Posts tagged ‘recovering street youth’

October 29, 2015

Good News From Recovering Client 10/2015

We have ministered to a group of three street youth for some time. We got an update from one. 

We asked what contributed to his amazing and rapid change. 

“It was time for me to grow up. And two of my friends on the street convinced me that Jesus’ relationship for me was true.” 

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May 3, 2015

Two Prayers From A Client

Heard From A Client Today

He’s recovering from what drove him to the street. He and his fiancee expect a baby soon. He’s employed, pays his rent, has a vehicle and pays insurance. He’s sober and has a relationship with God. He and his fiancee go to a “small old-timey church down the road.” 

Here’s the deal. This client was as much a handful as any client ever was. One day close to us and cool, the next day pushing us away with all his might, emotions, words and actions. Drugs were involved. Anger was involved. Legal issues were involved. Some would say it was hopeless. But somehow, God’s message of love got through anyway and changed everything.

One day he simply left the street. There was no celebration or goodbye or plan. He simply realized he had enough. He accepted help from places he said he would never accept help from. He turned to God in ways he said he would never be able to do. He grew in ways he believed impossible.

Today he called to pray for me. He prays that the ministry will always find a way to be there for people who need it. Hard people. Difficult people. People who are not sure about where they are or need to be going. And that we will have the right tools to be there for them.

I asked how I could be praying for him, he said, “I need focus.” Focus to maintain what I’ve done and to do it for the right reasons–for God and for my baby coming in a few months. I’m not perfect and I get off track. I pray for focus so I can stay right.

Two awesome prayers from a young man that no one would even recognize today. May God bless him in his journey. May God use his past and his experiences in ways we cannot even begin to imagine, to make God’s Kingdom on earth richer, more real, and more relevant here and now.

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March 31, 2015

Find Myself Humbled By The Bible

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March 26, 2015

Recovering Client Baptized

The street has been hard lately. Threats on me, drama and aggravation all around us (a particular drug called K2 is driving a lot of this negative behavior by otherwise awesome people). 

But heard from a recovering client today. One of those people I’ve known from the start of ministry. He’s struggled, tried all sorts of things, but never quite been able to break his dependence on the street and traveling. He called to let me know he was baptized 2 weeks ago! 

Robert Lane

He’s in a rescue program in Knoxville, Tennessee; training as a chef. He’s doing well but feels an isolation as he makes choices that his friends can’t support or don’t fully understand. He asks for prayers to stay focused and not be tempted to go back to traveling and the streets ever again. He’s so excited about how he is changing into a new person.

“Knoxville TN skyline” by Nathan C. Fortner

At the rescue, this client makes and serves meals for 300 people daily and is looking forward to working as a chef as part of a halfway house graduation program in a few months. I shared with him the difficulty of late, and he encouraged me to stay the course.

“Seeds must be planted and you do a great job. I watched you as you started the ministry. I watched as you volunteered at Phase first and then started doing your own Bible study things. It’s what people need. I know you’re not perfect, but I’ve never seen you do the wrong thing. It took me a long time to get there, but I think I have finally got it now. I feel like a new person entirely.”

Bible Gateway CJB Version
The Bible tells us to count the cost of following Jesus. I think many come to know what that means over time. But if I am to count the cost, then I also insist on tally the rewards. Store your treasure in the Kingdom is good advice, and phone calls like this one help keep the Kingdom balance sheet in the black. 
Thanks And Glory Be To God!

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September 21, 2014

Retiring From Traveling Life

We got this note from a young woman we served off and on for a year or two. She is “retiring” now from the traveling life. Her story is typical and we are delighted to share it. A few things were changed because she’s a private person, but agreed to share her story to inspire others to act, to do the same, or to find their own path:

Thank you for the help with the letter of referral! I got an address. And I got myself all set up with a job, housing, and supportive people around me. And now all I have to do do is maintain it. 

I LIVE SOMEWHERE!!!!!!!!!!!! 

I was on and off the streets for six years. The last two have been *solid on*, but a new day is starting. I’ve also come back to Christianity, and I am feeling stronger now than ever. I went from being raised Christian, to seeing its fallacies and leaving the church, to coming back around and piddling in it, to now being fully devoted–every single day. Every day, every day, every day!

When I left the church, I started to despise Christians after all I’d been through with them. I mostly hated the infighting between denominations, but I also hated their beliefs too. But you know what??? When you’re down and out on the streets, with nobody helping–nobody but the Christians (and the Krishnas too), … it makes a difference. And it got my attention. So I’m back.

BLESSINGS!! And thank you for your LOVE and KINDNESS and PATIENCE and UNDERSTANDING. God works through you and the church!

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January 15, 2014

Hearing from a Retired Traveler Client

I recently got a nice note from a recovering client that is no longer in the Austin area. He gave me permission to share his status. 

I love to do that because I want everyone to know the inspiring stories of our clients!

Hey Terry!

I am doing alright. I stopped traveling, and I went to rehab for my alcohol and heroin addiction. I am in recovery now and have been clean for 4 months. I have a job working at a dog day care in Charlotte, I have a car, and I stay with my brother. I’m going to start school in May or June for my AA then transfer to a four year program. I am going to major in sociology, and my focus is going to be in counseling at-risk-youth and substance abuse counseling.

I hope everything is going well in Austin. If I never said it… Thank you for all the kindness you showed myself and the other travelers.

We love hearing from clients no matter where they are, or how they are doing!


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December 9, 2013

Encouragement from a Recovering Client

One of our recovering clients has one of the the best wits I know. I love following his observations of life on his Facebook page. He has such a great ability to see the comedy in everyday life.

He recently was sharing how disturbed he was about terrible things a self-proclaimed Christian was doing in this world. This resulted in a flame contest with one of his followers as Facebook conversations that involve guns, politics, or religion are apt to go.

I was very proud to see him explain that people of faith, and of no faith, have all done terrible things. And that many people of faith do wonderful things. And many people of no faith do wonderful things, too. It’s common sense, but it’s not a common sense that you find all that commonly today; in this extreme and polarized world.

He also said, “One of my good friends, Terry Cole, runs a youth ministry that helps homeless youth, and he was a great help to me.”

We are proud of this recovery client. 

He works, pays rent, pays taxes and gives to organizations that help others. He got: clean, stable, and married. He’s an asset to the city he lives in. He may have little, but he follows his empathy and compassion to give of himself, and part of what he works hard to earn to help others.

We pray for many more recovery clients. 
We’re very proud of you all. 
You’re so strong and 
so amazing
We pray the world sees how much 
you have to offer 
and that you 
become a blessing 
for many people.

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August 27, 2013

A thank you note from a client

I received a wonderful thank you from a client first thing in the morning via Facebook. It was beautifully composed, just as you see it. I was able to do some follow-up work via Facebook with the client. She is employed, housed, and going to school. She studies the Bible and prays everyday. She can’t find a local church in her town that suits but after some discussion, may start a house church with her Christian friends! How exciting is that!
I just wanted to say thank you for everything that you did for me while I was homeless. Now days I am a culinary student at [a college.] I own my own home now. You were always one I could talk to about anything and always knew the right advise to give for every situation. I can’t thank you enough for your guidance and support during my darkest days.
[A recovery client!]
We love to hear from recovering clients. It’s great inspiration for us and for current clients, too! What’s your encouraging story?

“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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July 15, 2013

Where to recovering clients go?

Years ago I asked the big question, “Where do clients go?” and the answer I got from one of the experts was not very encouraging to me. It’s eight years later. We have a jail ministry, and over the last couple of years, it’s given us data to believe that not that many clients end up there long term. We have a memorial service ministry. I believe we have a pretty good idea how many clients die. Not that many clients end up being older homeless people, either. So where to they go? 

We believe that most recovering street youth get jobs in small business and then raise families. Landscaping, auto mechanics, advertising, animal care, health care. There are just some of the places clients end up finding a place to work.

Message like this one just never get old:

You may not remember me, but people in Austin use to call me [xxx]. I am married to [xxx], and we use to be one of the older kids that hung out on the drag and asked for money. Well, we gave our lives to Christ, and now we live in Houston. We are married with a son and a daughter on the way. I currently have my own web site development company. We are helping the homeless in Houston get employed. I want to say, “Thank you for being there and may god truly bless you.”

Help us to help the current youth on the streets.

“To know, love and serve street dependent youth.”
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Arrange a meeting with me:
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July 8, 2013

Top Three Things I’d Do

I was asked recently a great question while speaking at All Saints’ Episcopal Church while presenting the ministry there to a group of 45 interested people. These were largely not novices at serving homeless people because they have several ministries there that directly serve homeless. The question was “If money weren’t an issue, what are the top three things you would do to help your clients.”
First, I’m going to give a different answer that I often give to parents of street youth asking what they should do. Here are my top three things that I think a parent should do if they have a street-dependent youth living on the streets of the USA:
A) Get your son or daughter a low end phones with internet. They are regularly on sale for $50 to $80. They may have it stolen from them, so don’t buy anything more. Purchase by the month a pre-paid plans ($35 or $40 per month gets unlimited texting, internet and calling). Don’t do a contract. Just stick with month by month. Your child can now keep in touch with friends of their choosing. They may even choose to stay in touch with you. They can research places where they can get help and call them. They can stay active on social medias. It’s a true lifeline. It’s not really a luxury in the USA.
B) Offer to purchase a hotel room about two nights a month to give your child a break. Living in constant crisis with no breaks leads to all sorts of physical, mental and emotional problems. Pay by phone and tell them not to give any type of cash refund for early check-out.
C) When your child decides to get a job and move from the street, help with deposit and living expenses for the first two weeks until they get paid. I would setup a bank account that you can both access and another that only you can access. Put money into the latter and setup a daily automatic transfer for a small amount into the first. Don’t’ micro-manage but don’t provide additional moneys beyond what you agree. They have to learn to make it but deposits and those first two weeks can be giant obstacles.
Now back to the question asked by the audience member. What would SYM do with unlimited funding? We are a faith-based organization. So first, we would make sure Christian volunteers and churches are used throughout the programs described below. We’d be an excellent employer of a volunteer coordinator and a communications coordinator. Together, volunteer and coordinators would:
1) Run a hostel with a kitchen. Active clients who attend indoor events at least three times this month, would get one room night (or something like that) and the option to exchange working at reception, kitchen, garden, or cleaning for additional room nights. All management and supervision jobs would be given to recovering street youth. Day labor jobs would be available in exchange for a room-night. This would be a legitimate hostile and we would welcome paying guests as well.
2) Operate a training center that works with some recognizable names in training to provide computer skills for real life (running a computer base cash register, waitress station, receptionist stations, etc.) and training in customer service. We’d operate a doggie day care offering grooming, walking and boarding services to the local neighborhood using clients who have been trained. They would compete for a set of “management” positions but all graduates of training classes could get overnight security, reception, advertising, crate cleaning, dog walking, and dog washing jobs.‚Äč
3) Augment government grants for school. FAFSA and governments grants do a great job for most homeless youth willing to attend community college. We’d only pick up certain outliers: felons, people who refused to register for draft, people who can’t satisfy residency, etc. We’d continue to buy college books for all clients who go to school and continue to qualify for government aid.
4) (a bonus) Form a hiring agency “co-op.” Clients join by paying a small amount each week (possibly even as low as $0.50). In return they can be selected by the membership as the “candidate.” All members work hard to get the “candidate” a job, pooling knowledge, networks, and talking straight to the “candidate” about clothing, hygiene, interview skills, attitude, presentation, habits, etc. The candidate signs a contract with the co-op to direct deposit 10% of paycheck for 3 months back to the co-op. Weekly paid members receive published job resources as well as snacks and access to meetings. The co-op pays other members of the group to watch pets or belongs of candidates.
5) (a double bonus) Form a detox facility for substance abuse. We would be a place willing to take in street youth client (attending at least 3 SYM indoor events in the month) for the purpose of detoxing from drugs or alcohol. They would stay there until a bed can be found in a longer term program. The goal of the detox facility is to always be able to get a spot open within 3 days. This would form a bridge buffer to rehab facilities that typically can only free a bed in 2-3 weeks. Two to three weeks is an eternity for a street-dependent youth.

Join our efforts to support Austin street youth. 

“To know, love and serve street dependent youth.”
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Text or call: (512) 553-3796
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