Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Emmaus Day Eight: the Rest of the Story

My work day was a long one. First I worked in the Ministry Center from 11-3. I did sign-ins and talked with the guys. This is a great experience. We have a number of guys who are struggling with making major changes in their lives. They are trying to sabotage their own relapse, they are initiating conversations with us. They are in uncomfortable places, places of growth.

Then we had a staff meeting. I then rushed up to Kiao Community to make our dinner. After we ate we, the Kaio Community, went to Holy Name Cathedral Center for a lecture on Mary. Then we came back and had the briefest of meetings. I read and finally at 10:30 began outreach.

I went out with Doug, master of outreach. This guy is great. He is a musician, street smart guy who can live his faith authentically without coming off even a little pious. That is so important in this work.

We first went downtown, by the river. Nothing was happening there. Then we went to Boys Town. That was different. We had a number of guys approach us. They simply had to talk about their hurt, their families, pressures, their friends in jail. These guys are living very difficult lives. Doug referred to it as “survival prostitution”. I am amazed at how easy it is to see past what they do. I like these guys, I am touched by their struggles. They are not interchangeable, they are all so different.

They sit and talk with us. They smoke, laugh, express their sadness. They get some food. One will sleep on the “L” tonight. Two are struggling to support their families. All the guys we talked to tonight knew about Emmaus, their families knew about Emmaus. The Ministry was one of the few supportive, safe places in their lives. I am also struck by how strong their faith is. That is something I never even considered!

We get home at 3:00. It has been a long day but a really good day. All I keep thinking is, if Emmaus didn’t do this work who would?

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