Saturday was awesome. A few of us from His House traveled to Detroit, and spent the day interacting with the homeless population there, offering them food and clothing, as well as prayers and encouragement.
We went there in a capacity to offer them comfort and a helping hand, but ultimately they ended up teaching us some valuable lessons to. It really was an eye opening experience, because it put a face to the blight of homelessness. It made the issue more personal. Being there and in the moment made the issue clearer I think.
It became less of an abstraction and more of a rooted reality at least in my mind.
When you consider homelessness you understand it logically as being a horrible circumstance, but when actually confronted with the reality of it you come to realize how much we really have and how often we take it all for granted.
It puts our struggles into perspective.
We first met at the mission that we were working through with the group that had come from Central, and once we had all met up there we caravanned to Comerica Park. As we were making our way there, at one of the corners we were driving by there was a homeless woman standing on a corner.
It was amazing to watch the group in the car ahead of us hop out and give her one of the bags that had been brought to hand out. Her face lit up, she was so happy to get that bag. It was really beyond words, and most definitely the perfect way to get started.
Once we met up by Comerica Park, we got into a circle and prayed together before splitting into smaller groups. With maps in hand we split up, and began to comb the streets of downtown Detroit.
We were there to pray for them, and yet the first group that we spoke with wanted to pray for us. They were so appreciative of the fact that not only were we there to provide them with what resources that we could, but also that we were willing to acknowledge them. We took the time to speak with them, and lend them our ears.
The first group was a fairly large one, and so we left the majority of our bags with them. We then walked some more, and met with a woman who we offered a few sandwiches and some water. She wasn’t interested in being prayed for, but we were more than happy to be helpful in what ways we could.
Our last bag we gave to a man as he was riding by on his bike. Unfortunately we weren’t able to speak much with him because we were standing in the middle of the street.
Once we had handed out all of our bags we met back up with the other half of the MSU group as well as the few from CMU that had been out with them. From there we went and got something to eat, and were able to talk and watch a portion of the MSU v. Penn State game that had just started.
It was going on four thirty or so when we started back to the parking lot to meet up with everyone else and get ready to leave. The walk back was really amazing. We were making our way back, and had one bag left among us, and a man from across the street called out to ask if he could have the bag.
So he came over and we gave him the bag, and then a few more people came over and though we didn’t have any more bags a few people in the group had just enough leftovers to provide for them.
Then one of the men came over and said that he had heard that we were offering to pray for them and he would like us to pray for him, so we all got in a circle and joined hands to pray for him and a second man that came over to be prayed for.
It was just really touching to be able to be there and see what a difference it made in their lives for us just to be willing to be there and speak with them. You really get a sense of how often people walk by and don’t think about it, they are so caught up in their own world that they aren’t aware of the suffering of those around them.
It was eye opening, and most definitely something that I think I’d like to be a part of in the future. This is the kind of issue that I want to be able to champion and make people aware of. I think I’m starting to get a greater sense of what exactly it is I need to do with this education that I am pursuing.