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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Sad But True

Not too long ago there was a death of a man that lived in
 what we call "Tent City" here in our town.
Reading the article in the paper and hearing about this was so sad. 
Some say it was an overdose.
This just breaks my heart.  I don't care who you are....you know of someone that is homeless, depressed, a drug addict, an alcoholic, or even mentally ill.
  Sometimes they are right in our own family. 
 Sad but true.

I remember when people used to blame the parents when a child made wrong choices.  Some still do.  But all you can do is train them the way they should go and pray.  Families of loved ones who have gone astray go through far more than anyone knows.  I know of many who have stolen from their own family. We hear on the news every day about murders that happen because of drugs. Babies are even sold for drug money.
 Sad but true.

There are several ministries here in our town that help these kind of people if they want help.  There is one in particular that I know of personally called Providence Ministries.  In the article  about the man that passed away in the tent city they interviewed Rev. Roy Johnson (founder of this ministry).  He explained that many homeless people choose to stay in the camps because they don't have to abide by rules that are set up by ministries or homeless shelters.  He said that they don't have to live that way but they don't want to give up their lifestyles. He added that there are also some that are mentally unstable and cannot make these choices. He also said that we should all use discretion when we want to help the homeless.  Sometimes we are just enabling when we help.  He reminded us that about the prodigal son.  He said if they had made it comfortable for him there in the pig sty----raised up a little cot for him to sleep on and given him food to eat----would he ever have gone back to his father?  He said he has heard of people going to the camps and giving them money.  He said he guaranteed us that the next stop would be the liquor store.  He shared how it would be better to give your money to a ministry that could actually provide food and shelter. 

I experienced something like this one time.  I was going down the road and saw a pitiful looking man holding up a sign. My heart told me to do something.  My heart said that he was some "mother's boy".  I went to McDonald's and got him a meal to eat.  I came back and handed him the food.  He actually looked offended and asked me for money.  He did take the food but I watched as he put the bag on the ground and continued to hold up his sign.  He wasn't as hungry as I thought he was.  My helping was not helping. So I totally agree that we need to give to the ministries that help these people.  Really help...not enable. I might not can go and deal with these people one on one but there are others who are called to do this and I can stand behind them in prayer. I might not can give a lot of money but I can clean out my stuff and donate to their thrift store.  I might not can go cook and serve the meals but I can donate food to the ministry that knows how to help these people.  I can do something.  I am going to do something. 
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Tent Cities, homeless people, drug addicts, alcoholics, mentally unstable, etc.
Sad but true.
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Prayer of Protection
Psalm 91
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As I sit here in my cozy, warm home I have noticed on facebook that Providence Ministries have opened their doors for the homeless to come in during this cold weather.  I am sure that their are many more ministries that do this very same thing but this is the one I am familiar with and I know these people personally.  I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to those involved in these ministries.  What an example they are for all of us. 
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Alone, these ministries can do a little
but together, with all of us they can do a lot. 


18 comments:

Life At Camellia Cottage said...

Val, once I was in a Kroger parking lot, loading groceries into my car. An old man came up to me and asked me for money to 'feed his family'. Thing was, I had watched him walking up from the liquor store across the street. I told him the truth . . . "I don't have any money, but I will go inside the store and buy you some groceries for your family". He looked me in the face and said 'No, I need the money.' I looked him in the eye and told him I worked hard for my money and

Alice Grace said...

Tears......yes you are so right! I can't stand the thought of what they are going thru, but you are right that we cannot enable them. And what insight about the prodigal son, that is so true. But by being on his own, he realized that he was not fulfilling his life in the right way.
My heart hurts so bad for those out there. I wish I could just do something, but you are right there, also, just donate to the people who KNOW HOW to help in the right way. And PRAY!

Life At Camellia Cottage said...

Sorry, don't know what happened there. Anyway, I looked him in the eye and told him that I worked hard for my money, and I would not give him my hard earned money to waste on liquor at the store down the road. And I told him I would pray for him. He grumbled, walked away and went back down to the liquor store. And I did pray for him. Some times I wonder about him. If he really had a family, if they knew where he was, or if he was totally alone. And as you said, it is sad but true. Becky

Amelia said...

We have to handle each incident as the Lord leads us...we had helped a man - well really more for his children than him...but after the continued lying we had to stop. We are continuing to help others...we did not let this one "bad apple" rob us of the joy of helping others that the Lord has placed in our path.

May God bless you in all you do!

Pat said...

Your post is SO "right on"....sometimes we don't realize we are enabling...and those who are addicted are quite good at sensing that and manipulating. We may have good intentions but we also need to be distanced enough to have an objective view...and if we can't do that, we do need to give our help to those people and programs that CAN be objective and really know how to provide good help.

Mrs. Stam said...

Thank you for sharing this post! Often people get tired in these kind on ministries because they are demanding in all sorts of ways, but there are also many ways to help, keeping them n prayers, financial support or even being there in person !

Susannah said...

Val....what a great blog post you have written tonight. At this time of year, everyone is thinking about who and where to help. I think you have hit the nail on the head. Thank you for such a powerful message.

Michelle said...

Sad....but TRUE!

Needled Mom said...

We have several churches in our area that are doing wonderful things for the homeless. They provide warm meals and many find them lodging for those who want it. I agree that those are the ones that we need to give our monies to. It will be put to good use.

caknitter said...

We have a lot of homeless people here in California. Most are from out of state and come because of the weather and believe life is better, but it's just as hard. Father Joe opens a shelter every winter for the homeless, so everything you mention is very true here too; the addicts, mental illness, etc.
A long time ago while on a date, the guy I was with gave a homeless man $20. I cringed because I knew what he was going to do with it, spend it on liquor and when we walked out of the restaurant I saw the man with a brown bag with a bottle of hard liquor.
I've learned my lesson not give money but to donate to the places that help the homeless and needy.
I think your post puts everything into perspective about teaching and helping those that need help.
:-)

Maria said...

Only in Febuary drugs touched me and my family closely. My SIL's brother died of an overdose in a group home. He was 39. How sad. As you said everyone had helped him but he chose his path. I know this Christmas will be hard for them.Not only did his brother die but his father passed away in May.

Anonymous said...

Agree....every one has choices to make. For some reason, some would rather lived like this then do something about it. I do know that some people are truly homeless and cannot find a job but others have decided to be there.

Deb said...

My husband and I like to donate to ministries such as the Salvation Army and FaithWorks who have probrams to provide hot meals and beds for the homeless and those with addiction problems and mental illness. I believe they are better equipt to handle them. I can add prayer

Love Bears All Things said...

You're right about our having someone like this in most families...not homeless exactly but living a sad existence...we help however we can but we cannot change them....and it isn't the parents fault either..sometimes its genetic, sometimes it is a chemical imbalance, sometimes drug dependency..All we can do is love them...pray for them and help where we can.
Mama Bear

All4Him said...

You are so right Val. In my devotion the other day, it said that we should really pray about who we should help and how. I always want to "fix" things and make everything better! But if you don't pray and let the Lord lead you in this area, you could interfere with God's providence. He has a reason for allowing what He does. He wants the very best for us but sometimes, He has to allow us to hit rock bottom! If people, meaning well, keep bailing them out---they may be helping but they also may be keeping them from God's best. Does that make sense? We may be prolonging their situation even though we are "helping." Now I'm not saying that we shouldn't provide a meal or a coat for them because I believe we definitely should. But to help them any further requires much prayer and God's guidance. I totally agree with you that we should do our helping by supporting a trustworthy organization.

Patty Sumner said...

Val, it is sad but true that we have an enemy Satan whose goal is to "steal, kill and destroy". In my dealing with the homeless and addicted, we cannot always say it is the families fault. I believe we live in an "evil" world. Someone can have a wonderful childhood and in a moment they can be trapped in addiction due to a bad choice that was made. When addiction hits, it can only stop when the addict decides to stop it. They do need help and the ministry you spoke of is correct, it must be done by those who are called or led to do this type of ministry. Many times families have been hurt and abused by the addict so badly that it is almost impossible for them to see through the pain and misery that have endured to help. That is why our good God calls and sets people aside to do this work. Many times the best thing one can do is donate money, time and dedicated times of prayer to those doing this type of ministry. The minister is also correct in saying we must realize regardless of how much we want to help some just cannot be helped because they have chosen the dark side of addiction. You, my dear friend, need to hear this, God is faithful and knows your heart and your faithfulneess and strong heritage will endure in the end. Your prayers will be answered...keep seeking the Lord and live your life faithful to Him! The prodigal son will come home......Blessings!

Midlife Mom said...

I so agree with you on this!!! We have a homeless population in our town and I never give them cash as I know what it will be spent on. At our church we keep a supply of food and money to take people to the grocery store and make sure they buy food not booze or drugs. Sad but true that this does happen and you are right we can't enable them. We have numerous wonderful ministries here in town that take care of them providing warm coats and mittens, food and a place to sleep at night and they need our support so that they can minister to these sad people and hopefully get them out of the lifestyle that they find themselves in. And yes, we need to pray for them, sometimes they are the forgotten people aren't they? Great post!!!

Dyane said...

Thank you for this, you have no idea how you touched my heart today. My 22 years old son is one of those men out there, flying his sign, with his faithful dog beside him. He will never lie to you, if he needs money for alcohol, he is honest. If he is hungry, his sign will say so. If he needs a ride, it'll say that, too.

He is out there because it is the life he chooses. He can't come home, or he'll go to jail for stupid crimes he committed a couple of years ago, that hurt no one but himself.

Many people say they won't "enable" one of these people by giving them money, but when I see them, I imagine my own son, who was one time, my sweet, beautiful little boy, going through DTs, and convulsions from withdrawal & I know they, too, have a mother out there somewhere, who worries & I do give them the money, hoping that out there, somewhere, someone will take care of my boy.

People do, they are incredibly generous to him & his pup. I thank them in my mind every time I hear of the amazing things that they've done for him, like making sure he made it home on Thanksgiving to spend the holidays with us.

So, to all of you who won't give them money, realize that sometimes, when you buy them groceries, you're wasting your money, too, because they may or may not eat them. Try to always remember that they are someone's child & someone loves them very much & that someday, it could be someone you love. Pay it forward now, so they will be taken care of then.