April 15, 2015
Today was another exciting day for our Pillow Project team, especially since it was the one year anniversary of our first time on the streets. We went to the streets of Orlando, taking two cars and 7 people. It always seems like the day starts out slow and we are not going to find anyone to minister to. However, it never ends that way. Today was no different. One of the highlights of my day was a simple act of kindness. It happened when one member of our team, Jerry, took off the shoes on his feet and gave them to a homeless man named Travis. This man had told us he was a former pastor with an alcohol addiction, and asked that we pray for him to give up alcohol and return to Christianity. I am praying that this one beautiful act of kindness will draw Travis back into life "off" the streets and in fellowship with God.
February 7, 2015
It was our joy to meet Cindy today. Immediately she told us she was "beautiful Cindy." In her next breath she said she was a "real hippe." She had the most infectious personality and positive spirit. We were able to give her a few things, like a blanket, some clothing and toiletry items. She said she goes to church, reads her Bible, and was delighted when we gave her some reading material. I will never forget Cindy...I hope we see her again!
February 6, 2015
I was out with my friend Rachel on Friday, and we stopped at McDonald's at the corner of John Young and Colonial for a quick bite to eat. When we left the restaurant, I noticed a young man and a little boy sitting on the curb. All I had was one pillow so I took it to the young man. The little boy grabbed it and squeezed it. He claimed it right away. Rachel and I both gave the young man some money since we had nothing else to offer at the time. Evidently his wallet was stolen with his food stamp card in it. He had a pregnant wife back at the apartment and his only income was a disability check.
While we were chatting, along came three others who were homeless. One woman lived in the woods and we felt bad because the forecast was for very cold temperatures over the weekend, She admired Rachel's boots saying the looked warm and comfortable. Rachel took them off and gave them to her. We ended by praying with them and said we would be back with blankets.
I remembered that Cathieann had some supplies at her house so Rachel and I headed there. However when we got back to McDonald's the people we saw previously were gone. So we drove around the parking lot where we saw Mike. Mike was on a bike and totally appreciated the pillow, snacks, hygiene products, socks and blanket!! We gave him a hug and he said, " I haven't had a hug in a long time, especially from a woman!" So we gave him another hug and prayed with him.
We went along further and met Sam. Sam just got out of prison and was quite subdued. Again we gave him the pillow, etc., prayed and hugged him too.
Now we come to Mr. Unfriendly. He was homeless but didn't want anything but the food pack that came with a pillow. As we drove away I watched him in my rear view mirror. He was taking the pillow case off the pillow, I said to Rachel, "He better not put that in the trash!"
Since several hours had passed and Rachel needed to get ready for work, we stopped in Taco Bell/KFC for lunch. While there we noticed a fellow who appeared to be homeless. His clothes were dirty and he was unshaven. But he had a big bucket of chicken in front of him and I thought maybe he panhandled for the money. Rachel got up and spoke to him very discreetly, asking if he was homeless, and could we give him some items to keep warm. He said okay and we went out to the car to get the pillow, etc for him. In the meantime he was asked to leave the restaurant. He gathered up his food and was walking away when we caught up to him. He said the employee harassed him and he had to leave. We gave him the pillow, blanket and the other items we had for the homeless, hugged him, prayed and let him go on his way, his name is Rick.
Out of curiosity I drove back the the place we gave the unfriendly man the pillow and I checked out the trash can. No pillow! I felt better because there was so much love and caring sewn into that pillow it would have been very sad if he had thrown it away.
It was a blessing and Rachel felt great about helping the homeless. She is very compassionate and it was a blessing to me to watch her minister to these people.
January 15, 2015
As we went on our first Pillow Walk of the year, we ran into Lee once again (the man with the beard in the photo). Lee was one of the very first people we ever met on the streets. He is always warm and friendly, and loves to visit with us. We gave him a pillow the first time we saw him. The second time we saw him, he said he still had his pillow. Today, he told us he finally had to throw it away because it got all wet and dirty. We were delighted to give him a brand new pillow. Lee is an Army veteran and finds odd jobs to keep busy. He says he is an alcoholic and just can't get his life together. We once again shared with him the hope that is in Jesus. As we were leaving, Lee said to me, "I'm going to pray that you people can keep on doing what you are doing."
The people on the streets are real people who did not really choose to be there. Life dealt them some ugly blows and they have ended up homeless. They need our prayers.
Andy was introduced to Mrs. G several years ago through our church Widow Ministry. Several opportunities to minister to her through out the years have been true blessings for Andy and the ministry.
Recently Geneva moved into a new assisted living home. Her invitation for a visit and request for a prayer of blessing was also an opportunity to share a pillow. When we arrived Mrs. G gave us a tour of her new apartment. The pillow was perfect! She was so pleased the colors worked perfectly with her décor and the size was also nice for her sofa. Geneva loved the Bible verse from Psalms printed on the pillow.
Having God’s Word under one’s head reminds us of Ephesians . Geneva is 92 years old and as they say ”sharp as a tack”. The pillow was very much appreciated.
Today Cathieanne and I took 35 pillows to the Coalition for the Homeless of Florida. To date, we have provided them with 207 pillows which are given to the children as they arrive at the Coalition. The children's pillows have Joshua 1:9 on them: "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." We pray that these pillows will be bring comfort and hope to these children, and point them to God. The Coaltion does an amazing job of helping the homeless people of Orlando, and we love partnering with them. We are very excited with the response from the Coaltion and will continue making pillows on an ongoing basis.
September 3, 2014
There are certain times in your life when you just feel that God is speaking to you. As I have shared before, God prompted me to share one of the pillows with Rita, a widow I look after as a part of the Deacon ministry. Now, several months later, she still talks about using that pillow behind her back when she is watching TV.
Aside from this experience, my wife, Lynne, and I have had two more opportunities to give the pillows to homeless or needy people we have seen on the street corners.
Our prayer is that God will use The Pillow Project to further His kingdom and will be a blessing to the recipients.
Bob and Lynne Riemer
September 8, 2014
We all know how awkward it is when you are approached by a homeless person. One day when a homeless man approached my car, I just nodded and sort of flicked my hand at him to go away. Then I felt like God was all around me and telling me to do something for him. I got out of my car, opened my trunk and got out a pillow that our Sunday School class had made in conjunction with our Pillow Project for the homeless people of Orlando.
As I came near to him, there was a lady he had stopped and it did indeed look like she had given him some money, but when I came carrying the pillow, it confused him at first. Then I told him what it was for, who it came from and that there was a snack bag inside. You wouldn't believe his eyes! He was very grateful and kept thanking me for taking the time to give him something in his time of need.
In that instant, I discovered that although there are many people who would probably be upset that you were not giving them money, he was indeed grateful for something more than money. Hopefully this has changed my attitude and made me realize that this act is in obedience to God's will.
The Pillow Project has been a belssing to me as well as those receiving them.
September 8, 2014
Today was the first time I handed out a pillow to someone begging on the side of the road. When we started the ministry, I perceived this is the way it would be done by everyone in our class. Since that time, the ministry has clearly taken an additional direction, in that we take them to homeless people on the streets of Orlando. I came upon this man at the Fairbanks exit on I-4. I handed him the pillow when he came by my car window, told him that God loves him, and that there was some food inside the pillow for him. He turned around and started walking back to the corner with his pillow, reaching inside to get the food out. I couldn't quit thinking about him, wondering why he was begging on the corner. I prayed for him until I reached my destination.
June 25, 2014
Betty Jones' neighbor is caring for her mother, Mary, who has bone cancer and Alzheimer's. Betty took a pillow to Mary and it is her favorite thing. She will not let go of it so that her daughter can even wash it. Betty had to take a replacement pillow to her, so that the daughter could get it from her in order to wash it.
Left to Right: Betty Jones, Joyce, Kathy Brock
Betty and Kathy are both in our Souldiers for Christ Lifegroup at First Baptist Orlando. Through a caregivers class that Betty attends, Betty became acquainted with Joyce, who has Alzheimers. Betty says, "It is such a joy to have these people with Alzheimer's 'light up' with appreciation when they receive a beautiful pillow with a scripture inside on the pillow. God is good, all the time."
I took two pillows home with me and I gave away my first pillow this week! I gave one to one of the widows that I look after. We went out for breakfast on Saturday, and when I took her home, I gave her the pillow. She was very happy to get it and admired the craftmanship. This lady has been involved in the Humble Hands ministry at First Orlando so she recognizes good needle work when she sees it. She told me to thank all those responsible for making pillows...so a big THANK YOU from Rita.
Cathieann, Otis, and Betty on the streets of Orlando. Otis was the first person we encountered on this day. He told us he does not live in the homeless shelters because people steal things. He had a grocery cart full of things. He asked us for clothing, so we went to 2nd Chances Resale Shop of First Baptist Orlando and brought him back some new clothes. He told us he has a drinking problem, and can't quit drinking.
This man's name was Shordan (Pops). When we met him he asked us for a blanket, which we were happy to provide after a trip to the 2nd Chances Resale Shop of First Baptist Orlando.
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