Archive for August, 2012

August 24, 2012

Loving the Difficult


Johnny was there when I arrived… one of my more difficult clients. I had asked him to leave an indoor event just two days before because he has not given is his personal best. In fact he had threatened property and disrespected our need for safety. He had been too mad to talk with me just yesterday. I braced for the worst. 

 

I was meeting volunteers to give them training before we went on a street “Mini Mission Trip” to hand out sandwiches, goodies, and find out about prayer needs. Johnny was right there. He seemed to be trying to show off for the young women who were volunteering that day. His language was rough. He actions safe but unpredictable. I asked him to move back a bit but respected him. It was an outdoor event and he had as much right to be there as we did. I followed up with him and asked if he was over being mad at me. He said that he was but continued being abrasive.

 

Johnny followed us along as we served people. He even carried a bag or two of dog food, toiletries, and clothing that we were passing out. As we walked, he began to tell me about his day. He had gotten four separate tickets from the police. He was so angry and upset. I haven’t ever seen him show remorse or dismay for getting a ticket. He was afraid of going to jail. He said, “Do you think I like being angry? I don’t! But if they keep treating me this way, I’m going to get angry. I’m going to get drunk. I’m going to get high. I hate feeling this way.” I listened and he talked–sometimes screamed–it out.

 

Finally, we stopped to serve an older woman who sells flowers on our “beat.” She always chats with our volunteers. I asked Johnny what he knew about Jesus. He began to explain his relationship with Jesus. He understood the Gospel. He gave voice to a struggle within himself to be authentic in his response to Christ. He has encountered “fake” Christians and doesn’t want to be like them. He doesn’t believe he can do all the right things in life. He confessed to being a big screw-up. I stopped him and explained that he was no different than anyone else in this regard. We are all unable to be as perfect as we’d like to be. But he is no screw-up. He’s a lovely child of God.

 

Johnny spent the rest of our time together close to me. He hugged me. He was a totally different person. We saw three faces of him: the abrasive boy almost taunting the world to stay away from him, the angry man so conflicted over right and wrong, and the self-aware child fearful of his Father’s judgement and desiring his Father’s love.

 

We often have difficult clients. We are called to love them. And it’s a real blessing.  Join us-volunteer.

 

 

 

“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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August 21, 2012

College Textbooks


I’ve been privileged to deliver college textbooks lately as this semester begins. We have

five clients in school right now, i.e., used to live on the streets and now attending college!  We don’t claim their success, but they are changing their lives for sure and we are delighted to encourage and invest in them.

 

I delivered a Calculus textbook this evening. The student was giddy just to get it. It was a $300 book, more than his rent. It was brand new and shrink-wrapped. He smiled and and was just about to pop: “I’ve never had a new textbook before.” He’s so looking forward to the challenge of a three semester Calculus course! He shared that he’s been reading “Calculus for Dummies” to get ready! His three semester course is actually the same course series and using an updated version of the same book that I studied from 25 years ago when I got my engineering degree! I explained that the book was his, no strings attached. We expect him to work hard, take the class and then use the book for his best benefit. We believe it’s good for him to sell the books smartly and use the funds to buy additional textbooks for the following semester. We’ll help more but hope all our students will be able to do more and more for themselves over time.

 

SYM is in the business of our seeing lives transformed. Our mission is to know, love and serve them. We pray for their stability, sobriety, connection to God, and connection to Christian community. It’s so much fun to see what happens as they blossom.

 

If you want to help out, our book fund is now at zero again. We could use donations to replenish it!  What a difference an education will make in their confidence, their stability and their own ability to shape the world around them! Donate.

 

“To know, love and serve street dependent youth.”
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Become a fan on Facebook!
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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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August 16, 2012

July Story–What amazing work God can do


During our weekly Bible study, a young man came in late. I was glad to see “Dillon,” but I didn’t have high hopes for his involvement since he looked like he had been using heroin. He got a sandwich and some snacks provided by one of our volunteers and settled in without disrupting the lesson. So far so good!

 

Dillon is about 20, and he’s been through the wringer. After a parent died, he lived with siblings as long as he could but ended up in CPS where he had a very troubled experience. Dillon turned to drugs and alcohol. He’s been in a couple of very serious relationships with women, but they have been destroyed by drugs. He tried to go to college twice, but drugs got in the way. He’s been in and out of jail.

 

While teaching through Luke 12 that day– actually in the midst of a very hard parable about what happens to misbehaving servants if they aren’t ready when the master come back–Dillon said loudly, “I love you, Terry!” Everyone froze, waiting to see what I would do. I thought and responded, “I love you, too, Dillon!” The room remained completely still. I added, “Do you want a hug?” People snickered. Dillon got up and came across the room and gave me a big bear hug. Then he sat down, and we finished the lesson together. He even shared some great insight on the value of coming clean with our sins now and not waiting for the time of final judgment. Amazing what can happen when we challenge street youth to do better. But the story doesn’t end there.

 

In a few days, Dillon came to me and shared that he wants to go to college again. I advised, “I believe in you. I really do. I know you can do this, but you are not able to continue using heroin and go to college. What can I do to help you?” He answered, “Motivate me. Kick me in the pants. That’s what I need.” I suggested that we pray together. Dillon had let me and our interns pray for him before, but this time I asked him to lead the prayer. And for the first time, he did. It was a very honest prayer of confession and requests. He began to do better in the coming days.

 

Dillon again came for advice. “What am I supposed to do? I’m afraid.” He began pouring out all the things that worried him. Volunteers on outreach and our interns encouraged him that he could overcome these things and that they were important. Again we prayed. Afterward, Dillon just sat on the curb and cried. He couldn’t seem to make up his mind about which life he wanted.

 

Each time we met Dillon for the next few weeks, we asked how he was doing. It was a mixed bag, sometimes staying away from heroin and sometimes not. We continued to remind him about the life he wants for himself: free from drugs, college educated, his own business, and his own house.

 

Yesterday, Dillon told me that he’s decided to go to a Christian rehab. It means leaving his girlfriend behind. It means no drug use. It means no drinking. It means daily immersion in hard work and prayer and worship. But he’s excited.

 

The best thing he told me is that he wants new socks and underwear before he goes. Volunteers will provide them along with much prayer. Dillon has rising expectations in his life. How many hands, I wonder, have helped get Dillon to where he is now? How many more hands will be needed to see him through to recovery? Praise God for all those hands providing food, books, Bibles, clothing, help, prayer and more. What amazing work God can do when we work together to help his wounded children to expect more of their lives– to no longer be deceived that they are throw-away youth.

 

Join us in our work: SYM

“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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August 13, 2012

A Praying Community


Together we make a huge difference each day in the lives of Austin’s street-dependent youth. Prayer serves as one of the primary vehicles to do so. From May through July, clients have shared 368 prayer requests–some large and some small. We’ve shared everyone one of them with prayer team members. (We need more prayer team members… sign-up.)

 

Prayer is now a constant in many of the youth’s lives. Recently, an outside observer brought this home to me. She noticed that our clients pray together whenever things happen. Death, violence, overdoses, worries, and fears are lifted up daily. In the midst of crisis, they are huddled together on their knees praying. Additionally, last night a youth said, “I need emergency prayer. I’ve got a job interview tomorrow that I really want.” This same client once sat with me screaming at God for her situation. Yesterday, another client asked for prayers for others, a way to make legitimate money and sobriety on his birthday. I won’t go into details, but his prayer is a miracle! My friend is right: God is working in this community, through prayer.

 

One final story about prayer. A recent Monday night a violent altercation occurred between two clients on the street. One was taken to jail. The other was hospitalized. We blanketed the area in prayer as soon as we heard, enlisting a dozen or more on Facebook to help as well as our Monday outreach team from ONE Chapel. The day after the incident, I returned to the location. I encountered the client–already released (significant wounds but doing well so far)! He was playing Yahtzee with seven other clients in the very location of the bloodshed only the day before. Amazing what an abundance of prayers can do!

 

Your prayers of support are such a privilege and honor to receive!


“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

 

 

August 10, 2012

Praying with a Few


It was Memorial Day. Most services for the homeless would be closed. I decided to keep our normal prayer time. We didn’t have a food provider, so I headed to Randall’s and purchased some 1/2 off meat that somehow didn’t get bought already. I didn’t know if there would be a lot of people or a few, so I made 50 sliders using my broiler. It was messy but once I got going, it went pretty fast. I loaded up and headed to the Campus House of Prayer, one of our several facilities partners who allow us to hold events on their properties!

Wouldn’t you know it, when I got there, nobody was out. Apparently they thought nothing would be available either. However, I settled into the routine. I made a half pot of coffee and set out the food. I put on a series of worship songs that someone maintains on the computer for me. This particular series seems always to have the right lyrics at the right time in our prayer concert. And then I waited. Would I be alone today? I have NEVER been alone in ministry! We’ve held events for more than three years now, and the fewest we’ve ever had is two people. God has always sent people to be with us. I waited to see what would happen today.

Soon a girl came into the room. She carried her belongings in a milk crate because her backpack had broken. She had never come to one of our events. And then a second client came in, a quiet young man. No one else came through the door, so I figured it was time to start.

We blessed the burgers and dug in. And then we began our prayer concert, talking first about what prayer is. The young man is religious but the girl was quite adamant about not being so. So we just shared brief answers about what prayer is to us… no right or wrong answers. Then we started talking about who God is to us. There wouldn’t be agreement in the room, so I just encouraged answers that were meaningful to them. Then we talked about what is going on in our lives. The young man was leaving town that very day. He plans to go to Wisconsin and work on a farm. From what I know of him, that will suit him very well. The girl was frustrated with not being able to get in touch with friends–the reason she came to Austin in the first place. And she needed a backpack. Then we prayed for what we wanted God to do in each of our lives. Safe travel. Find a good farm job. Get in touch today with the friend. Less harassment on the drag. More peace in the Austin and the world. An end to unnecessary suffering by the poor in the US and around the world.

We ended our time just talking. I have ministered to the young man for a year or more. This was a wonderful way to say good-bye for now to him. And the young girl had been in town a couple of weeks and never came to our events. But the sliders attracted her. We got her a donated backpack, too, a few days later. She has her own ideas about Christianity, based on her poor experiences with the church, but now she’s coming to our events regularly. It’s our prayer that she comes to know the head of the church–Jesus himself–no matter what her experiences have been with church members in the past.

“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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August 6, 2012

Sacrificial Giving


This wonderful feedback was given to us by a regular donor. We so appreciate hearing how and why our donors give and what it means to them. This particular donor used to volunteer locally but moved away to a more northern climate. Now that it’s so hot in Austin, I thought people might like to hear her story of how she’s involved from “up north” where things are cooler.

 

“I really enjoy reading your newsletters and hearing the stories of the people you are helping, I think it is wonderful how much the ministry has grown in the past two years!

 

All of my donations came from proceeds from selling at our farmer’s market last year. I sold homemade bread and peas that I grew in my garden. Actually I make some of my own cheese now, too, which I thought was funny remembering the comment someone made about my homemade sandwiches. We have dairy goats and chickens and dogs that pull sleds for us in the winter. I still don’t have a job, and, of all the things I imagined myself doing when I “grew up”, this wasn’t it; however it was something I’d always dreamed of as a child. I hope you have the opportunity to pass that message on to the people you work with – to not give up on their dreams, the dreams that God plants in their hearts.”

 

Share your story of giving below.  

 

“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

 

 

August 3, 2012

How Our Clients React to Volunteers


Street Youth Ministry spends a lot of time and energy working with volunteers. Sometimes we wonder if an employee would be easier, but when we listen to how volunteer impact our clients, we are always convinced it matters.  

 

We recently started our summertime fellowship event called Cookin’ It Up. Sponsors plan a meal, bring groceries, and help lead our clients in making the meal. No one eats unless they participate and it’s really fun. During the 1.5 hour event, clients take turns prepping, cooking, and washing. While they aren’t doing that, they play guitars, play games, and just hang out. The reaction is wonderful. 

 

We have heard various versions of this comment from clients. “It really makes me feel good to see volunteers coming down here and doing this with us. Brave Christians willing to stand in the gap between homelessness and the church gives me confidence. It inspires me. It’s what makes a difference in my day.” Another client stated afterwards, “This activity really filled me up. It satisfied me. And I don’t mean food. I mean in my heart. I haven’t felt this way in a long time. Drugs and alcohol don’t do this, but connecting with people does.” 

 

So we will keep fostering, grooming, and encouraging volunteers. We know the needs of our clients as well as anyone. It is our calling to share this understanding and to call to the church to come minister to these street-dependent young people. No matter what your shape or passion, I bet we can find a way to allow you to be a blessing to our clients and to be blessed in the process. 

 

If you want to sponsor one of our upcoming Cookin’ It Up events, we would love to hear from you. We have openings in August. Please reply for more information. Our first sponsors were a family of four, including teenage children. It worked out great for them. The clients made breakfast one week. The next week they made pulled pork as part of a Fourth of July party. You can keep it simple. Just pick something you love to make! 

 

Other volunteer opportunities can be found on our website.

 

“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