Posts tagged ‘success’

November 6, 2018

Success Story – Jacob

One street youth’s journey: from client to missionary
It was the kind of simple, one-on-one conversation I pray for – the missionary and the homeless, aimless wanderer. A message of forgiveness and hope through Jesus Christ vs. a cacophony of swirling alternatives: Hinduism, Buddhism …Satanism?

We rarely learn how these conversations turn out, but this time we did.The answer came in a Facebook post:

“My name is Jacob. I’m 25 years old now. About four years ago I was homeless in Austin, Texas, and I used to come around your organization. I am working towards my own street-based ministry here in Asheville, N.C. I’m hoping that we can somehow network and bring the vision that Christ has given to us, and watch it grow all over America.

“My testimony is very powerful, and now I am giving up all that has held me back from God. I hear His voice more clearly every day, and today He has me contacting you. I am looking forward to just listening to your wisdom about where to start, to build a stronger foundation that somebody can look upon, agree upon, and hopefully support.

“I believe that a lot of what I do will also benefit you, because I believe in what you do. I believe in Christ Almighty and the Father that has sent Him.”

I replied that I remembered Jacob and had a photo of him sitting on the tailgate of my pickup, playing his guitar. He responded:
 “I also remember a time when we sat together talking about spirituality and you were so sold on Christ Our God, and I could not commit to anything. I thought, is it Krishna, is it Hindu, is it Buddhism, is it Satanism? Should I live evil? Is everything just turned around to trick me? I felt so confused.

“I understand now. I knew you had the eternal wisdom but, sleeping on the streets with all of these people in other beliefs and religions, I couldn’t commit my life to one thing. Now it is a different story.I am again so GRATEFUL to finally know the truth. God opened my heart and let me live as one in peace of the greater vision that is Christ Almighty.”

My conversation with Jacob is where the many Street Youth Ministry “events” – the meals, clothing closet, cold-weather gear distribution, Movie Night, Turkey Grab, computer time, peer counseling, etc. – are designed to lead.

We see 500 homeless young adults per year. That’s 5,000 in the 10 years we’re operated. Wow! We know that one in 10 young adults in the United States experiences homelessness at some time between ages 18 and 25. That’s hard to believe, but it’s a recent statistic and one we think is accurate.

We cannot reach them all, but they all deserve people in their lives who care. We are looking for our proven methods to be replicated and/or improved upon all over the country. We plan on taking our ministry model to San Antonio this January, but we know our clients can carry the gospel to more locations and people than we ever will reach.

We look forward to hearing from more and more “Jacobs” in the future. It’s already a small handful. We can’t wait!

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September 16, 2014

A Note From a Client Starting ACC This Semester

We got this via Facebook the other day. Thank you’s and stories of success just don’t get old!

“When I was homeless on the drag, I tried and tried to [get] someone to help me get my TX ID. After approx 5 yrs with no ID, YOU stepped in, introduced me to a lawyer, and I had my ID in less than 2 weeks. You truly are doing good work. I start classes @ACC next week, and I attribute it to YOU, and YOUR belief in every one of your clients/friends!

Keep up the good work!”

Note: We purchase college textbooks for our clients who go to college. They have to do a lot of the legwork and apply for college on their own and apply to our textbook program at

But it’s a program that works. It has emphasized the importance of textbooks and of academic success to our clients. Most of our clients actually don’t need us to purchase the books after a few semesters. And we give every client the opportunity to pay it forward eventually after they have stabilized a bit, helping other people get free books just like they did. We raise funds for textbooks once a year at back-to-school time.

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July 23, 2013

A Client’s Perspective on What We Do

In response to our Blog on Big Things in Clients Lives, we received this comment. It paints a picture from the perspective of a client of what our supporters, volunteers and leaders do that is very eloquent.
As a former (really ongoing, as Terry’s care is always available and extended whenever I’m in the area) client, I can say that without Street Youth Ministry the Drag would be a much more cold and unforgiving place than it already is for street kids. Terry actually understands the intricacies of the traveling lifestyle[…][SYM] understands differentiation between traveling kids and displaced local youth but still extends [their] aid to both, as they both qualify. I still struggle with addiction every day, but I know I can always talk to Terry even if I’m on the other side of the country. We’d be a lot more stuck without [SYM], and I hope to see you again soon.
Together our supporters and volunteers make a big difference in the lives of about 80 clients every single week. We meet about 500 new clients every single year. And we love hearing from as many as possible through email, text messaging, Facebook, or when they visit Austin.

There are many ways to become involved with SYM.  

“To know, love and serve street dependent youth.”
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June 8, 2013

“There’s nothing better”

Yesterday in our weekly prayer time, a client started a sentence with “There’s nothing better than the feeling you get when…” That got my attention. The client had been quietly reflecting on our prayer time and filling out a brief worksheet designed to help him take something personal away from the group prayer time.
I asked him to repeat the sentence for everyone. “There is nothing better than the feeling you get when someone gets their crap together and gets off the street. It’s so great when they come back to visit.” He went on to describe how happy he was for several clients from Austin and from his home town of El Paso that have gotten clean, housed, employed and “together.”
We love it when clients come back to visit, too! We agree with our client, but we add one thing: there is nothing better than the feeling you get when a client gets their stuff together and claims their rightful place in God’s Kingdom!
In the rest of the prayer time, clients shared what it’s going to be like then they get their stuff together. I’ll be clean. My family will accept me. I’ll be completely sober. I’ll change my habits. I’ll have a nice place. I’ll be a good dad. I’ll start a career. I’ll make music every day. I’ll see doctors who keep me healthy. 
Join us that these prayers come true, and that our clients do find their place in the sun in God’s Kingdom!

“To know, love and serve street dependent youth.”
Who We Serve   What We Do   Get Involved  Wishlist   Publications  Speaking   Service Projects   Sign-up

Become a fan on Facebook!

Text or call: (512) 553-3796
Volunteer or donate (tax deductible) online
Arrange a meeting with me:

Follow SYM: Facebook LinkedIn Blog RSS Twitter Plaxo Blogger YouTube Google Plus

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April 16, 2009

Growing Up

I had a wonderful discussion today with a young man named “Brian”. Brian was in a very happy mood. He and I had a nice long visit. 

Brian had been to visit someone in his family recently from whom he was estranged. This was something he had been very anxious about in the past, so overcoming this was a great boost to his sense of being!

Brian is doing many things to straighten out his life, including being a good husband, getting and holding down a job, and staying clean and sober. And he feels great and secure about that!
I asked Brian what equipped him to be making all these changes. He was very quick to answer: “It’s my wife and new family. I’m just growing up.”
I didn’t actually know Brian’s history, so I asked him to describe his life before. “I rode trains. I drank heavily. I grew up in a place where I was heavy into drugs by the time I was a young teenager and that continued for nearly 10 years.” But he grew up. Brian found he had something to live for.
One day Brian woke up to discover that he had grown older. He saw people in their 30’s, 40’s, even 50’s who still acted like he was in his teens. He realized that he didn’t want to be that way. Brian was quick to let me know that he doesn’t want to judge these folks. He knows that they have their reasons for being how they are, but he also knows that he doesn’t want to be that way any more!
I know that Brian had a lot of help growing up. I thank the countless workers who helped him over the course of almost a decade of trouble: social workers, religious workers, strangers who gave him something to eat, people who smiled at him on a bad day, and other street dependent youth who helped him survive. All played a part in keeping Brian alive and well enough to reach the point he is now.
And I pray that myself, other workers, citizens in the cities and towns visited by street youth across America (and beyond) can do this for the many other folks who need it.