Tuesday Denver Day 3
Hello from Denver! Actually the basement of the Beatitudes House!
We have had quite an eventful first day on the streets! Intense actually! First we endured the intense “task force” training (taught by Christ in the City, a.k.a. the one and only Codi Krueger) which involved going through the “do’s and don’ts” of street ministry. We learned what being a true missionary looks like and how to bring that into fulfillment on the streets by serving Christ in others. After our “task force” training we had the opportunity to “put our learned skills into action (elise)” by going down to the Good Samaritan House and having lunch with the population of people experiencing homelessness. First off, let’s emphasize the phrase that our tour guide Mike said, “These people I meet are not homeless people but only people experiencing homelessness”. So, by simply sitting down and having lunch with these people we now consider them our friends and not another homeless person but a brother or sister in Christ who has a story and is at this moment in his/her life experiencing homelessness. After this, we headed back to the Christ in the City house and prepared ourselves for our first walk on the street. On this walk, we encountered many different walks of life. In a lot of the events that we expereinced Christ’s real presence through another human being. The hearts that we were exposed to held a lot of sadness, but in that there was a lot of beauty and we realized that through their personal testimonies they have a lot of wisdom to give us.
Kelsey: Honestly, going into this first encounter and call to serve my heart was both extremely nervous but experiencing great joy. The highlight and heart break of today came from two incredible souls down on 16th street Mall in Denver. The first was a young man, probably around our age (early twenties). The second was a Mother probably in her upper 50’s or early 60’s. Both of these hearts came from incredibly broken families who have decisively chosen to shut them out and offer no love. For me, that was probably the hardest reality to face, even more so than the stereotypical struggle with drug and alcohol. That their very own families couldn’t love them enough to make them feel as if they have a home. As much as our friends need physical needs, what I had the blessing to witness today was their even greater need to have a home in the hearts of people who just walk by them not even acknowledging their deepest dignity, their presence and gifts they have to offer. I understood after this that the greatest gift we can ever offer someone is the time we give to them to acknowledge them as they are and just simply be with them in that moment. Our friends are both starving in a literal sense but are even more starving for love. The mother we talked with broke down crying as she is telling us her story, saying “Sharing my heart is not something I ever do. I don’t want to talk about it it’s just too painful but I never get the chance to”. In that moment it was so clear that just listening to her pour out her heart was all the love she needed. Our friends have a lot to offer, if we just give them the space to open up. Today has been absolutely huge in so many ways, and I am almost at a loss of words to even begin to speak any of the things God has been doing on the streets and in service. My heart can’t wait to continue to serve on the streets throughout the remainder of Headlights and meet Christ in the poor there. My idea of “family” has forever changed. I will never forget the brothers and sisters I got the chance to meet today.
Elise: Today was a very interesting and joyful day. I woke up not really knowing what the day was going to bring and I was a little nervous because my stereotypes of people experiencing homelessness. Before I was actually out and talking with these people, I was carrying a lot of the stereotypical feelings towards homeless people like ,”they’re dangerous” or “they’re dirty” that I didn’t realize were still prevalent. However, once I sat down to lunch with one of our friends at the Good Samaritan house it really just felt like I was talking with an old friend. The man we first talked to had an amazing story and he was very charismatic! It was a joy listening to him and just to see how much joy he had in life despite the struggle of homelessness he was experiencing. We met another man on the street who was very similar to the first. He was a very positive and “happy go lucky” type of person. He had an amazing story also and a very strong foundation in his faith. I was trying to soak in everything he had to say because he was actually ministering to us and he had a heart that you could tell was on fire for God and his faith. Overall, my day started in nervousness and insecurity within myself about things like what if I don’t say the right thing or what if they don’t like me and ended with joy and a great love for just people in general that I never knew I could have.
In conclusion, our day started with a lot of anxious and nervous hearts but ended with joy filled hearts. We both feel very blessed to have opened up the door to friendships with these people who are currently experiencing homelessness in their lives. Each and every individual brought something so beautiful to the table that there was no doubt God was speaking through them to us. Although, we thought we would be the ones ministering to these people it actually turned out that they were the ones who were ministering to us and giving us a very real and concrete encounter with Jesus Christ.
In spirit and love,
Elise and Kelsey