit-down dinner
followed by a prom, complete with light show and fun!

This year, Lifeworks (a partner organization) hosted a Prom event for clients they served in the age range 17-24. Before the prom started, many professional hairdressers volunteers to help clients with hair and make-up, and everyone got a sweet make-over. There were also lots of fancy prom style clothes donated, and everyone showed up looking pretty sharp. There was great food, punch, ice cream floats, and a live DJ. It was a very fun night!

Our partnership work with Lifeworks need underwriters. We help out Lifeworks everyday and they are not able to pay our staff for the hours spent. See how we spend our funds at our donor page.

2015 SYM Top Ministry Moment #4: Christmas Party
Clients lit advent candles and helped tell the Gospel story through hope, peace, joy, and love.
Here the peace candle is lit carefully from the hope candle.

Our Christmas party is our most extravagant event of the year. We served almost 60 clients this year. They receive practical and fun gifts in exchange for participation in lots of fun games and activities! We overhead things like "I haven't had a gift in over four years" and "I thought it was be lame, but that was really fun!"

2015 SYM Top Ministry Moment #3: From Shoes to College
This client sports new great-fitting shoes selected from our office after being donated.
We leverage those items into relationships and opportunities for counseling.

We use donated items for a reason. Donations come in far more variety and are generally higher quantity that typical "homeless shelter" purchases make in bulk. In-kind donors make a huge difference. In this story, a pair of shoes offered led to relationship, counseling on how to achieve a dream of going to college, and counseling on how to work toward forgiving his father.

We need all sorts of items. We keep them listed on our wishlist page. We appreciated used items no longer wanted at home, but we also maintain an Amazon wishlist for some items. We also appreciate shoppers who watch for sales on individual chip packages for outreach.

2015 SYM Top Ministry Moment #2: Trip the Circus Changes Lives

A group of partner, frequent volunteers, and clients who were on the verge of transition
(in our opinion) posed outside the big top. Special events help us reward and motivate
clients to follow their dreams.

Earlier this year, some people from Cirque du Soleil offered the ministry free tickets to go see their circus performance "Kooza" on opening night. We brought a handful of clients, as well as a few friends that work for Lifeworks, who tagged along to help us. The show was very fun, at times interactive, and almost everyone said they had a positive experience from getting to go. Several clients committed to making life-changes as a result of the experience! Three are in college and one is working!

We invite regular volunteers to chaperone our "field trips." So head on over to our volunteer page, take the online orientation, and sign-up to become a regular. You never know what awesome event you might get to accompany clients on!

2015 SYM Top Ministry Moment #1: Magician Does More than Entertain
There are many ways to tell and show the Gospel. We bring our clients a unique and needed expression of the Gospel by meeting them where they are, believing in them, and encouraging change when they are ready. Two clients and a frequent volunteer waive their magic show tickets in approval!

We were invited to attend a magic show at UT campus to and invite clients! We invited all those who had attended at least 3 indoor events that month. The magic show was great, and at the end, the magician revealed that he was a Christian, and that his life has been saved by Jesus! One client gave his life to Christ that evening and another began discussions with us about finding a church home for regular attendance.
We partner with lots of churches around town. If you'd be interested in hosting a special event like a game night, a dance, a trip to the zoo, or a museum, sign-up to receive our partner newsletter so you'll be ready to help!