Thursday, May 14, 2009

Emmaus: Day Nine

I got in at 3 AM last night. I get up at 9 AM. I am not going on an adventure today. I decide to take it easy. I spend my morning reading. I finish reading The Perfect Joy of Saint Francis by Felix Timmerans. The book was a present when I took my final profession to become a Secular Franciscan, that seems so long ago now! I enjoyed the book very much.

Next I continue reading my training manual. There is some good stuff in here. I like the focus on knowing the person and not the label, on realizing there are multiple pathways to this life. I also like the emphasis on being a servant and a humble on at that.

Finally at 3 I start working my shift at the Ministry ‘Center. I get to see how much this center means to some of our guys. One guy stops by and bakes two huge peach cobblers. He cannot stay and have dinner with us, he just wanted to contribute. Another makes fried chicken from scratch. Again, he also is not able to stay but wanted to make a contribution to the center and the guys.

Guys are here using the phone to find out about their medicines, jobs, housing. They do their chores. One reads scripture before a meal and another says grace. Their prayers are never bland. I love this place.

After the shift I go up to the Kiao Community and we have our prayers. I really like these folks. Then the rains come. The sky is black interrupted by flashes of lightening. The rain falls in sheets and the wind howls. Then at 10:30 PM I get to begin my Outreach!

I worked outreach with my roomie Chris. He is a great guy who is very bright, funny and caring. Once we are dropped off at Boys Town it stops rainy! Every time we go in doors it rains and when we get ready to go back out it stops. What a night. It is 70 degrees out, so while we are wet it feels good outside. I expect it to be a slow night because of the weather. Boy, was I wrong.

We have a number of homeless women approach us. They know our work and trust us. They are not part of our mission. However, we are a mission. So they walk and talk with us. These are women who are disheveled, have a sense of drama, have a long history of victimization. We are their safe break in a very rough life.

Guys keep approaching us. They know us. Some want some food, not snacks but food. Others need to talk about what happened to their friends or family. They look tired, hungry, anxious but trusting. At one point we were walking down the street with six guys around us. I never would have imagined this.

I met more members of a “family” of homeless teenagers. So far I think I have met 12 members from this group and there are more. The sleep on the streets and avoid shelters. They care for one another. They clearly like us and get up excited as soon as they recognize us. The older ones seem to recognize the gravity of their way of life. They have newspapers out and are looking for jobs. The younger ones seem to act as if they are on a big adventure or extended party.

It was a very busy night. We told a lot of guys about our services at the Ministry Center. We listened and listened and listened to guys tell their stories. Chris and I arrive back at home after 3:30 AM. I am exhausted and go to bed. Chris works on the paper work and stays up till 5 AM. It was another long but very satisfying Emmaus day

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