“Deaf and Homeless”
Every Thursday night, we head out to the streets with nothing other than a messenger bag filled with sock and hygiene kits and our smiles. Last Thursday night, I had three volunteers on my team and our task was to walk from our starting point near Penn Station towards Port Authority Bus Terminal in search of people that needed some love and conversation. At the corner of 33rd St. & 8th Ave. we came across two individuals; A woman sitting on a crate (later I found her name to be Jessica) and a man sitting on the ground, holding a sign that read, “Deaf and Homeless”. The volunteer team I had looked at me and asked how you talk to someone who is deaf and I said I didn’t know, but I would try to figure it out. As I approached this man sitting on the ground, I had no clue as to how I could possibly communicate with him. Past “I love you” and “thank you”, my sign language is pretty much nothing. So, at best, I hoped to present socks and a hygiene kit and call it good. What happened next turned into one of my favorite conversations to date.
I knelt down and gave a wave of hello to the man in front of me. I quickly discovered that he could read lips and from there our conversation took off. I found out that the man behind the sign “Deaf and Homeless” is named Mike. He has been homeless for the past 2 years, shortly after he OD’d on cocaine and had a mini stroke, which left him deaf in both ears and caused him to lose his peripheral vision in his left eye. Our conversation didn’t end there.
I found out that for the past 19 months, Mike has been 100% clean of all drugs - and even better - Mike loves Jesus. And not just says that he is a believer, this dude is completely filled with JOY!
I asked him how that was even possible, and he said, “How can I not? He provides everything. When I feel lonely, I pray and then I don’t feel as lonely.” MIke even went on to encourage my volunteer team. Telling them to not get down if people seem to not accept the love they are giving, because he had been there and acted hard and like he knew everything, but when they left he was appreciative for them taking the time to love him. Wowza!
There is a verse in the Bible that talks about God using the foolish things to shame the wise.
(1 Cor. 1:27) This was that in the flesh! How does someone go from the “Deaf and Homeless” guy the one speaking life, truth, and Jesus into those sent to do just that!?!?
The story didn’t end there either. Mike shared with us that after 19 months clean AND living on the streets, he has worked up to the point that his family is going to give him another chance and even a job at their family excavation company!
This just blows my mind and brings me joy over and over again that I get to learn these valuable life and Jesus lessons (and then share them with you!)
Please, pray for Mike! Also, please pray for me that as I continue to hit the streets day after day that God will remove the scales from my eyes and I would see others the way He sees them. Not “Deaf and Homeless” but “Whole and Hope-Filled”!
Thank you my friends, please share this if you feel it might help someone else!