Baby Steps

Posted: December 4, 2013 by grecoam in Uncategorized

Opening up homeless shelters every night is not enough to help the homeless people in the streets. Many of the homeless people are denied entry due to the fact that the shelter is “too full” or they “arrived late”. Some of the homeless people are getting a place for the night while many are not. In the journal of Religion and Health David P. Moxley, Olivia Washington, and Joe McElhaney recounted the development of an inner city congregation’s decision to concentrate on helping people who are affected by homelessness. The journal entry was titled, “I don’t have a home:” Helping Homeless People Through Faith, Spirituality, and Compassionate Service. The story starts with Pastor Rebecca taking a risk  and allowed a homeless man named Oscar to stay in the church overnight on a make shift bed. Fearing that she had done the wrong thing she stayed overnight as well sleeping very minimally. Once Oscar woke up on his makeshift bed Pastor Rebecca offered him food in which he replied, “I can’t eat yet miss, I gotta pray. Just because I don’t have a home doesn’t mean I don’t have faith. Food can wait but I need to pray first and then I need to find a way to repay you.” We only know homeless people through the stereotypes that are portrayed by the media. This man broke the stereotype showing that he didn’t want to just receive things without giving back. Pastor Rebecca’s small deed to help a man for one night had changed all her prior judgments about homeless people just due to a simple act of kindness. After helping clean up around the church Oscar was on his way back to the shelter and with the help of Pastor Rebecca was the first person in line. Prior to entering the shelter he told Pastor Rebecca that he would be more than happy to help around the church if he was needed and without hesitation she replied yes. Oscar became a regular at the church and was frequently seen volunteering. After some time he would bring a small group of his friends whom were looking for support, food, and productive activity (Moxley, 2012, pg. 431-435). Pastor Rebecca’s decision to help Oscar helped cement the new mission for the church, to outreach and service to those who experienced daily grueling demands of homelessness. Even a pastor, who has dedicated their life to giving back, may have to take the first step by taking personal initiative to give help a receive help from somebody in need of both a home and a place to give back and be acknowledged in a community.

  • Moxley, David P., Olivia G.M Washington, and Joe McElhaney. “”I Don’t Have a Home:” Helping Homeless People Through Faith, Spirituality, and Compassionate Service.”Journal of Religion and Health 51.2 (2012): 431-99. Web. 2 Dec. 2013.
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