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View from the Bottom Rung

My husband and I recently spent some weeks volunteering at a rescue mission for homeless men. Just when we thought we had heard every kind of abysmal failure that humans could experience, we learned about more.

Every man present had to undergo counseling sessions where he discussed his past, his family dynamics, reasons for being there, and much more.

One thing many had in common was that they came from fatherless homes. That says a lot about our culture.

One has been on the streets since he was six years old. Some were molested as children. Others didn't know their real parents or had little to no contact with family members.

Due to the above circumstances, many missed learning to think practical, logical thoughts. They didn't learn to manage money, to plan or to make goals. Most were too busy just surviving the daily chaos caused by parental drug and alcohol abuse. Others chose to live for the next high, not thinking about the results.

It's hard for children to fit together life's puzzle pieces when somebody stole the box with the picture on the front.

Then there are those who lost everything in Hurrican Ian in 2022. They found themselves with no place to go. Rent for restored places was so high they couldn't afford it. So, they ended up at the homeless shelter.

Others have been so affected by sin that their minds will never be the same. One said he has communication with aliens from outer space. Another claimed he's on the way to becoming the richest man in the world. At the end of the day, the counselor wonders where to begin to help them.

A person is in for a lot of surprises here. Some of the younger men who look relatively normal at first glance, have burnt out their brains on street drugs. As a result, they have mental illnesses.

One young man appears to have come from an upper-class home, given his sophisticated manners. He looks like he could be a white-collar worker at an office downtown. However, if given a job at the mission, he has to be closely supervised because he has trouble carrying out simple instructions. He also has conversations with imaginary people he thinks are sitting across the table from him while he eats.

That leads to another issue: lack of work ethics. How does one teach a grown man to work if he never had to? Those in charge of work detail have real challenges.

There are bright spots in the midst of all this. They are the men who realize they need help getting their life on track. They repent of their sinful lifestyle, finish their education, get a job, study the Bible. It's a joy to listen to dynamic preachers who have come through the mission and have taken up the torch. Today they preach to those who sit where they once sat.

This haven is filled to capacity. Last night people were sleeping on the ground outside the gates, waiting to get in at the first vacancy. At the same time, some have been here longer, yet still need concrete plans and goals.

The leaders carry the tremendous challenge of deciding who should stay and who should go. They do an amazing job as they realize their decisions could influence the destiny of never-dying souls.

Broken hearts, broken dreams, empty eyes: they're all here. Working at a homeless mission could be depressing, were it not for the hope given by the Saviour of the world. You live for the bright spots.

Your turn: Please leave a yes in the comment section if you will help pray for this mission to the homeless and others like it.


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