Sunday, December 7, 2008

If I Was Homeless

If I was homeless... I would want you to visit with me, to say Hello and say How are ya?, and really be interested in what I had to say when I answer you honestly. I wouldn't mind if you asked how I was doing - even though you probably think I'm feeling pretty crappy right about now and you are probably right, and you are also really outside of your comfort zone.

If I was homeless... I would thoroughly enjoy it if you came by and fed me and my peers a nice meal while we all hung out under the bridge. I think it would be really cool if you actually sat down and joined me, and tried to find out a little more about my life. I'd love it if you weren't judgemental, but just accepted me for where I'm at right now and loved me like Jesus would.

If I was homeless... it would be a major joy to get my hair washed in a tub with warm water followed by a haircut by someone who's doing it just because she loves people.

If I was homeless... I think I'd be really confused about why you asked if I wanted my nails painted. I haven't had my nails painted since I got fired from my job this past summer and lost my house. Getting my nails painted would make me feel wonderful!

If I was homeless... I'd be so incredibly humbled if you got down on your knees and washed my feet with soapy water, and placed ,warm socks on them. I would be amazed at your efforts to serve me and treat me with dignity and respect. I would want to know more about why you love people this way, and why you are thanking God for bringing me into your life.

If I was homeless... I'd be feeling really cold outside at night right now, and sometimes the only thing that keeps me going is the warm blanket you gave me and the coat that someone from your church sent with you. Knowing that you are thinking about me, and saying a prayer for me like you promised you'd do makes me want to face another day.

If I was homeless... I'd want to know this Jesus that shines out through you and spills onto me. Maybe then being homeless wouldn't mean being hopeless.


For going on four months now, Mr Nice Guy and I, along with different friends each time, have gone to Portland, Oregon to minister to the homeless under the Burnside Bridge - with Bridgetown Ministries. I have struggled with how to "tell" people what we're doing - because I'm one of those "anti-tootmyownhorn" kind of people. I don't want to come across the wrong way, I guess, but the need to let you know that doing something as a individual CAN matter, has outweighed my feelings of wanting to stay behind the scenes. We are doing work that we feel really good about!

Our eyes have been opened, and a passion is burning to do something for "the least of these". Christmas gift-giving has taken on a whole new meaning in our family. When we go to Costco, we throw in an extra package or two of big, warm socks. We might make cookies, but we're really thinking about the time we took umpteen dozen cookies (made by my dear friend Peggy) to Portland with us, and helped a couple hundred people find chocolate chip happiness. It's all about a change in perspective. A perspective that I am very grateful I have the opportunity to participate in frequently.
This season, when everyone is making lists of things that they can do for others and contributions they can make to certain charities, just try to remember that the BEST thing you can do is to LOVE others as CHRIST LOVED US. No matter where your donations, your volunteer hours, or your random acts of kindness land - just make sure to include a gift tag that says "Love, Jesus!"


Melanie said...

What a great ministry! We have a group from our church that have begun to do this also and were just sharing yesterday in services about how blessed they have been by working with the homeless.

Praying for you all as you work with these special people that are so often overlooked.

heidi said...

You're my new hero, Alexis. But I won't toot your horn since you hate it and I know that's NOT why you're doing this. I just love that you are. That's all.

Marshall said...

Alexis, my name is Marshall Snider and it was my family and I who with a group of friends that started Night Strike. It was almost 6 years ago now. There are times I wonder what we are doing especially during this time as we have been going crazy busy. Then I read your blog and tears flood my eyes to see someone capture my heart for these wonderful people. Thankyou so much for your words they have encouraged me today and serve as a reminder as to what We do together.

"Loving People Because People Matter"

Katie said...

So cool Lex! Some day, I would like to tag along...

This reminded me of our old 'singing outside bars' in Boise days. :)

Beth E. said...

Wow...what an amazing post, and what an awesome ministry! Thanks so much for sharing it with us. I'm taking this idea to our church to see if we can do something like this.


Farm Chick Paula said...

I don't think you're "tooting" at all... I'm so glad you shared this.
Now I know what I've suspected all along... God has given you an AWESOME heart of love.

Mom2three said...

Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and entering the Christmas Blog Giveaway. I love the wonderfully soft materials they use at Posh Panache - I wish you could reach out and feel them.

I so much appreciate your post yesterday, but what I really was moved by was your posting: If I was Homeless. What a powerful piece. Really gave me something to think about. We've participated in Under the Bridge ministry with our children and it is really an eye-opener. I may have to print this off and read it to my family. Great blog!

Denise said...

Bless you dear.

Peggy said...

Blessings Alexis...First off thank you for allowing me to link to this for Mission 4 Monday...I don't generate a lot of traffic but this is SO much what this BLOG & meme is about...showing how we can bring HOPE into the midst of right where we leave & it's a mission! I am truly blessed by your GIVING to the homeless & from a spirit of Jesus & much heart! This is an awesome ministry & very needed in many other places throught the USA & dare I say world(like here where I live in Mexico). Oh my...if people could just get a hold of this & carry out Jesus' mission to one & all!!!

Secondly, I love your beautiful intro...of if I was homeless...
Such great creative heart & inspring words that hopefully change hearts & move hearts because it could be any of us in these days of economic crisis! I love each concept but my favorite is this:
"If I was homeless... I'd want to know this Jesus that shines out through you and spills onto me. Maybe then being homeless wouldn't mean being hopeless."

I don't know how often you do this
but I would love it, if when you do, write a post to link to Mission 4 Monday...because then you would not be tooting your own horn but passing on as you have here a way
that others can get involved and be a light & be the hands & feet of Jesus! That's what a mission is...
thank you again for allowing me to
share your post at Mission 4 Monday

I LOVE it when you said whatever you GIVE...any random act of kindness...include a gift tag
"Love, Jesus!" I am so touched. May God bless you as you pout out of yourselves and bless others & stir those who read this to do MORE this Christmas & all year long. Thank you in Jesus' Name!