What is Faith?

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. ~ Hebrews 11:1

Friday, June 4, 2010

Tell Me Why



I never really know what it is you, my readers, want to know about. I journal a lot more than what I write in these blogs. Do you want to hear about the trip itself, meaning step by step, we're in this city or that state and this is what it looks like? These are the beautiful places and theses are the places to avoid?

Perhaps you'd like to hear the 'Woe is me's.' The nitty gritty about the pain I have every day. The bad back, arthritic knees, the once broken foot that feels like it has re-broken from stress, and the hip that goes out more than I do. But with all the pain and I do down 4 Tylenol at a time sometimes 3 or 4 times a day, my woes are insignificant compared to the woes I hear from those I am here to serve.

Maybe you'd like to hear about the comparisons between my experiences of 30 years ago and what life is like for this homeless gal in the streets today. I can assure you both experiences are worth writing about. Both very different and both mind boggling.

Should I continue telling you about the incredible things Patrick and I see on a daily basis? Stories where the impossible happens; where people who were once poorer than a church mouse are now millionaires and spend every dime on people they don't know; stories about millionaires who are now living under bridges; stories of miracles that happen every day; and the miracle that are yet to come.

How about the story of the murderess who is now teaching kids the meaning of the hidden artistic abilities they hold within themselves. The basketball coach who gave up his job to live in the streets so he could watch over the homeless teens.

For now I will keep on doing what I am doing and whatever the spirit leads me to write about, I will. This evening will be no different.

I try to write what every person that will stop and have a conversation with me says. I find the diversity of responses to my question "If you had the power to stop homelessness, how would you do it?"

I have to write about the two answers that kind of caught me off guard. They didn't really answer the question, but instead asked one of me instead. The same questions I ask God almost every day.

*****

One man gave up his lifelong corporate executive career to be part of the end of homelessness. He now works as fundraiser for a large street to home organization in Sacramento. He has photos of teens on the shelf behind his desk. These kids were throw away kids. Now they are his.

I told him this story. "This woman from Russia who has lived here for 30 years, been married to the same man, and given birth to 2 children suddenly find herself homeless. She and her husband owned a business and then he had the nerve to go and die. Now America tells her because somehow she fell through the crack and never got her green card, she is not eligible for financial aide. America says we're not going to help you, we don't want you now you're on your own."

Bill finished my thoughts. "What I really want to know is where are her two kids? They are grown and their mom is living in a homeless shelter. I don't understand it. Why aren't more families helping? Tell me why"

*******

David was retired and about to move out of the state with his beautiful wife. But an opportunity opened up and God made him an offer he couldn't refuse. Two sometimes three days a week he and his wife bring hope to Sacramento tent cities.

He and I talked about the lack of participation from the community. I don't remember how, but we got on the topic of faith.

"I am a Christian," I said, "and sometimes I get angry because too many churches are not Christ like at all. I don't understand why each and every church in America isn't stepping up to the plate and taking in their neighbors who are less fortunate."

He didn't say much. Just listened to what I had to say. I apologized for being on my faith based political soap box. The words came quietly and I had to strain to hear him.

"Those of us who are strong and able in faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, 'How can I help?" Romans 15

"I was a Methodist minister for more years than I can remember and today I can say, sometimes I am ashamed to be called a Christian because you're right. Many churches are not Christ like at all."

"So what do you do? What can I do to change that?" I asked him.

"You're doing it. I am doing it. We are doing what we know God has called us to do. When these other churches are ready, they will hear the voice of God say to them 'Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' Matthew 25:40"

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I love your blog just the way it is...a little bit of everything. The stories you pass on from the people you meet often make me cry, the stories from your life are heart wrenching, the updates on where you are keep me informed, and the reality checks of the strain this takes on you remind me to keep praying. God is using you to do a great work!

Stacy Phillips

Nick said...

I like it just the way it is, too. I'm sure you have a huge burden placed upon you deciding what to tell, and we will never know all the stories you know. Please keep listening to the Spirit, and tell us what we need to hear, not what we want to!

Doctrine and Covenants 8:2-3:

"Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart.
"Now, behold, this is the spirit of revelation; behold, this is the spirit by which Moses brought the children of Israel through the Red Sea on dry ground."