from Maurice Smith with TruthMinistries Spokane

Our brother in Christ gave me permission to share this. It should definitely cause us all to consider if we are truly being the hands of Jesus.

 

It’s funny how a single phone call can change your day. Last evening I was working the desk at Truth Ministries, checking in the 40+ men who would spend the night in the shelter, when the phone rang. “Truth Ministries,” I answered. “You’re a homeless shelter, right?” asked a woman’s voice on the other end of the phone. “Yes, ma’am,” I responded, wondering what was coming next, but only half paying attention as I kept an eye on the men milling around the desk. Then it came and captured my full attention. “I’m looking for a place for me and my daughter for the night.” My heart sank as I sank into my chair and digested what was happening. Were they fleeing domestic violence? What kind of crisis would drive a mom to seek shelter for herself and her daughter at 9 o’clock on a rainy Saturday night? But that wasn’t the worst of it, at least not for me. I heard myself saying, “I’m so sorry, ma’am. We’re a men’s shelter. We’re not equipped to take women.”

Finding emergency shelter on short notice for a mom and child is a challenge on a good day, but at 9PM on a Saturday night is even harder. I gave her the names and numbers of two local agencies most likely to be able to respond quickly to her situation, tried to encourage her and reluctantly hung up the phone. Work called. There were late-comers to check in, beds to be assigned, notes to be made in the desk log. I had a homeless shelter to run.

Soon my shift was over and I headed home. But all the way home I was haunted by the nagging thought, “Had I done all that I could do to help that woman and her daughter?” I just couldn’t find a way to tell myself, “Yes.” If Gale and I were in a position to take them into our home, I would have resolved the problem without a second thought. But we aren’t and it wasn’t an option. If we were in a position to simply get them a hotel room for a few nights and give them some time and space to think about their next step, I would have done that. But we didn’t have the resources for that, either. Then my thoughts turned to the Evangelical pastors and churches in our city. I wondered how many Christians had empty guest bedrooms that Saturday night, or who had the resources help. Where are the church networks of people and families who have moved beyond making excuses for not getting involved and are available, on-call and ready to get involved and make a difference when needs like this arise? Where’s the short list of people to call? Answer: There isn’t one. And sometimes it’s heartbreaking.

As for me, I’ve decided to spend a few days fasting and praying about these things. Yes, I’m praying for that mom and her daughter, that God will keep them safe and meet their needs. But beyond that I’ll be fasting and praying for a day when moms with children and families in distress no longer have to sleep in their cars in a WalMart parking lot because Evangelical Christians understand that obeying Jesus’ commands in Matthew 25 to feed the hungry and to befriend the stranger apply to themselves and not to someone else.

It’s funny how a single phone call can change your day.

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One response to “from Maurice Smith with TruthMinistries Spokane

  1. Yes Maurice I totally understand how this set up by God can effect ones day and even our path in life if we make decisions to help people. This is probably because it is he who orders our steps and ordains our path in life by placing us in places to be with people who we could not possibly be in front at right time for ministry. I went to visit a friend who ministers to the home less at a McDonalds restaurant the other day. While sitting and eating breakfast with my friend a young black homeless lady came and sat with us that my friend ministers to. I bought her something to eat and after we finish eating my friend asked me if I would talk to her which I know he meant minister. I asked her questions are you homeless and she said yes. This young lady of 20 years of age did not look like she should be homeless by the way she acted and looked. I could tell after a few questions that she was a nice young lady and seemed very bright and had a great bubbly personality which is why her nick name was bubbles . She just did not fit the homeless life style so I continued to press in to find out why she was homeless. I also wanted to see if I could help her and how I could help her if I could. This young innocent lady was sleeping in back of a Save Mart store. She said she was happy that morning because her friend had let her sleep in her car that night of which she said was a lot warmer that the cement outside at the back of that Save Mart store. I asked her where her parents were and why she was not with them in these hard times. She said her mother died when she was four and her father disappeared and abandoning her. So I asked who had raised her she said her foster step mother. So I said then that is your mother because who ever raises you becomes your new parent. She said no my foster parent is not her parent because she physically and mentally abused her all her life. She said her foster mother had physically abused even to the point of breaking bones at times. She said when I turned 18 she abandoned me and left to Hawaii and left me with nothing in the streets. This young ladies foster mother seemed to be more wicked, evil and worse than Cinderella’s step mother by her description. This wicked foster lady left this young lady when the check stopped. I asked her if she had finished school of which she had and was a Clovis Polly teck graduate. Which meant she was a bright young lady like I had suspected. She also said she had finished a year and 1/2 at FCC and was going back to school when she got her financial aid this February. I asked her why she was not in school right now and receiving aid now. She said because her step mom had burnt her birth certificate before abounding her. Leaving her in the streets with nothing not even an ID. The schools would not help her till she reached the age of 21 with and ID. I asked her if she used drugs she said no drugs were bad and my friend confirmed this. I asked her if I found a place for her to stay would she be able to follow any rules they had she said yes. I told her I can not make her any promises but I would do what I could to help her. I have nine people in my house now so I knew I could not house her now till February. Her plans were to get her financial aid in February and had plans to stay with a friend she could pay for a room. After talking to this young lady for a few minutes I could see and understand why she was homeless. She was just down on her luck for now but I can see her coming out If people help her. I asked her at the end of our conversation that if she knew who Jesus was. She said yes! That Jesus was her only one and only true friend who would never leave her and watches after her and takes care of her. I said great and asked her if she read the bible of which she said yes but her phone was dead because McDonalds close off electrical plugs and she could not charge phone there any more. She said she could not read her bible as much because not to many places to charge phone. I will do what little I can to help this young lady even though I am helping my two adult children and there six children. My son is divorced with two children and working at low end job while he finishes a trade school. My daughter is mentally disabled and not able to work. I have taken custody of her three children two are teens and the little ten years old is mentally delayed requiring more work from us. I am 61 and feel my self slowing down due to age but can not stop due to the needs of the family. Now God puts me in front a homeless person to see what I will do or not do with limited time and money I burly have to take care of my family. Now that you see and understand a little of my circumstances you can understand why I don’t understand why people do not have the money, time, energy to help people God has put in front of them. All I can say is that the love of God in us will make us do things we can not do, nor want to do, but will do because we know and learn to love people more than our selves. When we do things out of love and not to build our churches or our ministries or to be recognized. We do things rightly and will be rewarded rightly by God in heaven. Thanks for letting me voice my self to God be the Glory for any good thing we have done!
    God bless
    Mike Quintana

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