Monday, March 31, 2014

From Urban Camper to Heavenly Host

On Friday I received the kinda news you never want to hear.

My friend David had passed away in the night.

I met David on a retreat in February of 2013. 

This was a retreat for the homeless. There were ten men that went on the retreat.

The idea behind the retreat was to build up some trust and have some fun.

When was the last time a person on the streets had fun?

On the retreat we did some fun team building exercises.

David would jump right in and take control. He was a born leader.

He would lead discussions about the homeless services in Richmond.

The day the retreat ended, David approached me about coming back to the camp and helping do some work prepping the camp for the summer.

It was an awesome idea!

Unfortunately some in the community around the camp heard about a "homeless retreat" and didn't want THEM around. 

Two weeks after the retreat David texted me and said " I am cold, wet and tired. I am done!"

David had hit "bottom" and wanted to do what it was going to take to get out of being homeless.

I found him a place to live and he started to do odd jobs to earn some money.

It wasn't two weeks before his life turned upside down again!

He was taken to the emergency room.

There he was treated as if he wasn't even human.

He was released that morning at 4 am!

Not three days later he was back in ICU!

Two months of ICU and a step down unit and then the worst news anyone could receive.

"You have cancer and you have about two months to live."

The hospital was going to kick him back out onto the streets.

Because of the time in the hospital David had lost his place to live and it wasn't suited for his medical needs.

David then moved into my house.

It was at this point that my family and I got to know this man.

David was a man of extraordinary courage and strength.

He also had an incredible sense of humor under extreme circumstances.

David and I did not always see eye to eye on everything.

As a matter of fact he moved out of my house and in with a friend.

That might seem odd to most, but in truth it is real.

We all have differences with one another, but a true friendship finds a way to work through our differences.

David was a true friend!

Not too much time had passed and a friend of mine, Carol had done some research online and found David's family.

He had not seen his family in over 15 years!

A reunion was had with his family at Atlee Community Church.

David got to see his brother, sister, niece and nephews whom he had been estranged from for years.

Because so many years had passed some had assumed David had died.

The relationships had been restored and David moved in with his family.

The battle with cancer had its ups and downs.

Through the chemo treatments and radiation, David was stronger than most men I know.

He always expressed his love for God and how thankful he was for being able to reunite with his family. 

David was a fighter all along the way. He was willing to do whatever it takes.

In the final months he received a car which gave him the freedom to drive around town.

His favorite trips were to see some of his friends downtown.

He also enjoyed going on trips to a local lake and fishing.

He took an old outdoor chair and built rod holders onto it.

David loved the outdoors and in his younger years was a professional kayak-er.

As a matter of fact I came to learn that his kayak buddy was one of my good friends growing up when I was 16 yrs old.

Only God can make that connection.

If that wasn't enough David's brother's girl friend is a good friend of my sister who lives in the western part of Va.

So on Thursday March 27th I celebrated my 55th birthday and David celebrated his birth day in heaven!

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Power of Praying Through!

This video sums up part of my journey of the last 2 1/2 years!

I look forward to what the future holds! 

Don't stop praying!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Life Change is Where It's At!

I love hearing stories of life change. 

Here are some pictures of some new friends I met on Friday!

Amazing stories of how God has created new lives in all of us!


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Jen Hatmaker - Love Your Neighbor


The words we use vs The way we say them
Forge meaningful relationships
Build Trust
Create a safe place

Best of all: 
"Begin to love people outside the church the way we love those in the church."
"Turn the Love out."

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

How Do We Restore Dignity for Those in Transition?

Here is another creative way to show you care.

Homeless choir puts on free concert in Atlanta

It will take everyone coming together in so many creative ways to restore dignity.

This is my favorite quote from the interview.

"We're giving these people something to do because one, maybe they don't have something to do and it's something to do that builds themselves up. They're building themselves up they just don't realize they're doing that.

It's become a vessel for people to say i'm worthy of something."

Monday, March 17, 2014

Homeless Family Who Held on to Pit Bull Has New, Dog-Friendly Home - ABC News

For all of you who love their dogs and treat them like family!

Great to see how one group of folks could come together to help a family meet a special need.

Homeless Family Who Held on to Pit Bull Has New, Dog-Friendly Home - ABC News

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Video by Marissa Van Vleet - Great Information about Homeless Children

This is a follow up to yesterday's post. 

The art student, Marissa Van Vleet made a video mentioned in yesterday's post.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Student starts art club to benefit homeless children | MSUM Advocate

Another creative outlet for homeless children.

Two things stood out to me in this article.

The student who started the art club did NOT start out with a passion for the homeless. 

She took a chance and got out of her comfort zone.

The passion came next!

The second thing that stood out to me was this quote.

“People will ask, ‘What’s it like working with homeless kids,’ ” she said in the video. “Well, it’s like working with kids.”

We have a long way to go for the public to quit thinking that the homeless are not people like you and me!

Student starts art club to benefit homeless children | MSUM Advocate

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

In Sonoma County, a heartwarming safe-parking program for the homeless -

Another creative way to help those in transition.

One of the quotes from the article I like is;

"Our mantra is decriminalization," said Supervisor Shirlee Zane. "It was just stupid to say it's illegal to sleep in your car. For some people, all they own is their car."
In Sonoma County, a heartwarming safe-parking program for the homeless -

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Connection

Yesterday I made the second of three connections.

The first connection took place over a week ago.

Last Sunday a friend of mine from Church, asked if I could follow up on someone she met the week before.

She was at work at VCU when she ran into a homeless guy at the engineering school.

He was trying to get out of the weather.

His name was John (not his real name).

My friend wasn't quite sure what to do, so she got his phone number and decided to contact me.

Yesterday I reached out to John to see if my friend, Charles and I could help him.

The second connection was when we met up at the library and got to know one another for the first time.

This is when you try to build up some trust.

I gave John a backpack full of food, personal items and some socks.

The backpack came from a small group at Church that put together 15 of them to give away to those in need.

John seemed interested in getting some help and taking the next step.

He has been on the streets for 11 days.

Charles and John were to connect this morning, but that didn't happen.

Charles tried calling John, but he didn't answer his phone.

I thought we might be headed down another dead end.

The third connection just happened a few minutes ago when I got a call from John.

We spoke about what happened this morning and we are going to try again tomorrow.

Let's pray that we make the fourth connection and we can help John get off the streets!

The start of the connections happened because of a caring heart!

A life might just be saved because someone took the time to get to know a perfect stranger.

Thanks Cindy!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014