Desperate Rich

Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.
Desperate Rich

Live under the line challenge.

In March this year I went through an experience that changed my life.

I became homeless.

It was only for 5 days but the effect it had on me will never be forgotten. This is what if felt like to be without a home, a cellphone, money and transport in light of the Live Under the Line Challenge:

I didn’t have R10 a day like you guys. I had nothing. Technically I couldn’t even afford the shelter fees, but they let me in each night and in return I worked the garden or helped the kitchen. The food was plentiful but it was unclean. It took only 24 hours before my stomach turned against me and lets just say the bathrooms were vile. I would have taken less food if I could be promised it was clean but I had no choice. It was either eat and hope I don’t get sick - or be hungry. The latter sounded worse. Being hungry was a problem I could always resolve. Check the fridge. Check the cupboards. Check the fridge again. A quick dash to the shops. But in the shelter that wasn’t an option. You were bound by it’s rules. Breakfast at 07:00. Dinner at 18:00. No food allowed in the dorms. No food allowed in your locker. Occasionally we would get dessert if Virgin Active Snack Bar or Pick n Pay donated their past-sell-by-date food that no one bought. It was something we all looked forward to. They usually reserved it for Sunday night after church.

What happens when you run out of milk and the shops are closed - Ask the neighbour? Phone a friend? The biggest difference I noticed when becoming homeless is the lack of community. There is no teaming up for LUTL meals in the homeless world. You can’t tell your buddy to bring the salad and you’ll grab the rolls. You don’t trust anyone. Repeat line for emphasis. You do not trust anyone. You live for yourself. You stick to the rules and hope no one gives you beef. When you live on the street or in the shelter you watch your back. Always. Favours are currency and if you’re in debt then you’re expected to do anything.

It was difficult going to back to society. You notice the homeless a lot more. You realise why people sleep in the park or eat out of bins. ‘Funny money’ is a career. Selling newspapers is a job. The biggest thing that changed for me was understanding the homeless a lot more. Give them grace. Don’t accuse as much. When a man is scratching in your bin looking for things to eat or sell, speak to him. Find out his story. Don’t just chase him away. Learn about shelters and how they work. Volunteer at organisations. Donate money. Play a role in changing this city. It’s the least you can do.

Lost for Words - by Tessa Brown

As I am sitting on the pavement next to a street friend of mine, listening to her talk, I find myself calling out desperately for words, as I am left with none.

You see that street guy there, who prayed for us all now, walking around like he owns the place…he was kicking me over there. I had to go to hospital. The police are on his case.”

He walks past and thanks me for the food we brought, and my friend stays silent.

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: what a blissful chapter

rawoats:

A David Psalm

19 1-2 God’s glory is on tour in the skies,
God-craft on exhibit across the horizon.
Madame Day holds classes every morning,
Professor Night lectures each evening.

3-4 Their words aren’t heard,
their voices aren’t recorded,
But…

Conduit

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If you meet Grant Edmond you might think he’s just another 21 year old UCT student with a dream far greater than his means of achieving it. Take a second to have an intrinsic look at organisations such as ‘Just Grace’ and you’ll quickly realize that he’s the man behind it all.

"You must meet my friend Grant, I think you’ll get on well with him." A friend of mine told me when talking to her about people who are passionate about the things I’m passionate about.

"I look forward to meeting him." I replied.

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rawoats:

Meet Ursula. She is a friend of mine from the Haven Night Shelter. She brings joy to everyone there. She is beautiful. She is a princess of our mighty God.

rawoats:

Meet Ursula. She is a friend of mine from the Haven Night Shelter. She brings joy to everyone there. She is beautiful. She is a princess of our mighty God.

Why should I care?

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Tim Keller’s ‘Generous Justice’ has really impacted my life as he describes the biblical implications of the Gospel and what Jesus’ heart is for the poor. Something that really stood out to me was ‘Why we should care?’

"Why should I care about a stranger, a person who is no kin to me, a person whose habits I find disgusting?"

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Living in a night shelter - interview by Paul White

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Paul White sent me some questions to answer for an article he was writing for Ground Cover. Due to the length of my answers he had to omit some of the text and I didn’t want them to disappear into cyberspace so I’ve posted the ones that weren’t published. Read Paul’s article here, for the rest:

Was food provided? What was it like?

"Food was provided for in abundance. The shelter is sponsored very well by food donations. However, all of the food is past it’s sell-by-date and is stored in pretty disgusting conditions. Flies and cockroaches tend to have free range say for a poorly placed upside-down plate over prepared food. There is often no or little soap for those preparing the food so the food is handled unhygienically. I received jippo-guts after the first day and suffered with it until well after my stay had finished."

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The adventures of the destitute

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Adventure has a seemingly positive connotation to it as it reminds us of old Indiana Jones movies or going camping with a new Swiss Army knife. However we forget the times where the lead character got lost or the little tiny tweezers needed to pull out a splinter went missing. Being without a job can lead you to many strange places and down many unfamiliar roads before a job is finally secured. One such friend has a few of these journeys to tell:

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Tim Keller makes a superb point about grace leading to generosity. 

Acts 20:35 - "It is more blessed to give than to receive."

Paul didn’t live in greed or covertness, he showed us a life poured out to the poor. He concedes if we are people who know we are sinners saved by grace we are going to live lives of massive generosity. 

I learned the lyric of the gospel long before I loved its music.

—Scotty Smith talking about living from his head rather than engaging from his heart - The Genuine Life