Tom and I! Tom's a Vietnam vet and he taught me some self defense moves so I stay safe on the streets! haha. He called me his granddaughter!
The Mercy mascot, Serius Black!
Dave, Jesus the soup master, and I!
It was a great last day with them, they're such a fun group! And I can't be too sad, because I still have two more days to love Atlanta! It's been raining though, which is a bummer because it makes it harder to find people because they all go to find shelter. I've had such an amazing time here and I've met so many cool people! The Mercy crew, Shorty, Teddy, and I met this guy named Gabe the other day after I talked with Teddy. I only talked to Gabe for a few minutes while we were walking, but we connected really quick because he's into homeless ministries, too. He actually does a summer camp that volunteers with the homeless of Atlanta. What's really cool about it, though, is that in order to really understand the homeless community, he'd been spending the last few nights at a homeless shelter! I told him I thought that was amazing and I'd love to do that, but it probably wouldn't fly with my mom, haha. It's inpiring to see people like that who take compassion to the next level and really try to walk in homeless people's shoes rather than just giving them a new pair.
Atlanta had a homeless newspaper called Atlanta Overlook that's gone away for a while, but they're trying to get it back. They had some old issues at Mercy, so I read some of them. Here is a poem called "Unconditional Love" by Marshall Rancifer that was in Vol. 2 Edition 3
"I don't need your plate of food, I don't need your coat, I don't need your shelter.
I do need your time, I do need your hand, I do need your support. Help me to stand.
A coat can only provide warmth, it can't provide dignity.
A plate of food can only provide sustenance, it can't provide pride.
Shelter can only provide protection from the elements, it can't provide courage."
Feeding souls means so much more than feeding stomaches. Don't get me wrong, giving food, coats, and shelter is really important, but giving dignity, pride, and courage to these beautiful people is so much more fulfilling to them. I look at it like parenting. How appropriate after my last blog entry! But if parents only meet the physical needs of their children like shelter, food, and clothing, they are going to have some pretty sad kids. Children need nurtured and told that they are important, valued, and loved. The same goes for God's children of all ages! Especially the ones that society looks down on. Like Teddy said, these are all my children, and even though I love getting to meet some of their physical needs, I know what's much more important is making them feel loved by myself and even more by God.
My heart is so full! I love the way God designed our hearts so that the more love we pour out, the more full of love we feel!