Money is such a chore

 

Photo Credit: M.O. Stevens

Portland Greyhound Station with Union Station Tower in background
Photo Credit: M.O. Stevens

 

Money is such a chore. And before I say more please know that I’m not going to plead for donations. If you want to give to us, great! If you don’t, that’s fine. This is about what I just did with some of those donations.

If you don’t know already, our friends living outdoors are not allowed to have kids with them. It’s automatically assumed to be endangering a minor. There’s no discussion of how the kid is being cared for. If the family doesn’t have an address or a place to stay, the kids are removed on-the-spot. I’ve walked three of our friends through the aftermath. This isn’t about another of these stories either.

At our Sunday gathering some of my outdoor friends came up to me to point out a couple and a pre-schooler at the edge of our cluster of people. I went over to talk to them. They had come to Portland to help a family member who immediately refused to see them. They had their backpack stolen with most of their belongings and cash. They were living day-to-day on handouts desperate to get enough for a cheap hotel each night. It was barely working and they were down to the clothes on their back. No blankets, no change of clothes, no extra food.

My heart busted. I felt the fear of them losing their kid. I felt the frustration. They had some churches back home trying to raise funds to help, but so far no results. I heard the last of their hope fade as I explained that the family shelters were all full with a waiting list.

I wanted to help but I had no place to put them up. I did have a very recent couple of donations from speaking at Red Hills Church in Newberg. I barely hesitated. It cost $600 to buy three bus tickets.

They are on their way home. They have a place to return to, and friends to help them stay on their feet.

I’m glad we had the money in hand to make that happen. We normally don’t. And yes, we had other plans for the donations. But honestly, walking our friends through the loss of their children are easily the darkest days of my ministry. I don’t want anyone else to experience it (though I know some will). Standing there, talking to two anxious parents, there was no way I wasn’t going to help.

This couple just called me from the bus station. They have their tickets in hand and they’ll board the bus in an hour. There were a lot of “thank you” and “thank God” and “bless you” and such sprinkled through the brief conversation. If you are one of our donors, please accept those phrases for your part in making it possible.

I can only do so much downtown. It’s your generosity that makes blessings like this possible to share. Please accept my thanks as well. I am honored to take what you give and turn it into physical proof that God loves us all.

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