By Dan T.
I looked for opportunities to engage and serve the homeless during my first few days with little luck, both during the day and at night. It was as if the homeless were hiding from the world, sleeping away as much time as possible. I sensed a spirit of brokenness and it frustrated me to see so many that appeared to have given up on living their lives.
One night after dinner with some colleagues I was walking the area around my hotel looking for homeless when I met Clifford.
Clifford and his wife, and several other couples from his church, were doing the same thing that I was. Night after night they walk the streets looking for homeless people, taking an unofficial poll on how people are doing and what some of their specific needs are, and then returning the following night with everything they had been able to gather to help meet those specific needs. When I bumped into him, Clifford was trying to find a homeless man who had requested socks and granola bars the night before. He wasn't sure if he would find the man.
Clifford confirmed what I had feared, saying that homelessness is indeed rampant in San Francisco, and that many people experiencing homelessness have reached the point where they have given up all hope of a better life. His group went out night after night to share the everlasting hope and love of Christ in practical ways.
Homelessness is a prevalent issue not just in San Francisco, but throughout the country. It's the sort of issue where the more you look, the more you see, and it can be overwhelming. Clifford and his wife have recognized the need around them and are responding.
In similar fashion, Ed and Anita Rennells, their daughter, Meredith Peters, and Meredith's family, have all recognized an urgent need to provide help and hope to the homeless in Fort Collins, Colorado, and have responded.
I hope these stories are encouraging, and I'd love to hear your own stories of inspiration. Feel free to share with us in the comments!