Archive for March, 2012

March 30, 2012

Hard to Hear


Allowing God in our heart.

I encountered a traveling youth, very rough and hardened.  He came to my rescue in a group of kids who were bashing the idea of God: “I definitely and firmly believe in God,” he said, “but I don’t believe in religion.” Later in the same conversation, he told the group, “I know I’m going to hell. I’ve done too many things.” I interrupted him and said, “You may have done some serious things, but there is always a chance of going to heaven. It’s not too late.”

He looked a little reluctant and then said a little quieter, “Not with what I’ve done.” And then he confessed some terrible things. I looked him in the eye and told him, “Maybe you will go to heaven or maybe to hell, but that will about you and not about God. You can be forgiven even for these things if you make a personal relationship with God.” I thought for a moment I saw a tear form in his eye, but he seemed to push through the moment and it was gone. I know he heard with his ears but I don’t think he heard with his heart. — I am praying for you to understand. No matter how long you’ve turned your back on God and His ways, you can be forgiven when you turn back, face God, and cry out to Him. He loves you no more or less because of what you’d done. I know you heard me, but will you allow your heart to know?

Find out more about our weekly prayer time with street youth.

 

“To know, love and serve street dependent youth.”
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March 26, 2012

Wash Day


Most of us take clean clothes for granted.

As part of our ministry, we do laundry for clients. On a cold night recently, we served 29 people with food, snacks, new-to-them-clothing [needs.streetyouthministry.org], many of whom did laundry. We actually ran out of laundry money and were saying no to a couple folks. And then one of the participants remembered a $20 bill that had been passed to them earlier in the day as a gift. They donated it so we could do the last few loads. We cleaned up well (we’re welcome guests at the laundromat and want to keep it that way) and were leaving.

A client came in after ever with a small handful of clothing, proclaiming “I’m too late.” I decided to do his laundry, too. As we waited, I asked if he needed anything, pointing to the truck with donated clothing in the bed. He looked straight down at the ground and said, “Ummmm… no.” All his face muscles went slack, too. So I asked again and said, “You’re really welcome to anything we have that would help.” He still said, “No.” I told him what I noticed about his body language. He admitted, “It’s hard for me to accept things. I don’t need as much as maybe other people out here.”

We went inside from the cold, and I asked over the sound of the washing machines, “How can I be praying for you?” He considers himself Catholic, but said, “Praying is hard for me. I have to think so long about what to say.” I said loudly, “Dear God,… Hear us.” And then softly, “Now, we’re praying. Let’s just talk about what you want God to do in your life. That’s it.” He then began to tell about how much he depends on his car and that it’s broken down. He asked that he would get help to fix it himself. He then explained that he’s on the waiting list to get into Job Corps to finish high school and learn welding. He asked that it would go faster. Then he expressed anxieties about the type of people there: “I’m afraid they drink and use drugs, and the temptation might be too much for me.” So we prayed for good and clean friends there and for strength and self-control. Then he asked, “I want God to keep my father, step-mom and younger siblings safe at home.” He expressed a disconnection from them and an inability to share the truth with them. That led to an expression of guilt from leaving them and shame over the things he’s done on the streets. He’s not ready to go back, but he profoundly misses them and knows they miss him. We prayed for reconnection with his family in a safe way that didn’t necessarily mean quitting his quest for what his life it to become but rather meant connecting with their love and being able to give love. Then he prayed, “I want my mother to someday learn what being a mother should be.” We prayed for reconciliation and healing of wounds from this relationship. 

Eventually his clothes were clean and dried and it was time for me to go home. 

As I drove away, I thought, “Pretty good washing!” and prayed, “Thank you, Lord, for being washed clean, for the privilege of helping other to wash, and for the opportunity to serve.”

Join us and be a part of our ministry. Click here for more information.

“To know, love and serve street dependent youth.”
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Become a fan on Facebook!
Mobile? No problem: m.StreetYouthMinistry.org.
I’m a notary for benefit of clients and supporters. Ph: (512) 553-3796
Volunteer or donate (tax deductible) online
Arrange a meeting with me: tungle.me/terrycole

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March 26, 2012

Wash Day


Most of us take clean clothes for granted.

As part of our ministry, we do laundry for clients. On a cold night recently, we served 29 people with food, snacks, new-to-them-clothing [needs.streetyouthministry.org], many of whom did laundry. We actually ran out of laundry money and were saying no to a couple folks. And then one of the participants remembered a $20 bill that had been passed to them earlier in the day as a gift. They donated it so we could do the last few loads. We cleaned up well (we’re welcome guests at the laundromat and want to keep it that way) and were leaving.

A client came in after ever with a small handful of clothing, proclaiming “I’m too late.” I decided to do his laundry, too. As we waited, I asked if he needed anything, pointing to the truck with donated clothing in the bed. He looked straight down at the ground and said, “Ummmm… no.” All his face muscles went slack, too. So I asked again and said, “You’re really welcome to anything we have that would help.” He still said, “No.” I told him what I noticed about his body language. He admitted, “It’s hard for me to accept things. I don’t need as much as maybe other people out here.”

We went inside from the cold, and I asked over the sound of the washing machines, “How can I be praying for you?” He considers himself Catholic, but said, “Praying is hard for me. I have to think so long about what to say.” I said loudly, “Dear God,… Hear us.” And then softly, “Now, we’re praying. Let’s just talk about what you want God to do in your life. That’s it.” He then began to tell about how much he depends on his car and that it’s broken down. He asked that he would get help to fix it himself. He then explained that he’s on the waiting list to get into Job Corps to finish high school and learn welding. He asked that it would go faster. Then he expressed anxieties about the type of people there: “I’m afraid they drink and use drugs, and the temptation might be too much for me.” So we prayed for good and clean friends there and for strength and self-control. Then he asked, “I want God to keep my father, step-mom and younger siblings safe at home.” He expressed a disconnection from them and an inability to share the truth with them. That led to an expression of guilt from leaving them and shame over the things he’s done on the streets. He’s not ready to go back, but he profoundly misses them and knows they miss him. We prayed for reconnection with his family in a safe way that didn’t necessarily mean quitting his quest for what his life it to become but rather meant connecting with their love and being able to give love. Then he prayed, “I want my mother to someday learn what being a mother should be.” We prayed for reconciliation and healing of wounds from this relationship. 

Eventually his clothes were clean and dried and it was time for me to go home. 

As I drove away, I thought, “Pretty good washing!” and prayed, “Thank you, Lord, for being washed clean, for the privilege of helping other to wash, and for the opportunity to serve.”

Join us and be a part of our ministry. Click here for more information.

“To know, love and serve street dependent youth.”
Who We Serve   What We Do   Get Involved  Support Us   News  Publications  Ministry Needs   Speaking   Service Projects   Sign-up


Become a fan on Facebook!
Mobile? No problem: m.StreetYouthMinistry.org.
I’m a notary for benefit of clients and supporters. Ph: (512) 553-3796
Volunteer or donate (tax deductible) online
Arrange a meeting with me: tungle.me/terrycole

Follow SYM: Facebook LinkedIn Blog RSS Twitter Plaxo Etsy Etsy Blogger Google Buzz Tungle.me YouTube Google Plus

 

 

 

 

March 23, 2012

A Loving Church Response


SYM is not a church.

 

We work with young people, many of whom have literally shut the door on church and even figuratively nailed the door shut!  Almost all have had church experiences; few are “unchurched.”  Many have vowed never to set food in a church again. But we manage in our own special ways to open that door–slowly at first.  When someone is ready to do deeper into Christian faith, we invite them into relationship with partner churches for discipleship, worship, small groups, and fellowship. We try to make sure everything goes well and smoothly. We work with both sides to set and manage expectations and boundaries. We arrange for people to meet and greet our clients and to give them a personal welcome. It takes courage and commitment on both sides.

 

Our clients are usually very receptive. Occasionally things don’t get well. Hear me–nothing dangerous happens, but one or the other party is uncomfortable. This recently happened at one of the churches we work with. The client exhibited a certain behavior and the church became very uncomfortable. However, that church reached out with love. The client is now invited to personal 1:1 counseling with the pastor. And the client is not shunned, even though he is unable to attend the events unaccompanied. I know that God is building an even deeper relationship and stronger bridge that I ever imagined.

 

Do you have an example of how God has worked in your life?  Support our work to assist these young people in finding God.

 

“To know, love and serve street dependent youth.”
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Become a fan on Facebook!
Mobile? No problem: m.StreetYouthMinistry.org.
I’m a notary for benefit of clients and supporters. Ph: (512) 553-3796
Volunteer or donate (tax deductible) online
Arrange a meeting with me: tungle.me/terrycole

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March 19, 2012

The Meaning of Family


Help us bring street youth into God’s family.

 

I was interviewing a street youth that I had spent some time with. He appeared on the Drag a few weeks ago; I’ve seen him fairly regularly. Because I wanted to speak with him privately, I asked him to help me carry some things to my truck.

 

When I asked him if he had family, he said, “No, I have no one.” So I asked a few more questions and I discovered that he did have a mother and a father (living in the area). So when I asked again, he said emphatically, “Family is someone who loves you and cares about you. I don’t have a family.” 

 

Street youth often feel a complete loss of family. All teens go through a process marked by distancing themselves from their family.  This stance results in an extreme feeling of detachment. It contributes to their daily sense of disorganization, disorientation and maladjustment to societal norms.

 

At Street Youth Ministry, we yearn to bring them into God’s family and even into church family. Helping street youth find stability, achieve functional sobriety, make their connection with God, and connect with the Christian community.   

 

We can’t do it alone. We’re praying daily for partnerships with local churches that God is crafting for this work. It’s going to be awesome!

 

Think about your famiy.  Would you be interested in helping SYM? Check our the volunteer opportunities for both individuals and church groups.

 

“To know, love and serve street dependent youth.”
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Become a fan on Facebook!
Mobile? No problem: m.StreetYouthMinistry.org.
I’m a notary for benefit of clients and supporters. Ph: (512) 553-3796
Volunteer or donate (tax deductible) online
Arrange a meeting with me: tungle.me/terrycole

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March 16, 2012

The Parables of the Sower and the Growing Seed


We recently studied two parables found in the first half of Mark 4. The first parable about the sower and four types of soil is very famous. The second is connected but much less popular: the parable of the growing seed. After studying these stories for a couple weeks, I asked the street youth to explain to me some examples of things from the street that relate to these parables. The youth I’m talking to? Almost all under 24, living and sleeping on the street or in tents in greenbelts, many abusing drugs and alcohol, and most having grown up churched at one point. Take a look at these powerful words I copied from the white board after class:

 What makes a hard path for me when it comes to letting faith take hold in my life?

  • Feeling stuck
  • Trying and failing every time
  • Drug addiction
  • Legal barriers (ID, tickets, warrants, felonies)

 What makes shallow ground for me so that my faith withers?

  • Drugs
  • Pushy Christians
  • People (including myself) who believe “Once homeless–always worthless”
  • Love of money

 What makes a briar patch for me so that my faith cannot be shared with others?

  • Ridicule
  • Peer pressure
  • Stereotypes
  • Being judged

What does the parable of the sower tell us about how to be “good ground” where faith grows and is shared?

  • Find the right light to grow.
  • Do our part.
  • Let God do His part.
  • Don’t resist. If something makes you feel wrong, do something about it.
  • Be present and respond to growing pains.

Do you see your some of your own responses in the list above?

“To know, love and serve street dependent youth.”
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Become a fan on Facebook!
Mobile? No problem: m.StreetYouthMinistry.org.
I’m a notary for benefit of clients and supporters. Ph: (512) 553-3796
Volunteer or donate (tax deductible) online
Arrange a meeting with me: tungle.me/terrycole

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March 13, 2012

Sam’s Boots


Needs and prayers answered.

I have known Sam a long time. He’s well known on the Drag. When we met three or four years ago, I would rarely see Sam sober. Although detox was very painful, Sam did it. “If it wasn’t for Terry, I would probably have been dead a long time ago,” he shared in a recent interview. Sam is working now in exchange for a roof over his head and three “squares” a day. It’s a great arrangement. It leaves him with very little free time (probably a good thing). I don’t get to see him much, but that means he’s not hanging out on the Drag — definitely a good thing.

Sam’s girlfriend messaged me on Facebook about possibly getting a pair of steel-toed work boots for Sam. I wrote it into our prayer book and told her I would try. I thought I had some so I went to our storage place. I looked through 8 boxes of shoes–we don’t horde or waste anything, but it takes time to find the right owners for some of our donations. I didn’t find any size 11 boots. I broadcast the need on FaceBook. Nothing.

A couple more weeks passed.  Sam and his girlfriend told me that they still needed the boots. I still didn’t have them. A week later, I went to the storage unit (which is locked) to pick up supplies for Friday outreach. I gathered up what I needed. But as I turned I noticed a pair of work boots sitting on top of the boxes. Sure enough… size 11 and steel-toed and Doc Martens. 

I don’t know how the boots got there, but I was able to deliver them to Sam and his girlfriend this past Monday at our prayer time. I told everyone the story of how I found them. Few had any doubts that it was the result of an answered prayer.

Share your stories of answered prayers.

“To know, love and serve street dependent youth.”
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Become a fan on Facebook!
Mobile? No problem: m.StreetYouthMinistry.org.
I’m a notary for benefit of clients and supporters. Ph: (512) 553-3796
Volunteer or donate (tax deductible) online
Arrange a meeting with me: tungle.me/terrycole

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March 10, 2012

Street Youth Egg Casserole


The street youth love this egg casserole. I keep getting requests for the recipe, so here goes!

 

Prep time: 10 minutes 

Total time: 30 minutes 

 

About 8 to 10 slices of old bread (toast if fresh)

10 eggs

1 cup cheese

1 cup milk (possibly 1/2 cups more)

1 1/2 cups of frozen prepared tater tots

 

Optional: 1.5 cups of any combination of browned sausage, chopped wieners, and/or sautéed onions or peppers

 

 

Grease a 6 X 10 (or 8 X 8) baking dish. Place two layers of old bread (about 8 slices) on the bottom. (6 hot dog buns work, too). Crack 10 eggs in a bowl. Add a cup of grated cheese and a cup of milk. Crunchy (dry) bread works fine. Add 1/2 cup additional milk. Mix together to break up all the eggs. 

 

If you desire, prepare 1 cup of any combination of flavoring such as browned sausage, cut up wieners, sautéed onions, sautéed peppers. Sprinkle this directly on the bread.

 

Preheat the oven to 325.

 

Pour the egg mixture onto the bread. Press the bread into the liquid. Let it sit 5 minutes to soak up the egg mixture. It will look a bit like french toast before you cook it.

 

Take about 1 1/2 cups of tater tots. Line them checkerboard style across the top in rows. It makes it pretty.

 

Bake for 30 minutes. It will be puffed up and firm. Serve with salsa or ketch.

 

Can you help with our Monday breakfasts?  Check our Care Calender for more information.

 

“To know, love and serve street dependent youth.”
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I’m a notary for benefit of clients and supporters. Ph: (512) 553-3796
Volunteer or donate (tax deductible) online
Arrange a meeting with me: tungle.me/terrycole

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March 7, 2012

A Volunteer’s Experience


Street Youth take it one day at a time.

 

I have been volunteering with SYM for about a year and a half now, but last Friday was especially important as it took me to yet a deeper understanding of what life is like living on the street . In one square block I witnessed a dependent youth’s backpack being stolen (by someone, I would venture to guess, that was not street dependent).  Everything he owned was probably in that pack. I witnessed ambulances and police responding to a street fight involving two of our clients.

 

I participated in a youth leadership project which involved dancing in the “market” on the Drag. In the end, this leadership group danced with SYM volunteers AND street dependent youth. One street youth said “I usually don’t get involved in this type of stuff, but it is important to these kids so I will do it. This is what right now.” WOW. I realized that life on the street is a battle everyday and yet these street dependent youth still give of themselves to those that may not understand them. It is these times , good and bad, that I experience God. Bless these kids and their struggle to make it through just one day at a time.

Would you like to join our volunteers?  Volunteer opportunities at SYM

 

“To know, love and serve street dependent youth.”
Who We Serve   What We Do   Get Involved  Support Us   News  Publications  Ministry Needs   Speaking   Service Projects   Sign-up


Become a fan on Facebook!
Mobile? No problem: m.StreetYouthMinistry.org.
I’m a notary for benefit of clients and supporters. Ph: (512) 553-3796
Volunteer or donate (tax deductible) online
Arrange a meeting with me: tungle.me/terrycole

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March 1, 2012

Street Youth Smarts


Street youth helped solve problems with some of the clothing store rules.

In a recent Thursday clothing and self-care event, our volunteers felt the rules weren’t working. We had a town hall meeting about why we limit clothing choice to two tops and one bottom, and how difficult it’s been for our volunteers to assure fairness. The youth had some solutions of their own:

 

  • Street youth receiving clothing on Thursdays shouldn’t ask for additional clothing at other times in the week from the Fig Leaf clothing store.
  • Street youth should bring clothing (often discarded because it’s dirty) to the church where a volunteer washes and returns it to Fig Leaf for someone else to use.
  • Street youth should be willing to ask businesses and organizations to donate clothing to Fig Leaf. SYM will provide flyers for this purpose.
  • Street youth should limit themselves to the same amount of clothing per week as other “shoppers” at Fig Leaf. It’s the honor system, and dishonorable behavior means you can’t come for a while.
  • Street youth should go into the shop only once per Thursday for their selections. If they need to come back, they should ask the store volunteer if it’s okay. This will make it much easier on volunteers to ensure fair access.

 

No changes or procedures too big that might make someone feel unwelcome or be perceived as a barrier. The street youth just want everyone to help keep the volunteers happy, the clothing store open, and the access barriers low. I was so proud of the way they discussed and proposed solutions for themselves! It was awesome. And I commend the volunteers for bringing the problem to our attention!

 

“To know, love and serve street dependent youth.”
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Become a fan on Facebook!
Mobile? No problem: m.StreetYouthMinistry.org.
I’m a notary for benefit of clients and supporters. Ph: (512) 553-3796
Volunteer or donate (tax deductible) online
Arrange a meeting with me: tungle.me/terrycole

Follow SYM: Facebook LinkedIn Blog RSS Twitter Plaxo Etsy Etsy Blogger Google Buzz Tungle.me YouTube Google Plus