If you happen to be in the city of Wilmington on Wednesday’s at noon, and you just happen to drive under the train bridge in the “darker” parts of the city, and you happen to spot two white guys who look like they have taken the wrong turn on their way from the office, don’t be alarmed, it’s just me and my buddy Terry doing what we have come to really enjoy…hanging out with the homeless and taking them out to lunch. We have met some really interesting people, shared some good times, and hopefully have showed them the love of Jesus in a consistent and genuine manner.
It is so cool to see how God brought this whole thing about. Terry and his other friend were the ones that started doing this “take a homeless guy out to lunch” thing about a year ago. Well, about 6 months ago, while still living in Dover (about an hour from Wilmington), I woke up one morning with a compelling desire to just go into the city of Wilmington and start reaching out to people in the name of Jesus. I had no idea what God was specifically calling me to do. All that I did know was that He was urging me to go immediately and share Christ with people in the city. As I began going into the city and telling people about Jesus, I started encountering a lot of homeless people around the downtown green. It was fun to talk to them because they were never in a hurry and wouldn’t mind talking at length about the things of God. So, after several times of going into the city and encountering the homeless people, I began taking some of my lunch and looking for a homeless person to share it with. Then, one Sunday, I was visiting one of the churches in the association that I work for as a missionary and I was introduced to Terry and was told about what he and his friend had been doing with the homeless in the last year. I thought that was such a cool idea and told him that I would love to go out and do that with him. That’s how Terry and I have hooked up to do ministry with the homeless.
It often goes beyond just having lunch with them. For instance, we now give out shower kits (towel, soap, toothbrush, deodorant, etc) to many of them along with bibles. As I hand out the shower kits and bibles, I tell them “the shower kit will help get you clean on the outside, but the bible will get you clean on the inside.” After handing out the shower kits and bibles, we usually just strike up conversation with one or two, talk for a while, and then invite them to be our guest for lunch. This has led to many opportunities to talk to them about Jesus and pray for them. A few months ago, after handing out shower kits and bibles, one guy came up to me and asked me to pray for him, and then another immediately came up and asked for prayer also, and then several others. So, right there on the corner of a busy street with cars passing by, there we were, about 10 of us all holding hands and giving thanks and praise to Jesus! It was awesome!
I think that one of the greatest things about this “ministry” is that it really is not some structured, planned, strategic type thing that we have formulated to reach the homeless, but rather it is just 2 guys who have a heart to hang out with the homeless and be a reflection of Christ’s love. To us, the homeless are not a project that needs fixing…they are just people who need to know the love and grace of Jesus every day…just like you and me.
Here is a picture of me and 2 friends of mine, Joe (on the left) and Herman (on the right) Terry and I have had lunch with these guys on many occasions. Herman is rather famous as Terry did this “experimental” project on his blog where he asked people to donate just $1 so that they could help raise money so that Herman could get an apartment. They ended up raising over $1,000 from that. People from all over the country were sending in their one dollar along with cards and notes of encouragement to Herman. Terry now works very close with Herman. He has brought him to various appointments, has advocated on his behalf, and has truly been an example of loving him with the love of Jesus.
So, remember, if you see us in those “seedy” places in the city, we’re not lost…we just happen to be at one of our favorite lunch spots in the city…under the bridge. Wanna join us sometime?