Ridiculously amazing year.

This year has been ridiculously amazing and SO TOUGH all at the same time.

As I sit here trying to write something meaningful, I just am coming up with jumbled thoughts.

4 years of on the street, day in and day out, love and care for people that are skipped over every other second. 
Patience tested, pushed, and gained over trial after trial.

Continuing opportunities to look in the face of people who deserve nothing by the world's merit - addicts, prostitutes, murderers, failures, etc. - but to know inside that I deserve nothing too. I am EXACTLY the same as these women and men.

Why am I here, warm with encouragement and care, while they huddle in dark alleys, cold to the touch and the random stranger's encounter?

I get accolades. "Well done!" "So rewarding it must be."
"You are amazing!" And so on...

They get curses. "Fucking worthless bum."Lazy Bitch".

I do apologize for the language, but I hear it over and over again from my friends. My friends who sit there and ask me why, day in and day out, that they get lumped in together as the worst that mankind is.

"Oh, sorry for the language" as they quickly realize that they are talking to someone that prays and they don't want to offend me.

I am always quick to affirm that their words are not what offends me. I'm internally offended that this is what they have to deal with every day of their life.

So, with all of this, why was this year good and not bad? 
Amazing and not mediocre?

Because of you people.

Plain and simple: If I was alone in all of this, I wouldn't be who I am, I wouldn't have the faith in humans that I do, and I wouldn't believe this Bible stuff about God working all things together for good.

Do I believe that God is real and has placed me where He has? Absolutely. But I also believe that God uses people to affirm and encourage.

When you take the time to read these words, that alone changes how you see the world, other people, yourself, and your actions.

Your encouragements go a long way. I love and appreciate the simplicity of a thumbs up or heart on a post, comments of "thanks for writing this", or especially when you share what I have shared.

But, when you take it to the next level and it starts to change how you see your place in this world and that works its way up to your actions.... BOOM! So AMAZING.

Those of you that have gone out of your way to support what I do - and in so many different ways.

Money is one of them. Hugely appreciated! 

But there are so many other creative ways that you have found this year to support me, my family, and those I serve.

Here are a just a few examples that pop into the top of my head as I write out this:

Carlee just sent me a pic of how she was walking around NYC handing out gift cards as she went about her day. 
Love it!

Jeffrey was moving and bagged up many bags of clothing and bedding for my friends to have new found warmth!

Daryl gave me Christmas gifts from his girls to my girls as a way to say thank you and embrace what family looks like - even at 1000 miles away!

Erica and many people at CrossFit TreeHouse have reached out to donate both extra food and clothing.

Paul Voorhees Music put on a Christmas concert to raise money and receive over 100 warm winter items!

Elizabeth has organized her knitting group on multiple occasions to make warm goods for my friends.

Lois and I just talk and she prays for me.

And the list goes on and on and on.

Thank you all for the love and support this year.

I absolutely could not show up each day and do this without knowing that there is this army of people who have my back. I love you more than you will ever know.

Here's to greater impact in 2018!



"What's that?" I asked.

Scars. Deep mutilation. 
Multiple suicide attempts.

Now that I think of it, it was the first time I have ever seen him without long sleeves on. 
Summer, winter, always covered.

I've known Juan for nearly 4 years.

He is always surrounded by others, a community of people that look out for each other on the streets. He doesn't usually approach me, but anytime I approach him, he is cordial, and even with a smile.

He's often the one making jokes with those around him, just a good guy despite his setting and place as a homeless man living in and around Newark Penn Station.

But this Friday night, everything was different. 
Still surrounded by others, but cold - distant, no smiles, no jokes.

"Hey Juan, what's up? Long time no see. It's good to see you."

(I had been working heavily at one of our different locations for the past few months, so I hadn't seen him in a while.)

"Fine." Turns the other way.

Knowing this is not the man I know, I pushed in for more.

"My bag was stolen. Again. 
3rd time."

Completely defeated.

Now, it's easy for me and probably you to read that or hear that and go, “Well that's stupid, don't leave your bag lying around. If you took care of your stuff, it wouldn't get stolen”.

True, true.


But maybe it's more so if he didn't trust people and believe in people, then maybe his bag wouldn't have been stolen three times.

When you live out on the streets, there is no safe place. 
No security, no locks.

You are left with the decision of fending for yourself or at times trusting others to help you along the way.

Trust is hard.

It leads to deep satisfaction and relationships, or mortifying heartbreak and separation.

Some people get burned once and never trust again.

Maybe Juan was on the brink of this reality. 
Maybe he had just cut ties with the people that once helped him have joy in the midst of hellish circumstances - the people that helped him when he had nothing. 
Maybe his distance was a result of the fear that comes when he has no one to trust, because everyone he had trusted or hoped in, left him alone and with nothing to show for it.

Well, that is that.

My heart is broken for Juan, but I can’t be his friend when he has no one. Heck, I’m only there one Friday a week and for two hours at that.

How can I do anything to help this hurting man? I don’t have words to say. I don’t have the experience to lean on. Nothing has ever lead me to cut myself. 
I have never been left without a single person to trust. I have never been left with no hope.

But here is Juan, with not just one of these realities, but instead with all of them.
All of this pain hitting him flat in the face - like a brick to a fragile window - it has left him broken and replying with sharp, dead answers right here on the sidewalk - for thousands of people to walk by each day.

There has to be something that I can do. God, what can I do?

Ten dollars.

I remember that I have ten dollars in my pocket from earlier in the week when a supporter had blessed us with some cash to help whoever was in need.

Ten dollars. What can I do with ten dollars?

It’s getting cold outside. I know Juan will spend his night outside. 
Maybe I could buy him a coffee - Dunkin Donuts is inside of Penn Station.

Instead of a coffee, I was able to get Juan a ten dollar gift card!

What happened next will forever be in my eyes:

“Hey Juan, can I talk to you?”

“Huh?” Shyly, curiously, he walks over to me as we step away from the group of people sitting down enjoying their soup and drinks in the peace The Relief Bus offers.

I went on to hand him the gift card and then proceeded to speak to him, hoping of penetrating through to his heart.

“Juan, it hurts my heart to see that your things were stolen again. That’s stupid, annoying, and really just frustrating, and it’s not even my belongings. I know that I can’t replace your things. But, with the ten dollars I had in my pocket, I wanted to make sure you had something to hold onto as a reminder that you are not alone. You are not invisible. You are loved - both by me and anyone that ever comes on The Relief Bus, but God loves you and sees you. Please don’t forget that - even on horrible days.”

Tears. Tears that were coming out of his eyes no matter how hard he tried to keep them away or remain tough on the outside. Tears were coming.

Quickly wiping them away, all he could put out was a choked, “Thank you”.

That night was a representation of what happens when simple people give sacrificially and it turns into a shattered person being put back together, shard by shard.

I don’t remember who handed me that cash - I just know that it was there when I needed it, but more importantly, it was there when God needed to use a simple $10 bill to transform from paper, to a card, to a heart sewn back up.

So, today, in this “season of giving”, funds, dollars are a needed, requested, and amazing things.

But WAY BEYOND what you give is what God is going to do with it.

Each and every day I go out on the streets, and God uses the things we bring: soup, drinks, a bus, bibles, chairs, tables, socks, hygiene kits, clothing, bread, and people to not just be blank objects, but instead as tools that are used to transform lives from broken pieces to restored and healed men and women.

Thank you for your gift of support to me and my family, I promise to use it effectively and powerfully to show people that they are no longer invisible - but instead loved.

For more information, or to support my family, check out my website: www.healthyhusband.com/SupportMyFamily

As always, feel free to share if this story will help others see people better. Much love all.