The Word on the Street - 9.21.2022
It was wash day on the corner, though Monday is considered wash day according to English tradition. I admit, I got rather caught up this week in English traditions. How I wish the Royal for whom so many waited to glimpse was King Jesus the First and the Last!
We had baggies made up with laundry pods and dryer sheets and we had cards to allow a month of suds - soap suds that is – on the church. Living on the street in maybe one or two outfits, what a great feeling putting on clean clothes must be! Kim and Wayne handed out 21 cards and received requests for 7 more.
We also had some women’s clothes, some socks and CJ finally came by to pick up the shoes we had purchased for her. When you see all these people downtown wearing the shoes we provided them through the church, it feels like everyone really were a child of the same family, wearing the new shoes provided for them by the same good Father. I told Cinderella once that no matter what happened in her life, she would be wearing good shoes when it happened. She smiled at that. Pray for her and George and rejoice greatly that the Father cares about them so much more than the sparrows; every hair on their heads are numbered!
The first person I spoke with this morning was John, the wise peacemaker, who once served as a corpsman with the Army and saw the world in the service. He said how corpsmen were frequently targeted by snipers because they provided comfort and medicine to the wounded, so when the corpsmen were killed, the rest of the soldiers would become demoralized. Much as the disciples were demoralized after our Lord was crucified. He was their comfort, the medicine for their souls! I thanked John for his service. I thank my Lord for His service to us; our corpsman, our healer and redeemer in the face of Enemy fire. Bless the Lord, O my soul!
The breakfast at St. Patrick's this morning was inside for the first time since the summer began, a sign as sure as the leaves that the seasons are changing:
When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. (Matthew 16:2-3)
Lord, help our faith, our discernment, our interpretation of the signs! I had thought the streets deserted as we stood there, but Ken says, with the church opening up for indoor dining, it has become much easier to have conversations with people. Karen, one of our State street friends, was explaining to him how God has been opening doors for her to get off the street.
Lord willing, she will get a job this week at Burger King. The job will lead her to getting a car 2 weeks later someone is willing to sell her. About a month afterward, Karen told Ken, she has a room lined up, which someone is willing to rent her. Karen said God leads us step by step and our job is to be obedient to his leading. Sometimes, Ken says, we tell people about God and other times they tell us.
Ginger came up to talk to us with her companion, Don, a big guy wearing sunglasses, a mountain man of sorts, with a seven man tent, he said, pitched on a ridge away from people, as he also stood his distance away from our group. The only thing he wanted was AA batteries. Don has been on the street for 17 years. I asked him if he needed a flashlight. I said it must get dark out there. He said, with a soft voice that somehow reminded me of a child, that it did get dark. Charles Spurgeon said the chaplain at Newgate Prison in London told him they would put a disruptive convict in total darkness. In 2 or 3 days, that hardened convict, no matter how tough he was, would come out of that cell in tears. We take the light God gives us so much for granted. I will get this man a flashlight and plenty of batteries, Lord willing! Pray for Don to find the light!
I prayed for Ginger. She asked God to slow the world down. It was ironic because Sheri, my wife, was driving into Harrisburg this morning too fast, when I edged her on, telling her we needed to get there on time. We were pulled over by a state policeman. But he let us go with a warning. Which is why I am not sleeping on the sofa!
Ginger suffers from schizophrenia, she said. The medication for schizophrenia, a dopamine inhibitor, actually does slow down the brain, overwhelmed by sensory impressions, keeping it from forming delusions. I had a friend, Cliff, who was a schizophrenic, who told me he heard voices accusing him of crimes in his past lives. I told Ginger I read from the Bible to Cliff one time when he was talking and talking and talking and when the power of God’s word was made manifest, the voices were silenced. Cliff fell silent. I asked her if she had a Bible. I just ordered 8 of them. I hope Ginger gets one next weekend! Pray for her, that the volume of the evil, accusing voices she hears would be utterly silenced by the majesty of God’s Word.
And that is the Word on the Street!
For more information, or to learn how to join us in reaching people for Jesus, please email Living Water’s Director of Outreach, Mike Bongo, at firstname.lastname@example.org and he will get you plugged in! You will be blessed as you become a blessing to others!