Today was certainly a different sort of day for The Pillow Project. Our team has grown to include 7-10 people who like to go with us. This morning, we started out with 5 who were ready to go, and by the time we hit the streets, we were down to 2 people! Things happen and things change. We must be flexible. Kathy B. and I decide to not let this hinder us...we were few but mighty in power!
We went to both of our favorite places: Young's Grocery, and a semi-abandoned shopping center on West Colonial. Young's Grocery is where we consistently meet people, as this is where Cathieann used to hang out a lot when she was on the streets. Since we go there often, we meet a lot of the same people.
Kathy B. is very experienced in Evangelism Eplosion and she was able to witnes to two men. While we were speaking with them about our church, FBC Orlando, Kathy mentioned to them FBC is going to have a "Wedding Day" on August 8th. Our church will be performing a free marriage ceremony to intestested couples on that day, complete with a reception and all the trimmings. Gary said he was very interested...he was waiting for his girlfriend to get out of jail today and they want to get married. So we gave him a card for our church and he said he was going to contact them so they could get married. We pray that he follows through.
Now for Debbie. We met Debbie (photo at left) for the third time today. Last time we saw her on Colonial, Sandy M. witnessed to her and she accepted Christ. Since that time, we had been hoping to see her. Unfortunately Sandy was not there today. When we saw Debbie, she immediately said that she still needed a tent. We called Cathieann and she hopped in the car with her husband to bring the tent she had purchased for Debbie. She was so grateful! Now we just need Debbie and Sandy to meet up again one day.
We also ran into more people that we had encountered before. Everyone has a story! Here are some that we heard today:
*I used to be a professional dog groomer...had my own business.
*I lost my job back in 2008 and never have been able to get my feet on the ground.
*My boyfriend got really drunk, some people told him I had been cheating on him, in his drunken state he lashed out at someone with a box cutter and he is now in jail.
*My girlfriend was in prison for petty theft. I was in prison for 14 years...I just got out.
The stories are sad and varied. For most of these people, living on the streets is easier than doing real life. Therefore, they continue to live on the streets, in a sort of subhuman existence. We know that only Jesus offers hope. So, we continue to take the gospel to the streets and pray that His word makes a difference in the lives of the people we meet.
Homeless People of Orlando, Florida
Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida
Orange County Correctional Facility
Friends and Families in need
Heart 2 Heart – Women’s Residential Seminole County