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At the Samaritan Inn things are busiest during the lunch hour. All morning folks usually just sit around and catch up on their sleep or talk and drink coffee and eat whatever breakfast pastries are available that day. It’s a very relaxed atmosphere and everyone is welcome to come and go as they please.

But when 12:00 rolls around the doors shut and Wayne starts talking. Generally he shares a mixture of Bible verses and life stories for about half an hour, then we pray together and eat lunch. The folks who listened to Wayne’s talk get in line first and everyone who stayed outside pours in after them. The food gets served in big portions and is eaten quickly. When everybody’s had enough folks start packing up and trickling back out onto the street. About a dozen or so usually linger until right at 1:30 when everything shuts down to clean up and get ready for the next day.

After lunch last Saturday while most folks were talking and gathering their things, a stocky man with a gray beard approached me. He introduced himself as Curtis and asked if I had a minute to talk. We sat down in Wayne’s office and closed the door and I asked him what was on his mind. Curtis told me about his former life as an electrician and a handyman. He told me about his family and his hobbies and how much he had taken for granted while he was still strong. He’d had a stroke less than a year ago and in the process lost everything. He lost the use of his left arm and left leg, and as a result he lost his job and the ability to make a living. Then, when he couldn’t provide for his family anymore he lost them, and with them his home and his possessions. Now he was living at the Rescue Mission and had no idea what the future held for him.

When he had finished his story we sat there together in silence for a few moments. “I’m sorry”, I said. “I’m so sorry.” He asked me if I would pray for him, and I did. I asked God to have mercy on him, to protect him while he was so vulnerable and give him the strength to carry on. I thanked God for caring so much about weak people like us and for loving us even though we don’t deserve it.

When I was done praying I said, “You’re a brave man. If I were in your shoes I would be so scared”. Curtis looked at me, and all of the sudden he was crying. I started crying too (even though I wasn’t really sure what we were crying about) and hugged him. He sobbed a little bit and then said, “Thank you for saying you would be scared. I’m terrified to be so helpless and it makes me feel like a little baby.” Then I lost it too and we were both sobbing.

Sometimes it’s simple things that are meaningful to us. Remembering someone’s birthday or the anniversary of when they lost a loved one. Giving a little gift or making a phone call for no reason. Just telling Curtis that I would be scared too made all the difference to him. In the same way, it’s the little things about Jesus that make him such an accessible person. The way he wept for the crowds and made such a fuss over little kids, or the way he willingly spent time with to crazy people and listened to the poor. I am so thankful that God pays attention to details.

Since our family has grown, we’re working on being thrifty and this effort involves everyone. Sammy and Ben are trying hard to keep save some money and keep the doctor away…



CNN ran this article on violence against the homeless today.

Sammy and I were just having some playtime on the floor and he was in rare form! First, he was jabbering up a storm trying to tell me something that was, I’m sure, of utmost importance.
Then he discovered this fun ball that rolls around and plays music when you jostle it.
Sammy was so hilarious with all his talking that I made a little movie and when I stopped it, I realized he had backed under our chair!
I’m realizing that our days of sitting quietly are long gone and we now have this squealing maniac on our hands. It’s great!

Yesterday afternoon I decided to give Sammy his bath before dinner so we could play with Charlie until bedtime. We played in the bath, lotioned up, and I put Sammy on the floor in the living room to entertain himself while I started making dinner. All was quiet for a while so I went in to check on him and this is what I saw:
Of course, this was post-bath (which wears him out) and I was playing some Baby Einstein music and he didn’t take long naps yesterday. What do you expect with that combo?

An update on this situation:

The “word on the street” is that the kids who were perpetrating the violence against our homeless neighbors have been apprehended. I’ve seen nothing about it on the news or in the paper, but evidently a police officer stopped by the shelter recently and told some guys that they were caught last week. Whatever happened, the attacks have stopped and folks feels a little safer. I would say that they’re “resting easier”, but the cold weather is making that difficult. I have a hard time imagining what it’s like to spend all night on a freezing cold sidewalk, but some of these guys spend every night that way.

I’ve been spending more and more time at the shelter recently and I’m getting to know some folks pretty well. Gretchen is down there four days a week working in the thrift store, so she’s meeting some great people too. I’ll try to post some stories soon.

It snowed last night, so we took a quick trip outside this morning for some pictures. Sammy really liked the snow!




What a CUTIE!



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  • Philippians 2:13
    For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.