Friday, December 16, 2005

Something New...

Something new...
That would really describe the recent weeks. It seems everyday is something new. I Learn something new or meet someone new.

I've learned...
that addicts,by the Capitol Building, go 2 by 2 into the port-a-potties to smoke crack. I've learned that Mexicans who want to come to America are brought over by drug dealers and have to work off their travel expenses by selling pot. I've learned that homeless people sleep in the middle of the side walks, over the steam vents, when it's cold. I've learned that there are some street kids who love you for only what you can give them.

I've met...
Nic, Sam, Miguel, Pickey, Plague, Bruno, Desaree, Paddy O, Arkansas, Demon, Don, Shaw, Jordan, Charlie, Crystal, Tawnya, Pockets, Nautilus, Jenny, Ashley, David, and Moma, Scrappy, Kenny, Chris, Scrappy, Titties, Trent, New York, Undertaker, Ahme, Tammy, Ghost, Kool-aide, Carla, JT, and many others that I don't know there names. Each of these souls have stories. Stories that include pain, joy, frustratuon, betrayal, abuse, abandonment, fun, terror.

I was humbled...
Miguel is one of our friends and has just recently gotten off the streets and is a diagnosed schizophrenic. But he is a very genuine ands loving person. Miguel has been coming to our Wednesday Bible study and meal. I've had some great conversation with him and I feel like I'm in the beginning stages of a friendship. Last night he came to the pool hall with a gift for me. When he gave me the $40 gift he was so excited and you could tell that he really wanted to give me something from his heart. I almost started to tear up but I held it together because crying in a pool hall is not allowed. WOW! A gift from someone who has no job. I didn't receive this gift lightly.

A little investment...
2 weeks ago I spent 20 minutes sitting with Pickey and her crew at the pool hall. I didn't know her but I wanted to get to know her and her boyfriend they seemed really fun. She's never even said "hi" to me. Pickey is one of those girls you can't figure out why in the hell she's on the streets. She's got this spark of life. Hope is still in her...somewhere. The 3 of us didn't have any great deep conversation. We all just joked around. Last night at Shakespears' she saw me got a big smile on her face ran over and gave me a hug. It's amazing that showing a little attention to these kids creates such great feelings in them. All I can figure is some of my Jesus must have bubbled out and got on her and it changed her life. Even if it was just a little bit.

My encouragment to you...

1. Learn new stuph. It'll open your eyes to a new world.
2. Meet new people (not the kind you normally hang with). We were built for relatonship.
3. See every gift as a blessing.
4. Take the time to invest in someone's life. It will change yours and theirs.


Friday, November 11, 2005

From Matt

From Matt Wallace:
Below is just a story and my thoughts from an event that happened last night:

"Hello Officer Johnson, this is Captain Black. . . . Yeah, we've got a D.O.A. here by the river . . . . Yep, I'm sure he's dead. . . . some kid . . . . these ministers came and told me that there was a dead guy in the park. . . . . they led me down there, we searched through the bushes, and we found him."

Tonight was one of the toughest nights on the streets yet for me. Every Thursday night, for the past four years, we've rented out a pool hall. We invite all of our friends, the street kids, to come inside for free pool and an opportunity to feel normal. Nothing about tonight felt normal for me. It was one of those "first-ever-experiences" that I would just rather not ever have had.

Three street kids, good friends of ours', came running up to Robbie and me at the pool hall.

"We were just down by the Platte River walking on our way over here and we found a dead guy." These kids were scared out of their minds. Scared because they didn't know what to do. Scared because they were afraid that they were somehow going to get in trouble. And scared mostly because, well, it could have been them. "I think he must have overdosed or something. . . . . we touched him and he was . . . cold," said one of the kids. Robbie and I offered to go and handle the situation. We knew that there was an off-duty police officer working security at some apartments nearby. We told the kids that we would go talk to him. From here, the night seemed to get darker. The three kids took us to a lookout and pointed in the general direction of the body. Robbie and I then went by ourselves and found the off-duty policeman. Captain Black drove us through the park down to the river. We got out and began walking towards the water through the tall dead grass and overgrown bushes. With a lump in my throat, butterflies in my stomach, and adrenaline flowing through my body, I said, "Don't think that he will be here on the trail. I think he's probably up in the bushes. The kids said that he was in his squat.

"After a few minutes of searching, the beam of light from the officer's MagLight lit a small pile of clothing. When we rounded the big bush and looked down, there he was. He was no old "homebum" like I thought he would be. He was a young kid. He was a street kid. I knew his face. I'd seen him walking down the street within the past month at least twice; though I never even knew his name. His face now white, his lips purple, his body curled up into a tiny ball. So THIS is where life ends? Beside a nasty dirty river? In a squat uninhabitable for human life? Overdosed on heroine? Dark? Alone? We made our way back up to Captain Black's car. We called on-duty police officers. The fire department, ambulance, and homicide showed up. The atmosphere soon lit up like an episode of C.S.I. . . . only real. We filed our reports and left the scene. I'm sure there will be no murder convicted. It's hard, in a court of law, to convict absentee and abusive parents, drug lords, heroine itself, and even the Prince of Darkness.

We met back up with our 80 plus street kids, now at our weekly meal in that very same park; the flashing police lights just in the distance. The mood was somber. The kids asked quiet questions. One of the kids who had found the body pulled me aside. I asked him if he was ok. Staring at the ground, he said, "Yeah." He was not telling the truth. I asked him what he was thinking. He said, "I'm tired of my friends dying." I asked, "Did you know that kid?" He said that he didn't, but could have so easily. He knew that that kid hadn't been in town long enough for him to know him. He began listing the names of his friends that he knew were "next". I asked him if that could have been him. . . He looked up at me and said nothing. This time, his eyes spoke the truth. He walked away.

My teammates surrounded me. I cried. I too am tired of my friends dying. It's a part of the business I'm in. In four years, I know of at least 10 of my street friends that have died. I've been a part of one of their funerals. But I've never even seen a single body. Tonight. Tonight this was too real. The image of his face will be with me forever. Back at the pool hall, Nikki was having a conversation with a young girl. She was crying. It had been another bad day. She says to Nikki, "I'm tired of people being she**ty. . . I guess it doesn't really get better for people like me.

"I so desperately want these kids to know:
There is a LIFE where your friends aren't killing themselves slowly and taking you with them.
There is a LIFE where love is real and is not dependent on sex or filled with abuse.
There is a LIFE where everyone around you isn't held captive by drugs.
There is a LIFE where you don't have to sleep beside a river or underneath a bridge or in a stormdrain.
There is a LIFE where you really can trust people.
A LIFE where people don't stab you in the back day after day.
There is a LIFE that begins NOW and goes on forever.
There is a LIFE that is filled with a supernatural LOVE.
There is a LIFE that doesn't end in the cold, dark, bushes beside the Platte River.There is more than this so-called living.
There is LIFE.Tonight I feel the gravity of living in desperate times.LIFE must be lived.
And we have got to show the way to LIFE.