The Background Story

This was the ministry that actually brought HoldToHope alive. It all started on January 11th, 2018. We went for a walk on the trail one day, and we saw a young man across the river living a tent. So like any normal person, we called out to him, and he came across to us. Listening to his story brought us back to reality. We didn’t really know what we were doing, nor did we know what we about to start. When we think about helping the homeless, we think about handing out blankets, giving them a dollar, but what we don’t really think about is talking to them.

That young man we met that day opened our eyes to how cold we have become as a people. “People don’t even look at you.” He said, “They’ll see a dog and run up and greet it. Talk to it, but they’ll turn their head when they see us. We’re not even dogs.” How heartbreaking is that? That we as a community could have turned our back on our own. We tend to look at the homeless with disgust because ‘they’re dirty’ or ‘they brought it upon themselves’ or ‘they’ll just spend that money on drugs and alcohol.’ But those are just excuses to ease our own conscience so we can continue to live our lives as if they don’t exist.

As we continued our journey with the homeless, we met a small tent community of people that grew to be friends. They also continued to open our eyes. When we think of giving money to the homeless, as we said earlier, we often think that they’ll just spend it on drugs or alcohol. One of the men who spent hours out in the sun flying his sign took the money they had all made and bought food for the whole tent community. Another time he spent that money on a motel room, so they could all take a shower.

We often judge someone before we even know them. We go based on what we’ve heard or what they look like, instead of trusting God and giving them hope. Sure some will take your money and buy drugs and/or alcohol, but not all will, and it’s not our job to police them on what they do. Our job isn’t to tell them what they can and can’t do with the money we give them, it’s our job to give and then pray that they do the right thing.

We all have made mistakes, some were very big ones, but we had someone there for us. Either physically (picking us up, so we didn’t lose everything) or spiritually (praying for us so that we didn’t lose everything), but not everyone has that. Not everyone was blessed with that opportunity. Some seemed to be born into a hopeless situation and left to fail. But how can we help them if we turn our heads and pretend that they don’t exist?

Jesus tells a story of a Master who sent out guest invitations, but all declined for foolish reasons. This was His response, Luke 14:21-23, 21 So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ 22 And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ 23 And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled.” God doesn’t discriminate against those who are poor, crippled, dirty, drug-addicts, alcoholics, or any other person who we have deemed as less than. Jesus came for all of mankind, not just a few. Not just those whom the world deems worth. He came for all people.

So we take time out of our week to go into the highways and hedges that we may feed them and give them hope so that they may know the goodness of our Heavenly Father who loves them and wants more for them. It’s amazing what a simple sandwich, some chips, a drink, and a little note will do for someone.

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