So you aren’t ready to fly out of the country just yet?
That is totally fine! There are so many amazing options that is within our own country. Sometimes we get this idea that mission work is just in third world countries, and that poverty isn’t a problem in our own country. It couldn’t be farther from the truth! While we may not even be close to the poorest country, we still have an incredible need for people to come and serve within our borders, to reach out to our hurting countrymen and women. And on top of that, some people just aren’t ready to step on to a plane to another country, and that is totally okay! We are all called to different things, and along different paths. So first off, thank you to all those who have the heart to stay in the country and serve the US. One problem that we face in our country is homelessness. In Los Angeles County alone, there are over 51,000 men, women and children who have no place to call home. 1 in 45 children nationwide are homeless, which is the most ever in U.S. history.
If any of us has ever visited a city, we are almost guaranteed to walk by at least one man or woman sitting on the ground, holding out a cup and jingling what small amount of change they have in it. How often though do we just walk by them, completely uncomfortable at even the idea of making eye contact with them? So often we forget that just because they are currently without a home, that doesn’t make us any better than they are. Just because they don’t have access to a shower doesn’t mean that we can just walk by without giving them a second thought. Even a smile their way can completely brighten their day. A couple of weeks ago I had the amazing opportunity to go to LA and work with the homeless on Skid Row, which spans 52 blocks, full of 44,000 homeless people. As we walked through the streets, we could give out water and food and necessities such as socks and underwear. Socks… such a simple thing that I took for granted every day. While we were handing out supplies we could connect with them, and hear their stories, and we were able to make some amazing and unforgettable memories with these people. I cannot even begin to tell you how eye opening that experience was for me, these were not homeless people, these were people with real stories of heart ache and hard times.
The organization that I had the chance to team up with is called the “Dream Center”. There main campus is in Los Angeles, but they have multiple different smaller sites around CA and NYC. They have done an amazing job with dealing with the hunger and the homelessness facing LA, all while spreading the good word of the Lord. They offer many different outreaches in their community and throughout Los Angeles, but one of their most known for outreaches is dealing with the homeless. Their moto is that “homelessness isn’t hopeless”. I couldn’t agree more, they have so many testimonies of those living on the streets, coming to know Christ through the organization. They have an opportunity to do the Skid Row Outreach, and then they also have a food truck, which goes to low income parts of the city and offers food to those families. Most the food they receive is through donations, and it usually consists of two different drinks, beans, rice, canned vegetables, and fruit pouches. We were able to help hand out the food, and I cannot begin to describe how it warms your heart to the core when a mother with three kids in tow looks at you and says, “thank you, God bless you”. If you have a heart for the homeless and hungry, then look no further than the Dream Center and their amazing ministry. You don’t need to leave the country to serve!
The next time you see someone who is homeless, I challenge you to stop and look them in the eye, and ask how they are doing. Get to know them if you have the time. Pour into them.
Interested in serving? Check out short term missions!
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