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My Life Without: Day 1

January 10, 2008 1 comment

I woke up many times during my sleep at the library. A little after 3:00 PM is when I finally got out of there. I probably slept around 4 hours. That wasn’t nearly enough, but I knew that tonight I needed someplace to stay. I got up, still feeling mildly insane and walked. Interesting note: I also woke up feeling deeply pure. I don’t know why, but I felt more pure than I ever have and it seemed as if a voice was letting me know that I was such. It was pretty cool. I knew of a place called Hard Times Cafe from my friend Nate and about where it was. Plus, I thought that if I could get to a computer with internet access (remember the local library I knew about wasn’t open on mondays) I could find some places to stay and hopefully get some food. I was getting hungry. I journeyed in a direction that I was told was by the University. It sort of was, but when I got to University Avenue I didn’t know which way to go and I ended up walking 15 blocks in the wrong direction, then I walked the 15 blocks back and another 20 blocks to boot. Then hit the university. Then, after another couple miles of walking I found the library. When I got there it was going to close in 20 minutes. The computer I was directed too couldn’t really access much beyond the University library stuff, but I did find the location of some stuff on google maps and then set out to find Hard Times Cafe. It was on Riverside avenue. Not having my bearings being in an unfamiliar place as I was and beginning to see things in a very surreal manner as I was the night before, I decided riverside was probably down by the river. It wasn’t. It wasn’t even close. The road I took down by the river ended up being a scenic route that was difficult to get off, it took a couple of miles I would guess. A couple of miles out of my way. Then, when I got off that road, I wasn’t sure where I was. Because of the terrain, architecture, and night sky I couldn’t see the large buildings of downtown. I guess my direction and made it close enough to see them. My road was winding however and everything I took seemed to be in slightly the wrong direction. My legs were extremely tired and my feet hurt bad. I hadn’t eaten anything in over 24 hours, and that was just a few appetizers in the evening before. It was getting late and I was concerned I would not find a bed because I would show up too late.

At this point, I’m seriously considering any 1 of a number of people to get me the heck out of here. I feel myself hallucinating again. I’m in the downtown area, but I cannot find the shelter I google mapped. I’m so mentally out of it and physically barely moving. I don’t know how I kept on moving. I knew I wasn’t going to call anyone. You guys know how I am. But I didn’t know how I was going to make it through another night if I didn’t find a place to stay. It was only 8:30 PM I was already cold and had to move to stay warm. But, I finally saw some guys in an area where I thought there were homeless shelters and asked them where I could find a bed for the night. One of them graciously pointed me in the right direction.

I found the Salvation Army Harbor Lights place and spent the night there. Thank God for the Salvation Army. It was pretty cool. They have relatively thin mattresses on the floor set up literally right next to eachother. The mattresses are barely wider than my shoulders. It was pretty stinky and pretty hot down there on the ground. I didn’t have a blanket or anything. The man to my left was an obese white man, to my right was a large african american. I played footsie with one, and the other liked to “accidentally” put his hand on my back. I’ve never been so thankful for a night of sleep in my life.

I’ll write about today tomorrow. I’m currently chilling at the Mpls library on the internet. I’m almost out of time though and I’m looking for a place I can grab a meal tonight. If anyone you know is interested in this little saga of mine, send them to it. Pray that now that I can think about more than a place to sleep and more like myself, letting Christ shine in me to those around me would be my primary focus. That’s what I really want this trip to be about, but it’s changing me more than I thought it would…

Categories: My Life Without

My Life Without: Night 1

January 10, 2008 Leave a comment

Minneapolis is beautiful. Today was an in-between day. I spent a few hours in Uptown walking around. That was interesting. Didn’t see a lot of homeless. Didn’t talk to anyone really. It was strange. I felt closed up, afraid. Not afraid to talk to people, but afraid to talk and leave thinking the conversation wasn’t powerful and life-changing for the person I was talking to. That anything less is failing. I felt alone and awkward. I don’t belong with the homeless. I am not one of them. Uptown was depressing because I depressed myselt with inaction. Going on no sleep has been difficult. After Uptown I hung out with CPCers and then Dubs drove me to downtown Minneapolis. I know where a bunch of homeless people are, but tonight I’m doing it alone. I feel alive here. There aren’t many churches in the downtown area, probably cost of property. I want to be here for a long time. Tonight I might get kicked out of where I’m at, a ledge in an alley off the blacktop. Tomorrow and for the week I have a few goals.

1. find a place where I can get a meal
2. Meet some people
3. Prayer and Scripture at the Library
4. Beg some money
5. Spend the night with other homeless
6. Break my social chains: Satanic chains, sin chains, fears, and live free
7. Tell someone about Jesus
8. Learn something new about myself
9. Listen better
10. Fully engage people in light of the presence of God in and around me

My Life Without: Day 3

January 10, 2008 2 comments

Last night was pretty funny. An inebriated mexican came in and laid down next to me, then he started swearing a lot in English with a drunken accent 3/4 mexican, 1/4 south minneapolis, reacting with those same 5 swear words to anyone who told him to shut up. Funny… if you were there. Then he was quiet for a little bit and commenced singing en espanol what seemed like a love song in this loud drunken mexican voice. He’s keeping everyone in the place awake. As he was lying down he was doing dramatic hand motions, a la an opera singer. The guy next to me says, “Man I wish I had a video camera.” I wish I did too. Then I’d put it on YouTube. And you’d all laugh.

I woke up really tired. At first I wondered why, but then I realized that I haven’t slept anywhere near enough over the last four nights. I was thinking about getting up early, but kept collapsing back down on my pillow. When I finally got up, I think it was 6:00 AM. I walked around for a while and then found my way back to the community college/technical college/university of minneapolis. I think that’s all the names it has. There I read some scripture and had a strange accidental nap where I dreamt that I woke up in the FTC house with Nate and Nate and I rode on a banshee, he drove while I held on with one hand and we went through fields while I grabbed flowers as we flew by. The I woke up back in the college, shocked that I was still in Minneapolis. Both sad that I wasn’t home and excited that I was still there. This opened something up in me, however. After that I told God that I didn’t want to be here a week, but as long as He wanted me here. I just asked that He would guide me and lead me so that I was here for the amount of time He has allotted. Then I made my way to Mary’s to get some breakfast. Throughout most of the day, I imagined what it would look like to stay for two weeks. The relationships that I could build would be awesome and I would probably get a much better idea of what homelessness looked like. I hung out around town, then went to the library to do some internet use, and then reading/praying/listening to God. Cool stuff. After that I left to hang out with Steve Wiens. I let him buy me a meal because I had to skip one at Mary Jo’s to spend time with him. Everything was pretty chill. Honestly, I am quite surprised by how easy it is to find food and shelter as a homeless person. The life itself is not difficult in terms of survival. Getting out of it probably is, but I do still think that it would not take much for me to get out of it, just some motivation and the willingness to put forth the effort to get out. There are some homeless that because of a condition probably cannot escape it. There are some who are in it temporarily, and that is understandable. But ultimately it’s a condition of sin that needs healing in the same manner as other sins by the forgiveness and power of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Later on that day, something surprising occurred. After walking away from my meeting with Steve to find some people to hang with, I felt the strong sense in my spirit that this was over. I argued against it for a while. I really wanted to see this through a week at least and there was much I wanted to do yet. I prayed through it. I called a friend and he prayed for me. I asked God why, and it felt like he said there’s work to do in the Eau C. So, I’m back. Kind of sad. Very surprising, but I feel a deep peace about it. I’m excited to be here too. I really enjoyed my time there however. I’m really excited to go back and love people from a different spot. May God be with the area. May God go there and move in people’s hearts. May we find the field ripe for harvest. May we be healed, prepared, equipped, prayerful, confident, peaceful, gentle, bold, full of love for God and others, and filled with the Holy Spirit – ready to live in proper relation to God by letting Him flow through us into the world.

My Life Without: Some Things I’m Learning

January 9, 2008 Leave a comment

1. This really has been the #1 thing. I don’t think the best place to minister to the homeless is from the same place that they’re at. I don’t think it’s true for anybody, and certainly, I have been designed to minister from a place of health, as one who’s pulling others up – from homelessness, from chains, from unbelief, from pain, from sin.

2. I knew this, but it’s hit me hard. I need to minister in a community. I don’t do well on my own. I feel like I should be the type of person who is capable of ministering alone, but I don’t. Perhaps I should be. Perhaps I will be. Quite a few days left.

3. I don’t like being the social outcast. As a homeless person, I am. Some people sit in the background, I’m brought out by others to the foreground and mocked.

4. The culture here is way different. I have connected well with a lot of homeless people in Eau Claire at the free clinic, under the bridge, on the street, and at my house. This is different. Even just the dialect differences can make communication extremely difficult for me. I don’t know what the heck people are saying, especially when they have a lot of vodka in them.

5. Homeless shelters should have a list of local homeless shelters and what they provide to hand out to people. In addition, these lists should have maps of the local streets and where stuff is at. I spent a night on the street and two days without food because I didn’t have anything like this. Neon lights aren’t a bad idea either.

6. Volunteers are generally loved. Not always, but most people take very well to them and appreciate what they’re giving them. It’s like an english professor giving you compliments on a paper, a pro football player offering to help you improve your skills, a rich person volunteering to give you sincere help on how to make more money. The person receiving the food (or whatever) feels privileged.

7. People need a step-up, they all seem to think that they need a step up. For each person it’s different. One person thinks he needs transportation, another to be given a job. The problem, however, is not a lack of resources, but a lack of motivation and desire. They want the wrong things. Pretty typical human issue. Honestly, even at the place I’m at, just a bed for a night, I’m pretty sure that in a couple of weeks I could get a job and in a month to a month and a half be out of there. I have the motivation. I have the ability to dream bigger. I have the determination. Again we find it’s not the external, but the internal that is the primary causes of the problem. May God come through and defeat sin, defeat Satan.

8. Homelessness is not a bunch of people that need jobs. It’s the result of so many other social issues. Employment options. Mental Illness. Alcoholism. Drugs. Gangs. Social Pressure. Wrong Beliefs About Self. Family Inheritance. Lie-pervaded Christianity. Love Himself needs to come and shine throughout every aspect of the city. I’ve asked Him to come, and He says He’s on His way. Anyone wanna join Him with me?

Categories: My Life Without

My Life Without: Day 2 (Tuesday)

January 9, 2008 Leave a comment

Today I ate. Good news. I ended up waking up at Salvation Army at 4:30 AM. So I didn’t get as much sleep as I had hoped. It was still comparatively amazing. I walked to the library, found out it didn’t open until 10 AM, went the the Community College Library, which blows, did a little bit of reading, then left and got my first meal from “Mary Jo’s Place” aka Sharing and Caring Hands. People just call it “Mary’s” though. It was delicious. Then I went to the Mpls library and got on the computer, found some other places to eat, and wrote the stuff I put on the blog. Then I went down to Mary’s and got another meal – yeah baby. Having a lot of energy I went on a trek to find Hard Times Cafe. It took over an hour for me to find the place. It’s probably a 45-60 minute walk taking a more direct route to my place. It’s pretty trendy. Racy’sesque, but a little nicer because the decor comes together a little bit better. There weren’t any homeless people there, at least none that seemed to be homeless. Speaking of which, all homeless people have money. I don’t know where they get it, I should find that out, but I don’t have any money. From what I’ve seen, not all of them beg. I actually went and sat in Hard Times Cafe without buying anything.

Life feels easy again already. Weird huh? I kind of wish something would happen that would make it more difficult here. Other than my feet being absolutely disgusting (I’m waxing them in my sister’s crap when I get back to the Eau C), life isn’t too shabby. I have food, I have shelter, and the coffee at Mary’s isn’t horrible. I’m even able to access the internet. Cool beans. One thing that hasn’t happened is great conversations. Every attempt I make at having a conversation is usually cut at the point of intimacy and trust. The conversations have mostly been forced, awkward, and goal oriented. I’ll keep trying. And try harder.

My Life Without: Night 1 continued

January 8, 2008 Leave a comment

15 minutes after that journal entry my world changed. I actually haven’t written in that journal since that night. Things have been crazy. Remember those goals? They were all tossed out the window after this night.

After sleeping for a matter on minutes on that ledge, I realized that even on a warm day in winter, it is still really, really cold outside. Too cold to sleep. I got off the ledge and realized I’d have to find a different spot, the cement was too cold. I wandered around for a long time looking for places that seemed a little warmer. There weren’t any. I looked for open doors into skyways or parking ramps – ones without the no trespassing signs and security cameras. I didn’t find any. I wandered to different parts of the city. At one point I found a dumpster with some cardboard in it that I grabbed, then I went and urinated under a bridge and tried to sleep on the cardboard. In minutes I was freezing. I got up, walked across the bridge again, back to my ledge (it was familiar) laid the cardboard there and tried to sleep. It didn’t work. At this point, I’m incredibly frustrated. I already hadn’t slept in 36 hours. I was cold. My body was sore from before going into this trip. I had been walking around in these boots that are incredibly warm, but one thing they weren’t made for, is walking. Not on sidewalks, not on you. My feet hurt really bad. Anyway, my situation sucks terribly. I’ve already been walking for hours and hours and I just want to sit down and rest. But I can’t. Not for more than a few minutes. It’s too cold. I have to keep moving. And it’s only 1:00 AM. Already the longest night of my life, and I have hours before I get to see the sun again.

My story about that night continues in the same vein. Through the night I continued to look for places to sleep and continued to be colder, more tired, and my body hurt worse all over. I ran into a guy at 2:30 AM who told me where some shelters were, but I suck at finding them. Saw one shelter, Sharing and Caring Hands, but they said they would prosecute anyone on their grounds after hours. So I left. I was unbelievably tired. I think the combination of lacking sleep, walking around so much, and the cold really got to me. I pretty much was hallucinating. Sometimes I would sit down in the bus stop (FYI – even the ones with warmers aren’t that warm) sleep for 10 seconds, wake up and think my dream was my reality. One time I couldn’t have barely closed my eyes, but I woke up and had no idea where I was or why I was there, but I was sure someone stole my backpack. Then I found it, on my back. I couldn’t walk in a straight line. One time I almost looked up to talk to Chris Schasse, who I was pretty positive was sitting right next to me. I even thought I bumped into someone once, but there was no one there. It was nuts. I couldn’t think straight. I knew I needed to keep walking, stay warm, and I’d figure it out.

The night ended when finally, after finding the Minneapolis central library closed on Mondays (ridiculous!), I made my way to the community college library and fell asleep on their small couch, dirty and sweaty, and tired, at 9:45 AM. I would guess that I walked for approximately 12 hours altogether that afternoon and night. At 3-4 mph that’s about 40 miles total – on no sleep, in the cold, with heavy boots, clothing, and backpack. I’m not saying that to be impressive, but to try to convey how ridiculously difficult it was. On to day 1.

Categories: My Life Without
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