Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | September 13, 2013

The Road From Anywhere

Homeless people holding cardboard signs. We’ve all seen them. And we have perhaps wondered about them at one time or another — who they are, were they are from, how they ended up on the streets. Every person has a story but not every person’s story is heard. Listening to another person’s story requires that we stop long enough to engage them in conversation and give them our undivided attention.

El Paso Sign
Our missions ministry has a strategic partnership with HPD’s Homeless Outreach Team and the Harris County Hospital District’s mobile medical clinic for the homeless. Once a month, the mobile medical clinic comes to Kingsland and Officer Giraldo and his team bring Katy’s homeless to the clinic. We provide breakfast, hygiene kits, backpacks, and other items to help the homeless who come to the clinic.

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This morning, Officer Giraldo introduced me to Phil, a 64 year-old bearded man in a wheelchair. As we sat with Phil, I asked him to tell me his story. About a month ago, Phil set off from North Carolina on a cross-country trek in his wheelchair. He is traveling to El Paso. He told me about being robbed along the way, sleeping in his wheelchair, his two-blanket bed-roll that was stolen, and scooting along backwards holding his cardboard sign indicating his final destination.

Phil
I asked Phil to tell me about what kindness he had experienced along the way. He smiled and told me about a highway patrolman who gave him a ride that took him almost 100-miles closer to his destination. And then, in Mississippi, a woman with her six kids in a mini-van stopped to give him a ride. “She took me to her home and invited me to eat with their family,” he said. “And then her husband gave me a ride farther down the road.” He also told me about a waitress who saw him and felt compassion and prepared a sack lunch for him.

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Life is hard enough for the average person, but unimaginably tough for the homeless. That’s why a simple and unexpected act of kindness toward someone in need is like a little bit of balm and a little bit of honey. Phil talked about how the kindness of strangers had made his hard journey a little more bearable. His wheelchair is literally on its last wheel. Officer Giraldo said he knew someone who might be able to provide another wheelchair. “If not,” I told him, “please let me know and Kingsland will provide one.”

HOT Vehicles
While I was talking with Phil, my phone rang. I glanced at the name and saw that it was a homeless man who had visited the clinic last month. He was calling to ask if the clinic was open. When he arrived a little later, I learned a little more of his story and that he had once lived in one of our nice Katy subdivisions. A series of unfortunate circumstances left him homeless and on the streets. He lives in his car. He thanked me again for the kindness he had experienced the previous month when our kids had given him a hygiene bag. That simple act of kindness had a healing impact on his faith.

The road from anywhere is tough for the homeless who wander from place to place. As Christ-followers, we should always be prepared to show kindness to those who are on the road or living on the streets. That’s what Jesus would do. And that’s what we must do. Doing so will be a blessing to those we help but will also make our own hearts a little healthier. In the words of Ken, the guy who lives in his car — “That’s real Christianity.”


Responses

  1. Wow. Again, what a great reminder. Thanks for sharing

    • Thanks, Kim. I really enjoyed my time with Phil this morning. And I’m so grateful for Officer Giraldo and his team and the medical staff who care for the homeless. Great folks.

  2. Thank you, Omar and the members of Kingsland Church. I’m always amazed at the scope of your outreach, and the generosity and faithfulness of your members. You folks are truly the hands of Jesus on this earth.

    • Thanks for your kind words, Lannie.

  3. I’m so blessed by reading all stories from your post, from Bangladesh. Learning a lot!

    Mortuza

    Bangladesh

    • Thanks, Mortuza. I hope your health is improving. You are in our prayers.

  4. Hi Omar,

    The homeless can bless us by teaching us the value of slowing down, stopping, and listening. So many amazing stories can be heard from those whom the world speeds by without a second glance.

    God Bless You,

    Chad

    • Good word, Chad. Everybody has a story. Not all of them are heard. It is good to stop and listen to those who live in the world of our blurry peripheral vision.


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