We jumped into the white van, clad in flannel with nothing but one bible and an emergency phone. It never crossed my mind that what we were about to venture out on is not at all the norm for a good weekend!
The October 2011 Compassion DTS took 24hrs to live on the streets and experience what life looks like for the homeless. My good friend Dieuwke, their leader, was supposed to head up a team but she wasn’t able to go so I took on her students for her. There was four of us, and boy did we get into it. We were living homeless, we were living without shame.
We pulled coats out of bins, hoarded blankets for the night and collected random junk from everywhere. We begged outside McDonald’s, ate food off the ground, slept in parks, slept in a bus stop, and slept on a dirty couch. We sung christmas carols for hot chocolate, sung hebrew prayers for money, and then spent the money on roses to bless some ladies. We played beer bottle pipes, feasted on free bread, scored free chips, got advice from actual homeless people and showered (clothed) in a fountain with our free soap.
Although we had nothing, we felt like kings.
It just blows my mind to look back at all this and continually see God’s provision in every situation. We never went without. From the beginning to the 24th hour, our group was just filled with joy and positivity. I was so blessed to be put together with these amazing students who were continually seeking new ways to make the most out of every situation. To see that energy, a fun spirit, and joy in life even while sleeping on wet grass was just so encouraging, and totally a thing of God. There is no way that we could have stepped into this time without putting all of our trust and faith in Him.
We may have gotten back exhausted, sore, and bitten, but I wouldn’t take back one minute of those few hours. I don’t think that God is calling me to live on the streets but he definitely taught me about one thing while we were out there; generosity with love is key. Without it, this town, this country and this universe has no hope.
“One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” Proverbs 11:24-25
I challenge you to try it sometime. To figure out what generosity with love means for you. To be homeless. To seek humility in the lowly and dark places of this world.