Archive for February, 2013

February 26, 2013

Mercy Flowing from SYM Volunteers


Street Youth Ministry (SYM) needs more help. We build up our volunteer teams by asking people to learn about us, to pray for us, and to get involved. This starts by going to sign up and joining our newsletters.

 

Once a quarter we send out a story of ministry. In a year or two, you will see all aspects of our ministry–faith issues and renewal, drug counseling, education, emotional healing, simple compassion and more. 

 

Once a month we send out a prayer letter. We ask that our prayer team choose one item to focus on that month in prayer for us. This letter gives you a great overview of the issues our clients face: poverty, insobriety, anger at God, and distrust of Christian churches. In addition, once a month, we email a prayer request that come from a clients that same day. It’s been nothing short of miraculous how God responds when our clients and our prayer team members pray together for God’s help.

 

Finally, we ask volunteers to prepare food and come sit with us for our weekly events. We always need sandwiches, breakfast casseroles and breakfast tacos for our freezer. Instructions for how to make them can be found in our new volunteer notebook at SYM Volunteers. Does it really matter? Here’s a story to inspire and challenge:

 

Corey’s mom called us Thursday morning. We had confirmed that her son, our client for more than a year, had died the previous Sunday in New Orleans. We had supplied him with prayer, sandwiches, and dog supplies when he passed through Austin, including ministering to him just a few weeks ago. Corey was a very smart and sweet kid. We never really knew why he was on the street, but we did encourage him to expect more for himself and to stay safe. He readily accepted sandwiches from us, lovingly made by volunteer’s. We gave his dog, Gonzo–his best friend in life–dog food and even a saddlebag backpack for him to carry his own supplies while they walked, hitch-hiked and “hopped trains” together. And we offered Corey brief drug counseling on the street as well as took his prayer requests for friends, family and self.

 

We still lost Corey to a drug overdose in New Orleans, part of the revelry of Mardis Gras. But through the ministry that our volunteers support we were able to know, love and serve Corey. And when the time came, we were able to reach out to his mother, brother and sister. We could share that Corey was sweet and not overtaken by drug addiction. We could share that his morals were intact, and he didn’t habitually lie, cheat or steal. We could share that he was still charming and intelligent.

 

Praise God, we don’t always lose clients! We have many who are no longer on the street, working at jobs, living indoors, going to college, and even being great parents. Our volunteers matter in helping to support all these great things that our clients accomplish for themselves. But our volunteers also help make possible the simple mercy of knowing a mother’s son and of being able to comfort his family at a terrible time.

 

“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

 

 

 

February 20, 2013

Unexpected Mercies


We keep records as a ministry. It’s been a growing burden as we serve more clients more frequently and more volunteers help out. We are dedicated to being a “Class A” organization and I think that means we keep count, records, and monitor ourselves closely. Every month we know our finances, our reach to supporters, prayer team members, newsletter readers and followers. And we know how many and what types of contacts we had with clients. We don’t serialize or violate our clients privacy with our records. We simply record them in a prayer book. If they share a name or a birthday, we record that. If they tell us how we can be praying for them, we write that down. We share the requests with our prayer team later the same day.

 

Recently, a client passed away. The client has mentioned his real name in a conversation with us… something that shows that he trusted us. And we had written down the name of his dog. These things allowed us to search the Internet for his obituary after we got wind that he might have passed away through the grapevine of clients. We searched diligently and daily, hoping and praying that we would not find confirmation, but we did, three days after his death.

 

From there we were able to find the funeral home. We placed a carefully worded sympathy note for the parents and family on-line. We don’t know what they know or don’t. Sometimes grieving parents want nothing to do with their child’s street life. We express sympathy, mention that we served their child, give a way to contact us, and wait. Frequently they call.

 

In this case, the mom called the very next morning. She wanted to know more about her son’s recent travels. She didn’t understand her son’s decision to start traveling after three years of college but she knew. She didn’t like his drinking and more recent experimentation with drugs, but she knew. She knew what drug addiction can do to people, so she simply wanted to know what her son was really like on the street.

 

We were so delighted to tell her that her son was sweet, respectful and kind. Addicts can lose everything as the drug takes over, but her son wasn’t like that. He was the only kid to thank a donor at the Christmas party. He didn’t steal. He didn’t lie. His charm and intelligence was evident in his interactions with people.

 

Prayer_books_copy

The names of our clients fill 13 little books so far. But worn little books allowed us to share with this mother a little picture of the the son she lost. It comforted her. And it will help comfort his younger brother and sister and entire family. We found the day we met her son. We found the day we last met him in the pages. We found a time we were able to give his dog a saddlebag pack. We found a record of how he interacted with us over more than 15 months whenever he was in Austin.

 

We will miss this client. We grieve alongside the family. And we are grateful to be in ministry to all street-dependent young people who pass through Austin. And we will continue keeping records and praying with our clients. Unexpected mercies flow from the pages of our little prayer books that we would never have expected. They are worth it. Our clients are worth it. God is entirely worthy of it all.

 

Support our work.

 

“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