Archive for October, 2013

October 31, 2013

What Do You Want God To Do In Your Life?

From Terry: 

We began our Wednesday night fellowship dinners again, taking as many clients that want to attend to Covenant Presbyterian Church for dinner with members; followed by a small group. It’s a great success so far; after three weeks. Although we do offer the option to leave campus after dinner, so far, not even one person has asked for a ride back to the Drag at 6:30pm. Everyone has stayed for the small group afterward. 

A co-leader has been preparing a class each week on a simple parable. This particular week was on how to pray The Lord’s Prayer, and the parable of the stranger at night. 

As we closed our discussion, I prompted the group to let me know how I could be praying with them by asking, “What do you want God to do in your life?” I got few responses. So, I prompted them several more times, probably freaking out my two co-leaders. But slowly, the numbness wore off, and the clients allowed their true wants to come to the surface. “A place to live.” “Money.” “Happiness.” In the middle of these and other answers, one young man simply said, “Forgiveness.” 

We closed our session in prayer and began looking for drivers to take the clients back to the Drag. I arranged to take the young man, who said forgiveness, back alone. On the way back, he played the radio. Eventually, I turned it down and told him that I needed to follow-up. I wanted to know more about the forgiveness he wanted in his life. We talked a bit in the dark truck cab. He knows he does wrong. He knows he’s been a burden on his parents. But he wants forgiveness in these things and more.

I shared how the Gospel works, forgiveness in exchange for asking and believing. It sounds too good to be true. And it would be if anyone else in the universe were promising it. But God IS trustworthy. The client wasn’t sure yet, but we are continuing to work on it. 

Please pray that this client comes to understand the grace of Jesus Christ. Please pray for all clients that suffer from numbness. Help the desires of their heart to break through, because no matter how much sin is in their life or has touched their life, some of their desires are truly good and noble. And these desires will give rise to the desire to know the One who is holy and worthy, and the source of all goodness in the universe. 

And that will be a great day for each of them!

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October 23, 2013

First new donor who has never donated to

First new donor who has never donated to us before gets a special set of gift cards!

October 19, 2013

Cooks and Food Assembly Volunteers

SYM will accept up to 100 sandwiches or breakfast tacos monthly for our freezer; as well as leftovers from parties, events, and other food recovery to serve to the youth.

Types of food volunteers needed:

  • Food Recovery Helper
  • Prayer Time Breakfast
  • Bible Study Buffet
  • Street Outreach Food

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October 17, 2013

We Relaunched Our Bible Study

Street Youth Ministry had 19 people walk through the door at our relaunch Bible study. Clients chose the new time, which was best for them, Tuesday from 11am to 1pm. We provided a light meal and a safe place to rest and just be. And, we hosted a number of activities during the time period. 

Each week we need at least one volunteer; preferably two (unfortunately, if we don’t have at least one volunteer, we have to close the door to the event for that day). Volunteers can sign-up for the Tuesday Bible study helper role at by clicking on the words near the top “Helpers and Dog Sitters”, or by scrolling down and clicking on the large orange button with the white letters “Helpers” on the left hand side.

This Tuesday we had a baked potato buffet that Terry and the volunteers made from Saturday morning recovered food. The volunteers prepared the food, then Terry was able to cook the food (literally at the last minute). It was delicious.  To be honest, Terry can’t normally spend so much time preparing food. We really do need food volunteers every Tuesday. Without a food volunteer, we won’t be able to offer a light meal that day. Food volunteers can sign-up at by clicking “Food.”

We plan to offer a Discipleship class on Wednesdays at 2:00pm; as soon as we have sufficient volunteers. That class will be for followers of Jesus, or people who want to be followers of Jesus. But our Bible study will be open to all and will be more to encounter and discuss the Bible; no matter what your faith status. The Bible study group agreed and appreciated our approach. People who are interested in helping with Discipleship on Wednesday at 2pm may record their availability at

From Terry:

Our Bible study began with an icebreaker. Everyone shared their names and what they wanted to dress up as for Halloween. They had some awesome ideas! After the buffet was served, Terry started the faith portion of our activity.

This particular Tuesday, I wanted to begin by asking our group what they wanted to do. I explained that whatever we do was going to be safe for believers, non-believers, believers-of-other-things, and those simply unsure or searching. 

Shortly after that, a street youth pulled out his own Bible and said he loves Psalm 91 because his grandfather loves it. He began to read Psalm 91. Everyone listened. I asked what does it mean to him. He said it didn’t mean that much to him, but it meant everything to his grandfather; so it meant a lot to him too. His grandfather related to that particular Psalm mostly in terms of his Vietnam War experience.

I suggested that we rewrite the Psalm in terms they could understand and relate it to the streets. We began discussing the Psalm verse by verse, trying to understand the words as they might have appeared in a culture 4000 years ago. And then we tried to recapture the same ideas how a street youth would relate. The result:

1. God is powerful. He has your back.
2. Your faithfulness will protect you.
3. He will save you from the man and from sickness.
4. He will provide a safe alley for protection and retreat.
5. You don’t have to fear hateful people or your enemies,
6. nor MRSA and other wasting diseases.
7. Friends and family may fall, but God will protect you.

Psalm 91
1 Happy is he whose resting-place is in the secret of the Lord, and under the shade of the wings of the Most High; 2 Who says of the Lord, He is my safe place and my tower of strength: he is my God, in whom is my hope. 3 He will take you out of the bird-net, and keep you safe from wasting disease. 4 You will be covered by his feathers; under his wings you will be safe: his good faith will be your salvation. 5 You will have no fear of the evil things of the night, or of the arrow in flight by day, 6 Or of the disease which takes men in the dark, or of the destruction which makes waste when the sun is high. 7 You will see a thousand falling by your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it will not come near you. 8 Only with your eyes will you see the reward of the evil-doers. 9 Because you have said, I am in the hands of the Lord, the Most High is my safe resting-place; 10 No evil will come on you, and no disease will come near your tent. 11 For he will give you into the care of his angels to keep you wherever you go. 12 In their hands they will keep you up, so that your foot may not be crushed against a stone. 13 You will put your foot on the lion and the snake; the young lion and the great snake will be crushed under your feet. 14 Because he has given me his love, I will take him out of danger: I will put him in a place of honour, because he has kept my name in his heart. 15 When his cry comes up to me, I will give him an answer: I will be with him in trouble; I will make him free from danger and give him honour. 16 With long life will he be rewarded; and I will let him see my salvation.
Bible in Basic English version

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October 3, 2013

A View From The Outside

We were recently interviewed by Grant Gordon, a journalism student at The University of Texas at Austin. Below is an article he wrote. The article does not necessarily represent the views of Street Youth Ministries. We are sharing the article because it shows how easily it is to view the Drag as a battleground between the homeless population and others. S.Y.M. seeks to see a strong community on the Drag that includes the homeless young adults, who are also part of the neighborhood. 
We’d love to know your thoughts!

September 30, 2013

Street Ministry Youth Protects Local Homeless

AUSTIN – Local homeless people on the western edge of the University of Texas campus are being driven away from the city, and Street Ministry Youth leader Terry Cole is trying to help them.

Cole is the sole employee of the volunteer-driven organization, which serves nearly 100 homeless youths weekly on the area known as “the drag.”  He fears that due to changes recently made by University and city officials, the homeless will be forced to leave their current places of residence.

“The student government and the city recently removed all public water fountains from west campus intentionally to drive out the homeless,” Cole said.  “They made a desert to try to push them away.”

Along with the water fountains, Cole is also worried by the lack of public restrooms in west campus.  He believes the city officials are “not interested in creating more public restrooms,” but rather they “just want the homeless to leave.”

Street Youth Ministry’s mission statement is “To know, love, and serve street dependent young people,” but the current state of homeless relations in Austin is not helping Cole’s cause.

“We are in an unfriendly place right now because there is a lot of change on the drag,” he said.  “There’s a lot of stress, with mom and pop stores closing down and being replaced by national chains.”

The Street Youth Ministry helps the homeless by finding specific needs for each homeless youth on the drag and eliciting from the community to serve them.  Sometimes, however, these men and women have needs far more significant than simple material items.

“They want somebody to listen to them.  Somebody to talk to.  They don’t want to be invisible anymore,” said Cole, who personally visits and gets to know several street-dependent youths each day.

One such youth is a man who asked, for the purposes of this article, to be referred to as Kool-Aid.  Kool-Aid takes residence between the Chipotle and the CVS Pharmacy on 22nd and Guadalupe.  He has been living on the drag for two years, often sleeping in nearby parking garages.

Kool-Aid ended up in his current position by “making ignorant decisions” and “hanging around the wrong crowd,” but today he holds no grudges.  He never takes it personally when he is ignored by those who pass by.

“I understand it.  Everyone’s going through a different struggle every day,” Kool-Aid said.  I try to see where they’re coming from too.”

Kool-Aid chooses to live in a specific area on the drag because he feels as though he is surrounded by “good people” such as one of the local store owners he has gotten to know, who, according to Kool-Aid, lets him use the restaurant to access the bathroom and get water.

Some of the business owners and vendors in the area have been, at one point, homeless for six months, so some understands the struggles of Kool-Aid and other homeless men alike, and disagree with the city’s quest to rid itself of the homeless.

“Wherever you go, there’s going to be homeless people no matter what,” said one business owner.  “So as long as they’re not bothering anyone, I let them in the store to get food and water.  You never know the circumstances they’re in; it’s not fair to judge all the homeless.”

Not all business owners believe that homeless people cause a threat to civilians, but rather feel as though they just need people around them who care.

“The homeless need people to give them encouragement, and if I can be that person, then I’m going to be that person.”

Cole feels “it’s really good for all of us” when stores allow the homeless to use their restrooms.  But at the same time, he understands the risks involved.

“It’s tough because there are drug users among the homeless.  About 25 percent of them use hard drugs, and a bathroom can be a safe place to do that.”

But Cole doesn’t believe that the homeless cause a safety threat to civilians.  Regarding the reputation of the dangerous homeless man, he called it “a pretty huge myth.”

Kool-Aid is just one example of the many who have been touched by Street Youth Ministry.  One objective of the foundation is to help the homeless not only materially, but spiritually as well.

“Because we are a Christian group, faith matters.  We ask them if they want to talk about faith, but we don’t force it,” Cole said.  “We discover what they want in life.”

Cole and his almost 100 yearly volunteers (half of whom are students) lend a listening ear and display a welcoming attitude to the homeless people, serving as a beacon of light and hope in their otherwise often bleak lives.

As the city tries to push the homeless away, Cole knows that now is the time they need him most.

via Blogger