Archive for May, 2013

May 29, 2013

Big Things in Clients Lives


I get a lot of messages by text, email and Facebook from clients no longer on the Drag. Some are simply traveling but quite a few are no longer on the street.
I had a wonderful conversation with one young man who’s living in a smaller Central Texas town. He has a job. He has a girlfriend and a place to stay. He is in a band and pursuing his music. He is clean from heroin for more than a year. He no longer drinks in excess. What a great big accomplishment for him!
We got another report within days of a young man living in quite a remote part of Texas now. He’s going to school. He’s taking meds and getting counseling for an emotional issue that has long plagued him. He goes to church and regularly reads the Bible. He called me to apologize for not listening more while under our care in Austin. What a great thing to be able to do! 
We love hearing from clients doing well! Keep it up, folks! You’re in inspiration to us and to those clients still working to get there.

“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
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May 20, 2013

New Beginnings


The first time I saw him, I was afraid. He had wild hair, talked to himself in an animated way, and didn’t make eye contact. It took me repeated times to work up the courage to speak with him. But it was the beginning of something surprising.
Nick had come from Dallas and was living on the streets. He didn’t have any ID because he had left it at his previous place of residence. He kept his money in his shoes. We served him a street lunch every Friday for weeks. Unfortunately, Nick began to change. He got wilder and began using drugs. His hair grew into artful dreads, with a few ornaments inserted. On several occasions, we found him passed out or overdosed, and he went to jail many times as well.
But recently I found myself sitting in prayer time, and Nick was the only participant. I figured God had cleared our everyone else for a reason, so I kept asking questions. Soon, Nick was telling me his whole story. It started out typical for a large segment of my clients: he lived at home with his mom. After puberty, his mind began to betray him. He suffered from delusions and visions. As a 17 year old, he felt that the medications he took almost destroyed his personality, and so he stopped taking them. He learned that heroin somehow helped his mind become calmer. To mediate the heroin, he began to use cocaine. These things led to his leaving home, living with a girlfriend, various drug addictions, criminal offenses, and eventually going to prison.
In prison, Nick joined a brotherhood and learned Islam. As a young man, mostly without medication, and mostly without drugs, he survived seven years in prison. Upon his release, he lived in a halfway house in Dallas. Without help with his transition, Nick found that he couldn’t live by the rules and left one night. That’s when I met Nick in the streets of Austin.
During prayer time, Nick expressed a desire to get his life together. After hearing his whole story, I realized this would be a completely new life for him. And so, we made a plan. First step was to review his taking his medication again. Nick–typical of many of my clients as they reach brain maturity at 25–was willing to reconsider medication. He knew how to get them from MHMR. The next step was getting his disability benefits started. We agreed that, for now, Nick was in no shape to work because of his mental challenges and lack of soft skills. We hoped that eventually he will go back to work, but for now, God might provide for him through disability benefits. Nick wants a place to live, where he can do his art and music. And so again, we developed a plan. I left Nick to take the first steps, and I got his permission to follow-up regularly to see if he’s doing it.
After that, I asked Nick about his Muslim beliefs. It turns out that Nick believes in Jesus today. I explained the Gospel and asked if he understood it; he did. Then, we prayed that God would reveal himself more fully and that Nick would begin trying to live a new and grateful life as a Christian.
Since our conversation, I have seen Nick many times. He has obtained medication. He has applied for disability. He is exercising great restrain to stay away from damaging drugs and activities. And he is trying to walk closer with Jesus. According to Nick, it’s difficult. He told me the other day, “I need to take a vacation. This is hard.” And I understood him. Rebirth is not easy. Renewal is not usually immediate or occurs overnight. It requires patience, strength, endurance, and strong faith. I don’t know what the future holds for Nick, but I am so privileged to walk alongside him.
It’s a time for rebirth and renewal. I pray you see it in nature. I pray you see it in your faith, community, and even in your family. Furthermore, I pray you sense renewal in your personal life.
It’s a privilege for me to be your representative in this work! And, together on a daily basis, we can encourage people who are often ignored, invisible, and unwelcomed. Thank you for your support.

“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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May 15, 2013

It’s a Small World


I got a call from Alaska, today. It was a person wanting our shipping address. I gave it and then asked why. He explained that he wants to collect shoes and ship a couple of totes of shoes for our clients before winter comes. (Not sure when that its, but it’s probably sooner than winter in Texas.) When I asked how we had come to his attention, he indicated that he had found our photos on Facebook interesting. When I asked why he connected, he indicated that he had spent half his life on the street. Ah!
So far as I know, this person was never a client, although it turns out we each know some clients in common. This person is now married and doing well. I asked what turned him around. He said it was a tough judge. I asked if faith was a resource for him, and he indicated that he’s not religious or Christian. However, he finds strength and discipline by practicing martial arts. And his devotion to helping others comes from an oath he has taken as part of his martial arts training.
It’s a small world and very awesome to have fans all over the country, including Alaska!


“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

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May 10, 2013

An Uplift from an Unexpected Source


I was having a challenging day. There is a resurgence of drug use (tweaking) in a group of our clients. There is a certain amount of complacency in an even larger group of our clients. In fact, today, I was having a hard time finding any of our street-bound clients who were ready to work on getting anywhere.
Now… ministry is not about me feeling good about what we do. And we do celebrate tons of clients who have gotten up off the street and gone places with their lives. What’s going on right now is that we have a lot of people who aren’t ready to make change. Maybe it’s Spring fever! But it was a hard day to get through. Clients came for food and left. “What’s in it for me NOW” sort of ruled the day. Clients said “hi”, but otherwise avoided conversations about change. They were more interested this day in partying than planning. 
I came across a client I haven’t seen in a while. He was viewed by man as “hopeless.” He was certainly hard to manage back in the day! He was a big drug user, practiced sex as a means of entertainment, and was quite violent. His mental health challenges were huge, as well. 
Today, he was sitting on the ground waiting. I asked him how things were. “I’ve been sober for months. I’ve been taking my meds and they really help. I’ve gotten my social security reinstated. I’m getting ready to move into a place and figure out how to get some kind of job.” Wow! That’s a big contrast to the rest of my day. I shared that with him and thanked him.
He had more to say. He goes to church regularly. He loves it. And he’s involved in worship, study and fellowship activities three times a week. He’s not dating anyone right now, although he admits he’s like to be. He still struggles with sex but he led a conversation with me about the virtues of wanting to be with one person and about taking the physical stuff slow. Awesome! That really made my day and I told him so. 
But he still had more! He has been helping another client. The second client is challenged with a severe but treatable mental health issue. The client was mistreated by “Christians” in the past and is very hot/cold on having a relationship with Jesus. But the first client is helping the second client, taking him to church, helping him to keep up with things and plan, and encouraging him to be open to mental health treatment. The first client talked in terms of his leadership skills and wanting to help others! Wow!
I’ll go through all the bad days ahead in exchange for seeing street-dependent clients get up and help themselves and then start to help others who struggle in ways that they can understand first hand. It’s just awesome to see! 
What a great day it is today. I better get going and find out why! Volunteer with our ministry.

“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

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May 2, 2013

New Women’s Group


Obviously, Terry is a guy. That means that our girls pretty much never get a “girls-only” group. Two volunteer recently agreed to host a women’s group on Friday afternoon at 2pm. It’s not always easy to get things started, but after a month we now have a regular group going. Each week they meet at the Wesley House at 2pm on Friday. They make a snack together (often baking) and then do a craft or watch some video. Open girl-talk is the backdrop for the entire activity. It’s designed to be a Christian witness and support to our female clients. About 25% of our clients are women.
Here is the volunteer’s thoughts on this most recent group during Holy Week:
The Women’s Group on Friday had the work of the Holy Spirit written all over it! I had a few extra minutes to go onto the Drag and ask the women who were there if they would join me in about an hour for the Women’s Group. None of them had already planned on going because they forgot about it, so the extra reminder was just what we needed! Every woman I talked to came to the event. We spent the first thirty minutes just talking and asking for prayers. It was wonderful-we actually had to interrupt so we could get the activity started. We split up and three girls helped make the delicious peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, while the other three began shaping clay. After the cookies went into the oven, the other three joined the table and the next hour and a half was spent talking openly and kindly. Every one of the women commented on the fact that they had really been needing this girl time and we even created ideas for the weeks to come. The women connected not only with the volunteers, but also with each other!- A somewhat rare occurrence. I cannot wait to see how the Holy Spirit will continue to bring healing and restoration every week. We will be open to the way God wants to take this weekly meeting. 
If you want to sponsor the activities or expenses of our girl’s group, just let us know! Donate to help with this ministry or one of our others.
“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

via Blogger http://streetyouth.blogspot.com/2013/05/new-womens-group.html