My time with the Hope City Homeless Street Ministry.
My name is Daniel Sidler, I've been working for Hope City Church for a little over three months. I recently had the opportunity to experience the Hope City Homeless Street Ministry. The following is an account of that experience.
Not more than a month ago, I found myself in Matthew 25:40-45 reading...
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
In an honest response, I prayed "Jesus, I try really hard to live a life that's holy and pleasing to you but I don't know, that if you were to return TODAY, that I would have accomplished much of the work you deemed to be the most important!" I didn't even know where or how to begin. As a father with 3 young children, where should I go to practically get involved. I've helped support ministries and causes that help the needy in the past, volunteered in food shelters etc. but, when I really analyzed this I realized I'd spent much more time avoiding the dangerous "riff raff" in inner cities on the streets than attempting to look them in their eyes and serve them. I resolved to put a tack in it and pray about it some more. I finished journaling and began attacking the 50 things demanding my attention through email and daily tasks. The burden got pushed the the background noise and then forgotten altogether. I don't like to admit it, but it's the truth.
About 3 week's later I received a text from the Hope City Homeless Outreach Ministry.
"Hi Daniel! Sharp, caring Pastor Joshua just provided your contact info. regarding your desire to join me on our March Hope City Homeless Street Ministry trip, here are the dates you can choose from..."
"What!?" I thought. "I'd normally be happy to help... but seriously, now!? We are just TOO busy!" It's true, this invitation couldn't have come at a busier time. I began to type my apology for not being able to accommodate any of the dates presented when God tapped me on the shoulder.
God: "Hey, whatcha doin?"
Me: "I'm responding to this text. I wish I could go but I'm busy doing all of the things I was praying about earlier this morning... you know, the ‘to-do’ list I’m stressed about?"
God: "Yeah? You sure? You asked me a couple of week's ago how to get involved with feeding, clothing..."
Me: "I KNOW, I know... I'm just too busy right now."
God: "Okay. It just seems to me that if you really wanted to be about that work, your feet would already be walking in that direction."
Me: "Okay, I'll trust you. I'll point my feet in that direction, let's see what adventure you've got planned."
Now, if I told you I was extremely excited to go, we'd both call me a liar, but truthfully, I was really looking forward to the trip. After all, it was an answer to prayer. It didn't make it any less inconvenient; even the morning of, I was staring at a laundry list of things to do that had to get done, and I almost felt irresponsible for leaving it. A last-minute cancel even crossed my mind, but the words that God has spoken to me continued to echo in my mind. "If you REALLY wanted to be about that work, your feet would already be walking in that direction."
I fired off some last minute emails and prepped a couple of projects for work on the off chance I had time to work on them after I returned and then I headed out. I arrived at our place of departure about five minutes early. This outing was only planned for two people. Me and one other, her name is Mary Wood.
Mary Wood is a warrior. Her military background and love for the Lord combine to make an incredible powerhouse of prayer and action in the Lord's army. She is regularly doing battle in the trenches of the spiritual warfare most of us never see. I think the darkness shivers when it hears her feet approaching because when she comes, she's bringing Jesus and darkness is gonna hear that name loud and proud.
After a short time of prayer and communion, I was handed keys to the car. "You're in charge of supplies, Sir." She commanded respectfully as she pointed at the 45+ bags of individually rationed supplies to be handed out. I carefully loaded the car and realized that a place had been prepared for me in the back seat. The front seat had been moved forward and every remaining space besides my own had been stuffed to the gills with supplies for those in need.