Forgotten Voices' Mission:

"Demonstrating the love of Jesus Christ by equipping local churches in southern Africa to meet the physical & spiritual needs of children orphaned by AIDS in their communities."

Monday, January 14, 2008

Homelessness & Hope in DC

Today and yesterday, I'm in the great Washington, D.C. for meetings.

Yesterday, I had an amazing conversation in a coffeeshop with a guy from National Community Church. Check them out online at

They are really doing some incredible things in the community. Their vision is to meet at movie theaters near Metro stops around the D.C. area. Their main site is Union Station's movie theaters, with Union Station being the most visited place in D.C. every year - over 25 million people.

Anyway - we talked about connecting with young adults, mobilizing new believers around a vision, and tangibly relating to the communities we are part of wherever we live. Sounds heady when I reread it here, but it was VERY practical and all about the idea that ministry doesn't have to be about just programs and doesn't have to be complicated.

As we were talking, I watched a homeless guy come in and sit down in this church run coffeeshop. I wanted to see how this idea of meeting the needs of people, yada yada, actually played out at this church while we were talking about it. Well - countless people came over to this man, talked with him like old friends (because it seemed they actually were), and said goodbye as warmly as they had said hello.

When we were finished w/ our meeting and began proceeding toward lunch, I walked over to the man and said his lunch looked really good and it was making me hungry. He smiled at me and said that he was sorry, with a laugh. We exchanged some warm pleasantries and I departed for my next meeting.

It was fun & refreshing to see hope for the homeless for real - not just a bullet point on a church mission statement. It was obvious that this man felt he belonged and was welcome. Likewise, this man made me (a stranger) feel welcome. It was a rare experience where the church and community actually arrived at the same place and it wasn't a traumatic experience. It was natural.

This got me thinking about our ministry in Zimbabwe and Zambia. The best conversations I've had and the best teaching moments I've experienced are when I got over my class-wars and listened to those that had something to teach me...regardless of their economic state. Sometimes that's required me to check my pride and my arrogance. Sometimes, I've failed to be able to do that and I'm pretty sure I missed out.

My time with this church and my time in D.C. has given me hope that people are knee deep in the things God cares about...and I'm encouraged. Today, look for a way to make someone's day, but do it in a genuine way. Or perhaps, allow someone else to make your day, even if you think they smell.

The homeless man at Ebenezer Coffeehouse made my day yesterday and I can't stop smiling.


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