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We exist to bring hope to the hopeless, faith to the faithless and encourage life change from the inside out.
Initial Areas of Focus
For The Blind To See
We have recognized that the success of our mission thus far is primarily due to the commitment of our volunteers who have "it", or want "it". That "it" is a biblical worldview; to see things as they really are and how they should be. This mission is more than just helping the poor; it is also recognizing our own spiritual bankruptcy and becoming serious about living a life for Jesus. We seek members from all denominations and walks of life who are committed to being obedient to Christ and following Him and will consequently be a reflection of that obedience to others through SSO.
For The Sick To Be Healed
Programs and rehabilitation are nothing without Jesus in the mix. We believe there must be healing from the inside out for there to be a successful transition from the street back into the real world. A healthy fear of God is needed for life change, as is knowledge of the saving grace of Jesus. People must realize that Jesus forgives a lot easier than we forgive ourselves. To begin living a life with purpose is the starting point.
For The Lame To Walk
Metaphorically and literally, our friends need to learn to walk again. The homeless we serve feel unwanted and as their feelings of worthlessness and shame are compounded, their hope and faith in God and man dies along with their dignity. They need support and relationships that will not waiver or disappear. We must be willing to selflessly become a part of someone’s life to assist with spiritual growth and societal re-acclimation.
Our food share had been going strong without incident for eight months and they always began the same way, I would pray over the meal and then we would begin serving our friends. While the food and drinks were being distributed, myself and a handful of volunteers would circulate through the crowd, shaking hands, catching up with old friends and making new ones.
One evening, I spotted a very scary looking man sitting up on the back of one of the benches. He was clothed in tattoos, complete with teardrop tattoos on his face. His scowl was intimidating and he was a hulk of a man oozing anger and hostility. There was no way I planned on going over there, but the Spirit made it very clear that was exactly what I needed to do.
I walked over, offered my hand and introduced myself. He shook my hand and told me his name was Bradley. Bradley!!! I couldn’t help it! I burst out laughing, "Bradley?!?!?" I asked, "I figured you for an 'Icepick’ or a 'Shank’ or something like that!!" Now it was his turn to start laughing and I sat down beside him and we had the best conversation for about five minutes. I thanked him for taking the time to share with me and as he was served a plate of food, I told him I hoped he would join us again the following week if he was still in town.
Later that evening, as I was heading home from the food share, my phone began to shiver with a flurry of incoming phone calls and texts from homeless friends. I quickly learned that Bradley was stabbed to death in a fight outside the public library. I cannot fully express the wave of emotions that flooded my head and heart at that instant. There was something in this guy, a glimmer, a glow. He was seeking and I had so deeply hoped I would have been able to plant a seed and now all had been lost at the hand of another homeless man.
The next few days leading up to the next food share were filled with sadness that grew to depression that quickly turned to anger. How could this happen? How do I handle this? What am I supposed to do? That next Tuesday came quick and found me standing in front of a crowd of approximately 100 homeless friends and an additional 30-50 volunteers. I went on what can only be described as a righteous rant! I yelled, I screamed, I cried. I gripped my bible in my hands and shouted scripture rebuking the violence that permeates the homeless culture. I warned that the guilty parties promote the dissent that the general public feels towards them. I made it clear that their current situation and condition does not permit animalistic behavior and they are still considered children of God, nonetheless.
What happened next was nothing short of a miracle. Instead of being attacked, our homeless friends lined up to thank me for my "tough love" and honesty. Many shared that people out there who say they want to help, are always afraid to offend and never speak truth so boldly. Who knew?? And then Bradley walked through the food share! Bradley!!! Apparently, the man who was stabbed was Bradley, just not the Bradley I had befriended.
Two things became immediately clear to me that night. The first is that God has a way of making all things work for his purpose. The second is that he was continuing to evolve my role in leading this ministry and I was being molded into something I had never imagined. To many, the SSO food share is church. The Word on the Street is a ten to fifteen minute Scripture based message spoken before dinner is served. Some love what they hear and some don’t, but it is always spoken in love and rooted in biblical truths.
- Tonya Grose
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