From Geoffrey to you; History repeats itself

Wednesday June 3, 2009

History Repeats Itself

I think that there is a stigma and a bad vibe in regards to homelessness. The most common understanding is that they are either addicted to drugs, alcohol or are a few eggs short of a dozen. We assume that they want to be there and let them be. When they are walking down one side of the street people make their way to the opposite side of the street to avoid them. When we see them asking for money at a freeway exit we fixate our eyes in front of us and pray that they don’t tap on our window and force us to make eye contact with them. When we walk down the street we look right past them; avoiding them at all cost. I would argue that most people consider them an inferior citizen, unworthy of our time and efforts, lost causes; I say this because I used to think the same thing. I used to assume they were all alcoholics, drug addicts, crazy and that they wanted to be on the streets. I used to cross to the other side of the street or go out of a different exit of a store to avoid them. I used to pray that they didn’t tap on my window at the freeway exit. I used to look right past them as if they were inferior. Thankfully that is in the past now.

One day I met a man named Matt who was homeless. It was raining so I gave him my jacket and I gave him an umbrella. He was hungry so I gave him some food. I took a step past every preconceived notion I had developed, everything I knew to be true, and all of the negative connotations I put with homelessness and I spoke with him. I didn’t take long for me to discover that he lived on the side of the freeway with about thirty other people. I went down there one day to see it for myself and I felt as though I couldn’t just leave and do nothing about this situation. I ended up arranging for them to meet me at a specific place that Sunday for some food and anything else I could get my hands on. I showed up with a few friends, some day old bagels, a pot of coffee, and some clothes. I think five people showed up, I told them that we would be back the next Sunday at the same time. That next Sunday a few more people showed up, and then it just snowballed. Now we have three different locations serving made-to-order omelets, washing the feet of the homeless, cutting hair, distributing clothing and holding church services. Literally hundreds upon hundreds of lives have been touched, stomachs have been filled and hearts have been mended. We never planned on becoming a non-profit organization, we never intended to get as big as we have, we never thought it would turn into what it has become we simply saw a group of forgotten, invisible, unworthy and unwanted people and figured that if Christ was here those are the people he would have reached out to so we should too.

William and I have gone to Kosovo about three times now. This is the place where it seems like no Christian dares to enter. For those of you who have forgotten, Kosovo is where you go to get drunk off of the local brew, which smells bad and looks like dirty water. Each time we have visited Kosovo we have gone around nine in the morning and each time, by nine, we find dozens and dozens of people already drunk or on their way to getting drunk. Just like an alcoholic in America, for some of these people the consumption of alcohol is more of a priority than working or providing for their families. They say that they go there to get rid of their problems but I don’t think they realize how many problems their addiction causes. The times are already rough, these guys definitely aren’t rolling in the dough, and instead of paying for school fees, food and other necessities their money feeds this addiction. From my understanding this is the place that is cursed, judged and condemned. These people are the forgotten, invisible, unworthy and unwanted people in Masii. Churches don’t reach out to them because they figure it is a waste. I asked today how many pastors and Christians have made there way to Kosovo and I think for the most part that William and I are the first in a long time. The thing that blows my mind is the fact that sometimes we are met with a little tension (they are always curious as to why in the world we would go into Kosovo) but by the time we are done talking everyone is pleading for us to return, asking for us to pray for them, asking for directions to our church and repeatedly thanking us for our visit.

William and I have decided to come to Kosovo every Wednesday morning and to hold a very small, informal and simple church service for them. When we mentioned it to a few of the regulars they were ecstatic and told us they would gather everyone to come and listen. I can’t help but think about how H.A.N.D.S. got started and think about Kosovo. I can’t help but think about the preconceived notions that most people, especially churches, hold about those who go to Kosovo and relate that to how most people feel about homelessness in America. I can’t help but think about how this is starting simply by realizing that these people have been overlooked and need God as much as the next person and taking that initial step past our preconceived notions and the stereotypes to step foot in Kosovo. It is true that history does repeat itself.

Jesus always seemed to hang out with the forgotten, invisible, unwanted and unworthy. You could find him with the sinners and lowlifes. He brought the gospel to them instead of waiting for them to come get it. That seems like a pretty good model for us to follow.

Asante Sana


Prayer Requests:
Stacy’s wheelchair… still waiting… now they say it will be here Friday
Funds for Tumaini’s generator and projects
We are doing a big three-day evangelism in August
I just found out that I am preaching Sunday
Janet’s eyes

We found one of our church-goes walking into Kosovo… not sure if he was just going there to say hello to friends or if we caught him red handed lol
I went to Nairobi last night, which is why I didn’t send an email yesterday, and it began to rain. Have you ever noticed that people seem to forget to know how to drive when you add in rain? Well it is the same in Nairobi. The instant the rain started our van stopped… we literally we sitting still for an hour. On our way back it took about an hour and a half to go a mile… it was a LONG trip, but I enjoyed it. Two Americans from Chicago ended up coming to Masii for the day so I got to talk with them, hang out with them and we were just taking them back to Nairobi.
We went to the home of a guy who is a regular at Kosovo. He was drunk when he took us to his house. He led us to his house and literally went the opposite direction and we took the VERY long way to get there. William and I were cracking up because the direction he told us it was it really wasn’t… it was in the opposite direction.
When I was talking to one of the guys from Kosovo he kept on wiggling his tooth with his tongue… he was missing some teeth and I think that this one was about to fall out too
I posted pics of me and some of the Tumaini kids, one of me and one of the local kids, one of janet and her daughter (the blind girl) and another rrandom one.

Asante Sana Kwa Ukarimu Wako
Uh-son-tay sauna qua oo-car-emu wa-co
Thank you very much for the hospitality

This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009 at 1:59 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “From Geoffrey to you; History repeats itself”

  1. Jason Nate Says:

    June 3rd, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    Can you take me there when we come?

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