I was in need of my daily shower when it was time to go, and I said, “Nah… It will be a bit more authentic this way”. So off we went with a goal to actually meet people this time. And it worked.
My sidekick, Agent Z, and I hit the streets again yesterday/last night. I asked Z what would be the most important thing we could change this time. He wanted to actually meet some street-homeless people. I agreed, but I really thought we would up our odds if we just moved our exploration downtown. But before we got far, we found a whole bunch of homeless in our part of town and learned a lot more for our efforts. If at first you don’t succeed….
Yeah, the afternoon sun was actually heating up the streets quite a bit for the last week of Winter. Agent Z and I thought we might do well to purchase cheap, cold sodas and pass them out as ice breakers. But before we got that far, as we passed through the intersection of Slide Road and the South Loop, we found at least four beggars stationed on the medians at each crosswalk. We knew we had to get out and introduce ourselves. For even though this was the other direction from our church (located on 82nd Street), it was only about a mile from our house.
We decided to pull into the parking lot by the Mexican restaurant out by the Rooms To Go furniture store. And this was when our eyes were truly opened. As we pulled into our spot, I realized that right there in that busy intersection, barely concealed by the bushes and trees, was a camp spot! A homeless camp spot right under our noses and practically in plain sight! How could we have missed it all this time? We drive right by it every day. Thousands of people drive right by it every day! I couldn’t believe it. We definitely have homeless in our part of town.
We approached the spot, which at that moment was occupied by two people, a man and woman we will call Agent D and Agent T, sitting on a blanket next to a shopping buggy. Agent Z and I introduced ourselves and sat down with D and T and learned a lot from our brief exchange.
The first thing that really thrills me is that they knew who I was! I mean by reputation. They had familiarity with Fat Beggars and were excited to meet us. And Z had packed (providentially, it seems) a box of Pop Tarts in his bag to share with any new friends he might make, and sure enough when he produced them T, the lady, exclaimed that she had been wanting Pop Tarts earlier that morning. As evidence of our divine appointment, it turned out Z had even brought the exact flavor she had been hankering for! What can I say? It was clear to us all that God was blessing us. And then we began to learn things.
Yes. There are homeless in our area. No. Most of them do not camp here. They transfer to our side of town during the day and return downtown in the evening. But a few do stay, and they stay well hidden. This much we suspected, actually. But when I asked if any of them ever stay on church property, the notion perplexed them at first. Agent D began criticizing churches who run people off and named a few names. But upon further reflection, D spoke of another homeless friend who worked out an arrangement with the Bacon Heights Baptist Church to stay in the play ground on their property. In fact Agent D began singing the praises of Bacon Heights Baptist for treating the homeless so good!
I had no idea! I am not saying that Bacon Heights is the greatest church in town (I don’t really know), but I am saying that Bacon Heights has a good reputation with “the least of these brothers” on the streets of Lubbock, and that is truly important come Judgment Day (Matthew 25:31-46). Go Bacon Heights!!! I really need to send a thank you note to the pastor there. If any of my readers here want to click the link in the paragraph above and find a way to send them a note, that would be really cool.
I really could tell a lot more about our plunge, but I don’t want to drag out this post endlessly. And really there is a lot more we could do still that we have not even begun yet. But Agent Z and I capped off our plunge by spending the night in the gazebo behind the church we have begun attending up on 82nd Street. We did not encounter any more street people after we got there (though we did meet a nice police officer at almost 2 a.m.), but we ourselves camped outside our own church and prayed extensively for the place and the people who meet there. And when I got home this morning, I was in a hurry to shower the two days of stench off myself, since I was in a hurry to run down to the foster care agency and accrue some training credits.
Before I sign off on this post, though, I have one last request for readers (local readers anyway). I would encourage any followers of Fat Beggars blog living in Lubbock to purchase boxes of Pop Tarts and leave them in the trees and bushes in the landscaped SouthEast corner of the intersection of Slide Road and the South Loop out by the Mexican restaurant out front of the old Rooms To Go furniture store. I am sure our friends will find them and thank God for them if you do.