Recently we had some of our best friends, Raf and Marje, over for dinner. While we were chatting, Marje told a story about how they were in the city and saw a homeless man out and about that was struggling to keep his pants on because of his lack of belt. She nudged Raf to give him his belt, but he didn’t comply with her wishes. She tried again, and again he shrugged it off. After they were away from the man, she asked him, “What would Brett do?” and Raf agreed that I would definitely give him my belt. As I heard the story, I nodded my head and smiled. WWBD? Ha! I was humbled that my friends would think so highly of me, but thinking back to a time recently when I did the exact same thing as Raf, it made me feel pretty crummy.

I like things. I’m the type of person that can go the the mall and just look at things for hours on end. I drive my wife crazy when we go to target and I get lost in the speaker and tv area for 20 minutes demoing all of the sound systems. I’m the type of person that favors quality over quantity as well. I don’t purchase too much stuff, instead, I wait until I can afford something that is really nice and will last awhile, something I can take pride in, then I buy it. The downside to this is that if anything ever happens to those items, if I misplace them, or they get damaged, I get REALLY frustrated. I hold on really tightly.

A couple months ago, while on an outreach in Newark, I saw a man in a similar situation as Marje described. He was homeless and really struggling to traverse his daily routine because of his lack of belt. Sure, I greeted him, gave him something to eat, asked him if he would like any information about housing, jobs, or X,Y,Z… But, when he asked if we had any belts, I said no and wished him luck, I even offered him a list of places that provide clothing.
I wasn’t lying. We didn’t have any belts to bring with us.

Sure, I thought about giving mine, but I really liked mine. That night I was wearing my leather belt from Levi. It fit really well and felt good. I didn’t want to give it away.

It’s not like I hadn’t been exposed to others giving away their things freely. A friend of mine who has recently left us at NYCR to go do a similar ministry in Dallas, named Paul, has literally given away everything but his pants at one point during outreaches. Yaz, our Director of NJ Outreaches, has taken off his shoes on more than one occasion to provide from someone with less. Rebecca, one of our interns, recently gave her favorit bag, one her mom had given her, to a woman we met it the Bronx because she was carrying around all of her belongings in a black trash bag. The extraordinary group of people I get to serve alongside each day are so amazing at giving freely, yet I hold on so tightly to my possessions.

I’m thankful for second chances, for do-overs. After taking the time to think and pray about these decisions, I asked God to give me another chance and a few weeks ago I was given that chance. I was back at Newark’s Penn Station when a man walked up, high on K2, barely standing, and holding up his pants. As we got him a chair and made sure he was ok, I asked him where his belt was. He said he didn’t have one. Without a second thought, I pulled mine off and helped him put it on. Now he has a really great belt and I use my plethora of Army issued ones that work plenty well.


I try to love well. I get it right a lot of the time, but other times, I fail miserably. But, I keep learning and trying and asking God to give me second, third, and 54th chances. Eventually I will get it right.
I will also make sure I continue to surround myself with friends like Raf and Marje, who believe the best of me - even when it’s not true just yet - they know who I will be.

Thanks for following along friends. How does this encourage you to be better and to give freely? It can be of your things, your time, or your money? What are you holding onto more tightly than you should?  

Much love all,

Brett :)

P.S. After I shared this with Raf, he said he would definitely do the same if given a second chance. :)

1 year at The Relief Bus!

I have officially been at The Relief Bus for 1 year!

This has been the most joyful, exciting, heartbreaking, challenging, demanding, and hopeful year for me yet.

I never thought that I'd be a "missionary", raising support from others in order to live - especially in New Jersey! But it's been amazing to see how God works. Every time I was worried about something, God provided. Every time. From my wallet being stolen in Newark, and being returned with nothing missing, to my car being broken into (twice), God provided. Thank you to those of you who have partnered with me in this. Your prayers are coveted and your support appreciated.

I have experienced things I had only before seen in movies and taken the burdens of my new friends on the street as my own. I have lost good friends to the bitter cold and hardships that the street life brings. I have seen pure evil manifested in life-gripping addictions, hatred towards others, and complete and utter hopelessness.

Yet, above all, I have seed the redemptive power that LOVE can have in turning broken and shattered lives around. Over and over again, this has been shown. People that were sick have been healed, the lame have walked, and the darkness inside of me has been redeemed! I have seen someone go from angry, bitter, and addicted to substances, just stop. Individuals living alone and on the street have found hope! I have seem straight up miracles, and not just once, but multiple times!

In addition to loving and serving my friends on the street, I get the opportunity to meet and lead volunteers from all over the world. I have the absolute pleasure to meet nervous, yet expectant individuals that come in for a day or week of a “missions trip”, and see what happens when we really to serve “the least of these”. Life change! For our volunteers, just as much as for those we serve. Every single day, every single week. Through just being me, and doing what I love to do and was created to do, I am able to lead others to loving better, serving better, and hopefully returning them to their home towns to do the same!

I don’t know what the future holds. So many times I have tried to schedule out and plan where I was going to go or what I was going to do, but God has always changed my plans. Ha! So now all I am focused on doing is loving others today. My only goal is to purposefully look for opportunities to love and serve others. While I’m commuting to work, I’m looking for broken down cars or people walking that I can help. When I’m at the grocery store, I’m trying to look for conversations to have or people to smile at. And continually, I’m trying to love myself, my family, my friends, and my future friends, with the love that I read about in the Bible. That true Jesus love that doesn’t put expectations, boundaries, or requirements on it, but just seeks to LOVE.

Much love my friends, thank you for joining me on this exciting and crazy adventure!