Monday, April 25, 2016

"Luke" & "Laura": Glen Allen Baptist Answers the Call

CB at Glen Allen Baptist writes:

Well yesterday was an amazing day. Actually the past couple days have been. Nearly 30 people donated to help these folks and we took it down last night. Let me say this, the faith and fellowship from Glen Allen Baptist Church was AMAZING. I will say this, I was beat from running around all day Saturday to pickup goodies. I was so thankful for Paul Tilley, Allen Jenkins, and my father in law to go down with me and help unload. At first "laura" was very standoff-ish and had to think about shaking my hand. "Luke" was there at first as he was coming back from the store with toilet paper. Wish we were a little sooner because they should be set with that for months now. "Luke' and a friend chipped in and help us move things in. We had A LOT of stuff for them. A truck load, Expedition full, and a large trailer with goodies. Full bed with all the sheets and foam pads, blowup mattress, dishes, plates, cups, dinnerware, silverware, couches, dresser, bath towels, hand towels, coffee pot and coffee, microwave, toaster, table, 4 chairs, can opener, cooking utensils, pots and pans, skillets, new pillows, more toilet paper than you can imagine, paper towels, all kinds of personal items, and a HUGE double box serving of baked spaghetti. I think I woke "Laura" up from her spot in the bedroom upstairs. When I came up the stairs with the mattress she cracked a little smile and her face certainly washed over with delight. We told her we weren't through and had more bed items to come. The mattress and box springs were up in the room and cleaned up and when I returned with the bedding and mattress pads she had already moved them into place and had laid out the ultra sound pics of her baby boy. She didn't say anything about them but it was obviously she was letting us know about her special news. By the end of the visit she was talking about the baby and had a full smile on her face. It was an amazing blessing because she is certainly troubled. As we finished unloading and bringing everything in I gave "Luke" some envelopes with other gifts for them. 2 -30 day unlimited bus passes, money for the CARITAS signup, and some letters from folks who donated. On the phone Friday night "Luke" was getting very emotional as I was trying to prepare him for what we had coming down to him. He asked me, can I ask a favor of you? "Could you please give me a list of all the people who have helped us so I can send them a thank you note." My heart melted. "Yes sir, I will do that Luke." When I gave him the list and he realized so many people loved him and wanted to help he was overjoyed enough that I got the biggest bear hug ever!! It was awesome. We ended with a prayer outside of their place and "Luke" joined in. May God watch over these two and keep them in his arms. To God be all the glory!

Cassie Writes:

Amen....I can assure you as I write this line, Chills are running all over by body! THIS MY FRIENDS is THE BODY OF CHRIST, To HIM be the Glory. Let us reach out in love and Kindness, let us remind others we are blessed beyond measure, from this moment I pray we will not only love this couple with our money, we will love them with our hearts, time, and soul. They need LOVE(like we all do) for a lifetime to survive. Loving is sometimes painful, so we will not hurt them with our overindulgence of "THINGS", but commit to loving them with our time. We love them, God heals them.
To Glen Allen Baptist, I am so thankful and super proud of your witness. When you are Called, YOU Move! And thank you for moving immediately, esp. once you met them and saw, they moved from the woods to an empty apartment, and they are children of God!
Loving you all SO much! I know they will be busting! Hoping to see them at "Homeless Mondays!" Not so Homeless anymore!
Love, Cassie Matthew
Thank you to "CB" for taking the ball and running with it. I assure you, you were eternally blessed, and you will never again be quite so afraid!"

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

"Luke" and "Laura" - An Update

Good News - They were able to get an apartment on Monday, based on "Laura's" pregnancy. They are super excited to be out of the woods, able to take showers, and hopefully begin something that is at least safer.
Dilemma of the Homeless & Disabled:
"Laura" is on SSI, her income is $733.00, her rent is $210, they have phones( no judging please they are all but 12 y/o) $110
Bus Fare is $3.00 round trip for each, ($6.00 per day x 5= $30. Month will cost them $120 for Bus fare.
We are now at $283 for both Luke & Laura to live for one month and she is 3 months pregnant.
"Luke" could work, if he had an ID, If "Luke" marries "Laura", they LOSE all her benefits, (how encouraging), money, and housing. If RRHA finds out that "Luke" and his friends( from the woods) are living together in "Laura's" home, she will lose her housing benefits. Right now, its not even possible "Laura" could live alone and make all her apts, and take care of this unborn child and herself, she is completely off all her meds. Sweet baby girl could not even carry on a conversation with me, I quickly could tell she was very uncomfortable surrounded by tons of people, she focused solely on her phone.
So how can we help these two and their baby?
First, they have NOTHING, if you look carefully at "Laura's clothing, she is wearing old clothes from our clothes closet.
They are sleeping on the floor, they are cooking nothing b/c they have come from the woods into an apartment, no cooking gear.
Need: Beds, kitchen cooking ware, linens, lights, dressers etc.
"Laura' needs clothes, summer clothing, she is a pretty small girl.
"Luke is in all winter clothing.
Here is the deal; If you want to donate, YOU will have to deliver.
They need the bare MINIMUM right now, no fluff like: pictures, designer wear, purses, pumps books on marriage etc.
NO Baby stuff YET....They live in church hill in a very nice apt. I will give you their address and their number. I told "Luke" I will TRY to help them, and I'll have to give out his number and address, he agreed.
When/If you call, they might not be perfectly polite, they might not even say thank you a thousands times, they might even be embarrassed, just go to give because its the right thing to do, not because you want them to be thankful. We need to give because they could be our children who are in need, because its called "LOVE."
Be brave, Be an example, Be blessed.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Homeless Mondays - "Luke"

I tried to speak to "Luke" he was spitfire mad( many homeless are) b/c he can't get a job, insurance, assistance of ANY kind, without an ID. He's from NY, he's clean from Heroin, he is "Afraid" to go back. Sweet Luke was told by "the system" he must go BACK to NY to get his documents, no ride, no money, and no possible way to get there....on his own. Secondly, its not the truth. We can get his documents from NY here in Va. little more work, a lot more money, and A lot more time, but we can do it. He was so PISSED, he would NOT listen to me, SO ANGRY, SO HURT!!!!!
It took a few minutes, but I finally got him to sit, by the time we were done talking, tears were running down his face, I was rubbing his sweet face, just like I would my own 22 year old son who is sad for reasons that don't even come close to this sweet babies. Luke's worries are so real, and so hard, and so NOT FAIR, you cannot even wrap your brain around them, and guess what, he looks like my children, he could be yours.
A Little tiny back ground:
"Luke is 24", no job, no family here, off heroin for only a short time, and if you know anyone with a addiction(addictions come in ALL families, they are not "exclusive") he is Terrified he's going to "fall off the wagon"; and we are not talking just any drug, heroin is Powerful and Pleasing, esp. if your life really is full of pain and has no purpose, and you have ZERO FAITH!
"Luke" was adopted at 6, molested by a powerful family member, siblings age 6, 4, 2, all given to the system, same time, split up & adopted, never saw them again. He's a "cutter", he feels very little, he's so out of control, he is spiraling down so fast, he will be lucky to be ALIVE in one year. What reason does he have to live? Right before he left NY, his dying mother(born 1964) gave him train fair with his promise he'd get clean, she died of cancer, he wasn't there. He has not spoken to any one in his family in years, remember, "Luke is a mere 24."
In Va., no ID, Living in the woods, first time at homeless monday's, so angry he's hard to speak to, and if you are hard to speak to, no one cares, and you push any possibility of help away. His "autistic girlfriend" is pregnant, 6 weeks. "I'm so stressed, I cannot get her to help herself, go to the doctors, go see her case worker(they are in the woods together, in the elements) and last night we had a fight and she "LEFT" in the middle of the night! "She scared me to death", I'm not sure I can do this!"
So what do you say? I'm not sure you are going to make it my what I'm thinking. I told him I can help him get his ID, quickly SNAPS BACK "NO YOU CAN'T!" I can. "No ONE Can help me!"I said: If you trust me with ALL your personal information, I want to try, please. He gives me ALL his info, we sit down, he tells me a 4 minute glimpse of his life, most( or I better say many) of us cant even sit and listen to our OWN kids 4 mins we are so BUSY!
I took his number, ALL I committed to was "Trying" to get his documents, so he can get a $10.00 Va. I.D......You guys have no idea the hurdle we place on individuals just to get an ID! We are not even talking a Drives license, just a simple Identification card.
This sweet, little broken boy, who has cut marks on both arms, who wants to take your head off, who has a dead mother, no father, adopted at 6, never knew what happened to his siblings, no connection to ANYONE....wants a $10 dollar ID to work! We are so ridiculously screwed up in this city, we make it nearly impossible for our friends to get off the STREETS, even when they want to...and now, he has a pregnant (autistic) girlfriend, who he Loves!
My head was spinning. At first he just wanted a belt. "I just need a belt" he barked. Another homeless man took HIS out of his bag, and gave it to him. Grace. Pray for our friend. I pray I can really get his documents, I pray I do not pummel the DMV with a smart bomb( makes you understand smart bomb). I pray God does something big with this baby boy, the odds are so against him. I knew another kid like "Luke" he came into my life for almost 2 years, and his story was so similar, Joe killed himself at 20 while I was in Haiti.
What will happen to our sweet "lukie?"
My final words as I stroked his sweet little face( his beard) was "your mama loves you" and "God gave you a redeeming purpose" and "You are NOT going to get any help being so angry at people!" "I know why you are ANGRY, you are broken just like ME, but you are empty brother, and you need your cup filled!" Please, be patient, take care of YOU first, and I will try to help you get ONE $10.00 ID! He walked off with his bologna sandwich and his applesauce.....starving.
Just take note: my 22 year old son eats 4000 Calories a meal as an athlete, Luke is eating his bologna sandwich. Heartbroken for our friends, "Please Lord help him!, I pray.