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A Group of Christians Got Together to Serve the Homeless

A Group of Christians Got Together to Serve the Homeless

A homeless man squatted looking at his bowl. A homeless man squatted looking at his bowl.
ByJosiah Li June 15, 2022
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Recently, I attended a more unusual Christian meeting - not a Bible Study, not a praise meeting, but a meeting to better serve the homeless. Participants at this meeting shared their experience of serving the homeless and discussed ways to further promote the ministry.

A brother who was born in the 1970s shared that he had many negative opinions about homeless people. First, they were liars and cheaters, and they never paid back the money they borrowed. Second, they were always drunk and were never grateful, because they would just forget about it immediately after having the food. Later, in the process of serving the homeless, he thought about himself when he served the homeless and remembered that he used to smoke, drink and indulge in games. After that, he became more tolerant and accepting of the homeless.

It does take a great deal of tolerance to serve homeless people, who can be capricious like children sometimes. Once, when some fellow workers went to deliver food, a tramp refused to receive it. One of the sisters went over and asked him why he didn't eat. He said that someone had stolen the internal part of his rice cooker, so he didn't feel like eating. The sister said, "I will buy you a rice cooker and bring it to you next time. What else do you want?" He answered, "I want onions, ginger, and garlic." She continued, "Okay, I'll get you that, too. What else do you want?" "I want another bottle of soy sauce," he added. She said, "Ok, what else do you want?" "Nothing more," he concluded. After that sister fulfilled all his wishes, he went to eat with the others.

Most homeless people also have an unacceptable problem - uncleanliness. A sister who was a barber wanted to help cut the hair of a homeless man, which was a big challenge for her. She had to wear two layers of a mask and vomited several times during the process. In response, the church staff provided homeless people with a place to bathe. A homeless man who had not had a hot bath in years said he felt very comfortable after taking one.

And that wasn't all. Some of them were foul-mouthed. A young sister who just joined the ministry said that once when they went to deliver food to the homeless, some of them were playing cards, and one of them was not only ungrateful but also cursed them. That young sister became frightened. At that moment, a sister who had served the homeless community for more than ten years peacefully and calmly communicated with the abuser, and the abuser gradually calmed down. Several other church staff at the meeting agreed that when we encounter such kinds of people, we should pray hard, and ask God to do his work, for this is a spiritual war.

There were worse cases. Once, when some church staff brought food to a group of homeless people, a drunk person, in a frenzy of drunkenness, knocked over some food and smashed the pan that held it. One of the couples in attendance was badly hurt spiritually, but they didn't say anything. This couple are still serving.

In addition to sharing the difficulties encountered, some of the church staff also shared the benefits of serving. A middle-aged sister met a 27-year-old homeless young man, who was the same age as her son, and that sister treated him like her child. The sister inquired about the homeless youth and gave him 100 yuan for a haircut and some clothes. Unexpectedly, the homeless youth was moved to tears. "He has feelings just like us, and sheds tears when he is touched!" exclaimed the sister. "The next time we met, the young man had his hair cut, had clean clothes, and looked just like a normal person."

Another middle-aged sister shared the story of helping a cobbler who moved there from other city. The cobbler's stall is near her house, and every time she cooked a meal, she would first give some of it to the cobbler, which moved him. Later, the sister had to move, so she told the cobbler that she could not bring him any more meals. The cobbler said he was so grateful for this sister's help that he had already believed in Jesus and had led five members of his family to do so. Hearing this story, a colleague at the meeting exclaimed, "A bowl of noodles with a sentence 'Jesus loves you' is far more effective than a Gospel leaflet!"

Regarding the ministry to the homeless, a sister who has served for many years stressed the importance of prayer. She often prayed and worshipped from 5 to 7 in the morning, asking God to give her the strength to serve. "This is a very easy but extremely important thing. If you don't get strength from God, you can never make things work!" This sister said that she wanted to repent because she had been too busy with her ministry recently and had not spent much time with God. She clearly felt that she lacked confidence in her heart and it was difficult to bring out God's power in her ministry.

After sharing, they arranged shifts to serve the homeless on the spot. Currently, they serve at four homeless centers, seven days a week, with people at each location at a set time.

Seeing that everyone was serving as one, a church worker said with emotion that many churches were acting independently, and the churches in China was just like a bunch of scattered sand. Unexpectedly, a group of homeless people brought them together.

- Translated by Nicolas Cao

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