“she’s talking to that hobo over there,” my 7 year old nephew answers when I ask where is my friend alice. “homeless person,” i correct him. in my mind i think, person. a person without a home.
i am under the i45 bridge in Dallas with my nephew and my friend alice. we are joining the actz street ministry in serving the homeless. the actz street ministry goes out every week with a group of about 10, this week the group has swelled to about 50 (mostly youth). it’s the week of christmas and baby, it’s cold outside. very cold!
the homeless standing in line waiting to be served by the acts street ministry
the actz street truck is big, missing it would beg the question “are you blind?” and for some missing it means going to bed hungry. week after week the actz street ministry takes to the street to spiritually and physically feed the homeless.
i tell alice i should’ve brought my notepad and paper because that is what real journalist do, alice being the actual journalist offers me something to take notes with but in reality i have it all in my head. at that moment it’s the sounds of christmas carols, the smell of hot chocolate being served, and daniel’s testimony.
daniel and tonya is the husband and wife team behind the actz street ministry. daniel is always in a good mood, making people laugh, and while tonya knows how to have a good time she is always working to get the show on the road.
i can tell daniel is trying to keep it lighthearted tonight, but he chokes up some when he shares with the growing crowd how he was severely abused as a child and how he became a christian 7 years ago. he speaks of his relationship with his son, his wife, and most importantly his savior Jesus Christ. at the end he doesn’t really ask if anyone wants to accept Jesus as their personal savior but instead simply if anyone needs prayer of any kind. and they do.
my friend brandi explaining the process to the young volunteers
last week i recieved an email from my friend brandi inviting me out for this special night. i had joined actz street ministry before but it’s been a while. she asked for monetary and time donations. last year she teamed up with the actz ministry to upgrade the plates being served to bbq plates and the desire was the same for this christmas week. after prayer the line forms for the meals, and of course ladies first!
after the meals have been passed out it’s time for the christmas gifts. i let my nephew help with this process, and he gets to pass off a gift to a homeless person. as a 7 year old his christmas list includes an iPod, a laptop, and other expensive toys. his mother fears next year he is going to ask for a condo in uptown. i look at him, and i hope he always remembers the time when he helped pass out a gift to someone with basically nothing.
my nephew dorian, 7, holding a gift to pass out
it’s towards the end of the night and i haven’t really mingled and so i make it a point to meet misty. to make small talk i tell her how i know two people named misty, she doesn’t seem impressed with my small talk skills. then i meet cowboy roy, and the whole time i am talking to him i am just wondering if he really was a cowboy and how maybe i should come up with a cool name too. city girl glo?
cowboy roy tells me that he is going to shave his beard because this weekend he is taking a picture with his “babe.” and what do you know! his wife is misty. i ask them how long they have been married and they say 19 years. and immediately i think about the wedding vows of for better or for worse, for richer and for poorer. i imagine living on the streets is the worse, and how poorer can you actually get? cowboy roy ask me to take his picture, and i don’t have my nikon or canon just my crappy iphone, but i snap anyway. i show him himself, and he seems happy with the results. his “before” picture.
cowboy roy's "before" picture
as a kid my dad use to go preach on the street corner, and i always thought that was something we all should do…take the ministry of Christ beyond the four walls of the church. Jesus didn’t preach in churches, he went out to the streets and met the people where they were. i am not saying everyone should go start a street ministry, but i am saying go minister to the world. use your lifestyle, your attitude, your words, your time, and talents in a way that draws people to the glory of God.
thanks actz street ministry for taking the love and message of Christ to the streets. the scripture on their facebook page says it best, from acts 17:24 (NCV), “The God who made the whole world and everything in it is the Lord of the land and the sky. He does not live in temples built by human hands.”
did you miss my other post on christmas this week? read “and he will save me from my sins (why i am in need of a savior)”