Monthly Archives: September 2018

25 Sep 2018

Serving Warsaw’s homeless…

By |2018-09-25T14:55:35+00:00September 25th, 2018|General|0 Comments

2 Non-profits Do a Great Job!

I’m visiting my son, Jonathan, and his wife, Ola, and their daughter Frania in Warsaw, Poland… and we’re having a great time.

And during our visit I had heard that there was this group called “Warsaw Seva” that served a hot, vegetarian meal to the homeless in the main plaza in central downtown Warsaw, right below the Palace of Culture, each and every Sunday afternoon, so I was interested in observing and volunteering where I could. So I headed on downtown, a little earlier than the serving time began and ran into a few folks who were friendly and talkative.

First, I ran into Barbara and Barjena.

Barbara was quick to explain her view of the whole homeless situation in Warsaw. “They come from all over Poland,” she said. “When you’re out of work and you have no family to help you, it’s very hard.”

I then asked where they sleep at night? “Oh, sometimes we sleep under the Palace of Culture… sometimes in the park, ” she said. And then I asked if the police ever demanded that they “move on?”

She replied, “Sometimes they do… and sometimes they don’t.”

A little while later I ran into Mark and Wanda. They told me that they were from Moldova, and that they had been in Warsaw for the last 2 weeks looking for work. But they had had no such luck. And they said they were headed back to their homeland the next day. They were disappointed, but not discouraged. I then asked them if they had a faith in God. “Oh yes, God helps us all the time,” she said.

A while later, I noticed the Warsaw Seva folks were setting up shop. And I also observed the long line of “hungry” folks beginning to form, and waiting patiently until the food was ready to be served.

I went over to ask the “head server” if there was any way to volunteer my services. He quickly responded, “You want to help? Follow me. I will show what to do.”

He then brought me over to where “the drinks” were being distributed. He then filled a pitcher of “gatorade” and grabbed a small stack of paper cups, and handed them to me. “Now, you just go down the line and give anyone who wants a drink a cupful,” he said. And so I was off and running (walking), eager to play a small part in their service to the homeless. Though I don’t know hardly any Polish, I was warmly received by most folks.

And then just as Warsaw Seva folks were winding down, another group, entitled “Smile Warsaw” began to set up “shop” about 50 yards away from where Warsaw Seva had been serving. Smile Warsaw, I soon learned, was a group of ex-pats from so many different countries, religions, and worldviews. The one thing that bound them together was a united sense of the need for caring for those less fortunate.

This group was able to offer more services such as free clothing, free haircuts, a hot meal, minor medical services, and even someone to “cut nails.” The way I would describe these folks and their “gifts” to the homeless would be that… “These folks really just loved “loving on people.”

So I had a great time mingling and talking (where I could!) and observing both of these groups reaching out to Warsaw’s homeless in very simple, but practical ways.

Toward the end of my time, I ran into Gregory, who didn’t want his picture to be taken. We talked for a bit, when I inquired if he had ever “tried” God out?

He looked at me with a wry smile and said, “I don’t want to try sex with men, and I don’t want to try God.” He went on to explain that “God” is just not for him. He said his mother was a believer and a few of his friends but that “God” is not for me.”

I told him that I would pray for him. And he smiled, once again, and said, “If you want to pray for me, you can. Who knows, maybe sometime in the future “God” will be for me.”

Chris.

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14 Sep 2018

Kathy Khang comes to JPUSA

By |2018-09-18T14:29:06+00:00September 14th, 2018|General|0 Comments

Urges us all to Raise Our Voices!

Kathy Khang, a fresh voice among believers, came to JPUSA for a book launch for her new book, “Raise Your Voice,” subtitled “Why we stay silent and how to speak up.” on Sept. 12.

So what’s the theme of the book in a nutshell? I have not read the book as yet, but from her talk it’s unmistakable that she is modelling for us on how to “own our voice.”

And what does that mean? My “take” on this is that Kathy is calling us to begin to recognize our own thoughts and beliefs about life, and then not to be “shy” to express own’s views. But of course we need to use wisdom and love and compassion and discernment when sharing our “views” of the world and how we relate to it. Still, we ought to “own that responsibility.” We ought to be able to “allow” God to speak through us—his truth as we see it.

And of course we aren’t proclaiming to the world that we “know it all,” or “understand it all” but we are not afraid to speak up about “issues” of the day. We are not afraid to let our voice be heard in this social media age.

But she does have 3 key principles to heed when we feel “led” to enter the dialogues of the day.

1. “Just do it…afraid!” (Translation: You might be scared to share your honest feelings about certain topics, but if God is leading to speak up, then do it.)

2. “Don’t do it…alone.” (Translation: Be involved with others, engage in dialogue. Don’t “take on the world” by yourself. And listen to others.)

3. “And pray… your voice, your speaking out is wholly sacred work!” (Translation: Your voice matters, and God wants to use more of us as we speak out boldly and courageously for the things and people that matter to him.)

And so, like I said I have not read the book —but from hearing her speak, I’d say that she’s finding “her voice” and it was a delight to hear it.

Check her out. Be blessed. Chris.

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2 Sep 2018

Virginia goes to Pennsylvania…

By |2018-09-02T19:31:22+00:00September 2nd, 2018|General|0 Comments

And then comes back to Chicago!

I’ve been blessed to know Virginia for about 18 years. She stayed in our shelter with her mother when she was 17 years old for a time. Then they moved out, but Virginia kept in touch by volunteering at our Dinner guest program and food pantry over the years.

Her life has not been an easy one. And for the past few years she was making ends meet by being a caregiver to those in need in the Chicago area. But earlier this year, she was offered a caregiving job out in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, PA, and she decided to take it. She just felt she had to take this opportunity to at least try a different “life”…. somewhere away from Chicago.

For seven months, Virginia gave her new job and new surroundings her “best shot.” But she told me that she just didn’t ever feel that she “fit in” out there. She said she had to take a bus to get anywhere she wanted to go… and they only ran each hour. “I don’t know what I was looking for, ” she said. And so she returned to Chicago.

I told her that it wasn’t wrong at all to “try” something new out. “Sometimes you have to try something out…to find out that it’s not for you” I replied. “Sometimes God uses those situations to show us where we do fit in.”

“You know, I feel that’s so true,” she said. “Because I felt I got a lot closer to God through this experience.”

Virginia was able to get “resituated” back in her old place. She was fortunate to have a good relationship with her former landlord. And she will search for a new “caregiving” job.

In the meantime, she was happy to come back to volunteer.

And I was glad to receive her.

Chris

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