A couple of weeks ago, a few people from the IV Homeless Ministry met Bill. He’s a writer. A darn good one too. I’ve been meaning to type this ‘letter of a friend’ for the past couple of weeks, but kept forgetting—I was reminded yesterday when I met him. I had no idea that he was the author of this letter, but he let me read some of his works and they were amazing. Anyway. I just want to share this with you all so that you’ll understand a little of what I mean when I say that there is just so much love out there on the streets.
By William Terzin
I went canning, with a friend, down the streets tourists buy pictures of and send to friends as postcards. Of course, in the dawn of morning, with a mist hanging on after a light rain, we are without worries of being a distraction.
Kenny pushes his cart, a burden acquired not even a month before as a means to a new beginning. He’s a mountain of a man, a solid two thirty with twenty of so extra pounds around his waist. Kenny’s light black skin and graying beard blend well with a short afro style haircut older, wiser black men tend to favor. A gentle voice and calm demeanor are at odds with the power his broad shoulders and thick wrists display. (I have just realized Kenny’s calm is easily maintained due to everyone in his presence unconsciously unwilling to discover another side of him. While Kenny is a mellow man, there is no question of his honor. I have yet to see it tested.)
We talk of life, and with Kenny this always centers on one theme: Faith. He arrived in San Diego six months ago on faith of better opportunities then he left in Los Angeles. Kenny has yet to learn that this economy is Godless and is planning to try again up north in Sacramento. My only friend, I could attempt to convince him to stay, but then I may be the one leaving him when my time on the streets come to an end.
Our walk s unplanned. Kenny usually heads north (Little Italy, Old Town) after our morning coffee, but he has decided to ‘can’ downtown this morning. I’m only tagging along, waiting for a nine o’clock general relief appointment. We have planned to share a meal, maybe a buffet, after the general relief money hits. Kenny’s agreed to be an example of the man who maintains his sanity on these streets; of a man who offers society more than it is currently asking of him. I have permission to ask questions and to pry in his past life at the meal.
I’ve decided against this. Not the buffet, but rather interviewing Kenny during a moment when relaxing is actually a possibility. I feel I know him well enough to hand this story, typed, to him while we eat. A gift, if you’ll allow, of friendship.
Upon first hearing his occupation (cab driver), I immediately recalled the moving Driving Mrs. Daisy, for not only is the character’s voice (played by Morgan Freeman) a mimic of Kenny’s, but if Kenny was to claim Mr. Freeman used him as a character study before playing the role, one would agree without question. They say everyone has a twin, and Kenny is the type of person who’s twin can be depicted on a theater screen. I guess he serves as a lesson to this writer. I could mix the better qualities of the better individuals I know and cast this creation as lead in my next script, but by doing so I’ll accomplish nothing artistically except for giving the unlucky members of hte audience who have never met a person such as Kenny the experience of the joy this type of person can provide.
I am writing at the general relief office, and since I was just approved, we’ll be having that dinner tonight.
So I must close this letter of a friend, type these words at the library and hope Kenny can find the hope in them which he gives me naturally. If focused upon, the negative facts of the lives who roam these streets will blind a man. Light, such as Kenny provides, will fade from view. Hell, without this man I doubt these words I write daily would hold any meaning. Charity, after all, is centered upon helping others with the hope to make a difference. I hope in the end these words help define and focus the charity of others. Without Kenny, I’d be hard pressed as to justify a reason why.
p.s Kenny, don’t get too big of head. What I give with words I can take away!!!!!
I will sing the Lord’s praise,
for He has been good to me.
Our God is so good to us. This is a generalization, but most of us going to UCSD are so abundantly blessed. We have a bed, an apartment/suite, food, money to spend, clothes (and more clothes), a heater, a computer. There are so many more ‘basic’ essentials in life that aren’t listed. Anyway, all the things listed are materialistic blessings from God. How about the family that He’s provided us? Our friends & suitemates? How about the resources that we have in this world being a college student? This paragraph doesn’t even begin to show God’s blessings for us.
He blesses us all, even the homeless. But sometimes, it’s harder for some, like the homeless, to see God’s love & blessings. That’s why this ministry is so important. Our PB&Js only mean so much, but when we sing praises to the Lord through loving on the homeless, we are partnering with God in showing them how loved they are. Isn’t that the least we can do anyway?—to praise the Lord by giving others what He gives us?
So, we thought this was pretty cool: Jessica Song, a freshman in Thurgood Marshall, came out to homeless with us last week…when she had TWO midterms the following day. CRAZINESS! (Good crazy!) She aced them :) Ok, we’re definitely NOT saying that if you come out to homeless, you’ll get A’s (not at allllll). But To just use Jessica as an example, it shows that if you prioritize between serving God and insert here, God will acknowledge that & bless you. (Blessing you doesn’t necessarily = A’s though!). Jessica prioritized by getting her studying done before homeless so that she could come out with us to love on those sleeping out on the streets.
If anyone who went to homeless this week (Week Five) and would like to share a story or experience, email Kelvin (KaFong@ucsd.edu) or Leslie (Lesliechinny@gmail.com) and we’ll get it onto the posts asap!
Great is the Lord, and most worthy of praise,
in the city of our God, in his holy mountain.
Midterms midterms midterms! So much anxiety & stress around the campus—which means people are holed up in their rooms trying to focus on their Chemistry book while checking their Facebook. We just want to encourage those who want to serve, but don’t because of stress to just come out! It’s only a few hours of your night that you would have probably spent on Facebook or AIM or __insert here .
So, no only was this week the prime time for midterms, but it was raining today! Just to let y’all know, we still go out when it rains because:
1) If anything, the homeless need us even more when it rains.
2) When it rains they all go under an overpass that covers them (and us) from the rain.
3) You actually get to meet more people than normal because they’re all in one area!
Tonight was amazingly relaxing. The rain wasn’t letting up but having the rain there really solidified some relationships between us and certain people sleeping out on the streets.
Snippets of conversation heard around A st. & Union St. :
*Brenda, a really friendly, motherly looking woman shared about how she’s adopted 10+ kids (or at least took care of them like they were her own) and how she majored in Writing and hasn’t really had the passion to read after becoming homeless.
*Thomas (bookworm) telling his super long book summaries & Cory in the background making faces at Thomas because Cory’s hearing this for the 5th time
*Mike & Cory teasing Thomas. So funny!
*Baseball! With anyone who cared. haha
If anyone who went to homeless this week (Week Four) and would like to share a story or experience, email Kelvin (KaFong@ucsd.edu) or Leslie (Lesliechinny@gmail.com) and we’ll get it onto the posts asap!
But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice.
Midterms are starting! How do we know this?—the very dramatic drop in number of people who came out with us this week. But that’s ok—we understand.
I do encourage those of you who know that realistically, you’re not going to be studying on Tuesdays from 7-9:30, to come out with the homeless ministry to pass out food & spend time with our brothers and sisters out on the streets in downtown San Diego. Especially since it’s getting colder, they need us out there even more.
Snippets of conversation heard around A st. & Union St. :
*Mike, who lives a few blocks away from A St. & Union St. came over to visit his good friend Thomas (Bookworm).
*A guy from Texas bringing the goods back to his friends (huge can of Coke for Mike, V8 (EWW) for Thomas) and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream for himself.
*Theresa, (UCSD student studying Religion) talked to Thomas (Santa Clause) about spiritual topics that most of the time none of us can really understand or comprehend. Praise the Lord for Theresa!
*Michael, a hardcore republican, had a lot to say to Laura about his opinions on Obama. Let’s just say he doesn’t really like him.
*Reuben was obviously a little tipsy…because he was REALLY nice. No cynicism today. SO grateful for the water & for our presence.
*Laura & Leslie are still looking for Billy. :(
If anyone who went to homeless this week (Week Three) and would like to share a story or experience, email Kelvin (KaFong@ucsd.edu) or Leslie (Lesliechinny@gmail.com) and we’ll get it onto the posts asap!
Come join us this week (Week 4—10/19/10) to experience a little bit of heaven with these amazing men & women. Free rides at sungod lawn! 6345-930pm.
*Whether it rains or not, we’re still going! Don’t worry, they’ll be under an overpass if it rains, so we won’t get wet either!
This is Kelcie Kadowaki, a first year at UCSD, and this is her testimony on her ministry experiences:
Hi IVers! My name is Kelcie Kadowaki. Many of you probably don’t know me since I’m a first year and have only recently come out to some of the Intervarsity events. I have to say, though, that each time I’ve come out I’ve felt really blessed. One time in particular was when I was able to serve with the urban team in downtown San Diego. I remember going, thinking that I pretty much knew what to expect since I have served the homeless before, but God definitely proved me wrong. I felt very humbled by the experience. The times that I served before were just behind soup kitchen counters or helping at churches, but last week I actually got to sit down with individual homeless people and be with them where they lived. It’s not so much that I was humbled by their living conditions, no doubt I am every time since I realized how blessed I am to have a roof over my head and clean clothes, but I was more so humbled by the conversations that I had with them. Each conversation, whether it was with a former navy seal, a middle aged couple, a twenty-three year old drug addict, or with a man who believes he rules the Andromeda galaxy, I felt that God was teaching me how to see them through His eyes and helping me learn from them. From Don, the man whose from outer space, God showed me that we are similar, that I kind of share the same imagination as he does and that though he may make up stories and facts, God loves him just the same and wants salvation for him as well. From Keith, the man who served twelve years in the Navy, God humbled me to hear that he still serves at churches despite his circumstances. From the couple, God blessed me through prayer because he allowed me to pray for them and receive prayer from them, reminding me that God always brings strangers and the most unlikely people together through his love.
There is no doubt that serving takes time from your schedules and it can sometimes be uncomfortable, but for me at least, I feel like every time I serve, especially the homeless, I am blessed. I am being served instead. If you’re new to IV like me, or new in your faith, I would encourage you to go out. Try it. Try loving on others because in the end, it usually doesn’t feel as if you’ve loved, but that God loved on you through them.
“Dear friends, let us love one another for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”
1 John 4: 7-12
8 Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.
Taste that the Lord is good. How do you taste the goodness of the Lord? Have you ever been in that moment where you stopped and realized, “DANG, my God is so good.” Where you get those goosebumps from realizing how unworthy you are, but yet, the God of righteousness and justice loves you. He hates sin and literally can’t be in the presence of sin, but he loves you, a sinner. He is really that good. Can you taste His goodness now??
Yes, blessed is the man who takes refuge in him—blessed not by worldly wealth or accomplishments, but quite literally, blessed by his Holy and great presence.
I’m sure many who have been out to serve the homeless with urban ministries can testify that we have all seen Jesus in these homeless people. Seeing Jesus in them doesn’t literally mean “Wow, that homeless person I was talking to was literally JC himself!” It’s like when you’re talking to a friend who recently came back from a missions trip to Thailand, and as he talks about his experiences and the ways that God worked—you see Jesus in him. Or when you’re going through a tough time, and someone says the exact words that turn your day around—you see Jesus in them. As we walk with Jesus, may we learn to follow God in such a way where others see Jesus when they look at us, and may we learn to see Jesus in other places that we least expect.
With that said, may we learn to really see Jesus in those who are homeless and when spending time with them, see Jesus in their lives and taste the blessings of being in their presence.
Went back to regular good ‘ol PB&Js this week!
Here are some snippets of conversations around A st. & Union st :
*Moses: Encouraging & funny man with a headache that night. So cheerful despite his headache. Headache is most likely caused by his diabetes and his really unhealthy diet.
*Bruce: 67 year old man who says he feels like he’s at his primes. Has been to all the states in the US besides for Alaska. Went to tryouts for the Chargers, Vikings, and the Twins!
*Thomas (Bookwork): talked about Twilight all night. Dang, three weeks in a row. He really wants to catch the new Harry Potter movie and is saving up for it. Maybe we should chip in?
*Reuben: still angry that he’s homeless. Understandable right—who likes sleeping on concrete floor next to huge cockroaches every night??
If anyone who went to homeless this week (Week Two) and would like to share a story or experience, email Kelvin (KaFong@ucsd.edu) or Leslie (Lesliechinny@gmail.com) and we’ll get it onto the posts asap!
Come join us next week (10/12) at 6:30 on sungod lawn. Free rides!
This is Laura :) She’s a third year from Torrance and has been going out to love on the homeless with IV homeless ministry for one year. This is her story:
My favorite part of the homeless ministry is beyond the surface, I truly enjoy the mutual friendships I have developed and nurtured through the ministry. When I began the ministry I was honestly scared. The idea of not only approaching but talking to homeless people made my stomach uneasy. That uneasiness quickly ended. Each time I went, I discovered more and more about the men, women, and young people living on the streets. I learned about their broken pasts, their many accomplishments, their hopes, their fears, and most importantly I learned about them. After listening to their experiences and being able to put a face (like Thomas’, Mama Heather’s, and Billy’s) on the countless people who are homeless, I no longer feared the idea of handing out PB&Js, water, and giving a listening ear at night in the heart of down town San Diego. Rather I look forward to Tuesday nights discovering more than I ever thought I would from the homeless.
35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
Jesus commands us to love our neighbor (Mark 12:31). Not only those who look similar to us or those who have the same privileges that most of us have, but He also calls us to love those who are in need. Every day, we are bombarded with Jesus’ love, regardless of if we notice it or not—Jesus is constantly loving us and wanting the best for His beautiful children. By just knowing that we are SO loved, shouldn’t it compel us to love others like Jesus loves us? It should, but we don’t. Which is why Jesus commands us to love our neighbors—especially those who are broken. We need to make a constant effort to see Jesus in everyone around us: friends, family, co-workers, peers, the homeless, refugees, prisoners, etc. Hopefully, by learning to recognize Jesus qualities in those around us, we will be able to love with Jesus’ love.
Praise the Lord! He provided so many willing hearts to go and serve the homeless. There were a total of 17 freshman and 5 regulars.
We brought bean and cheese burritos, water, and bananas. We barely had enough food for people to give!
We are all so blessed every time we go out. The homeless’ generosity and kindness is always a surprise to newcomers. For those who have been out to homeless regularly, I think it’s less of a surprise, but more of a loving reminder that we are in the presence of Jesus. I see Jesus in so many of the men and women that we meet on Tuesday nights. I truly believe that as much as we are a blessing to them, they are a blessing to us twofold.
If anyone who went to homeless this week (Week One) and would like to share a story or experience, email Kelvin (KaFong@ucsd.edu) or Leslie (Lesliechinny@gmail.com) and we’ll get it onto the posts asap!
Come join us next week (10/5) at 6:30 on sungod lawn. Free rides!