By Don Kuck
“Thanks for the genuine concern.” That’s how one of our guests during shelter week articulated his experience at St. Luke. Many others mentioned similar sentiments. Many thanks once again to all of God’s faithful servants who extend the Lord’s blessing to these men in difficult circumstances.
Our guests expressed gratitude for how they were treated by us, by the great food, and just the level of concern that people showed to them. Many of the men were especially pleased and even surprised that the kids and youth would be willing to talk to them. Well done, adults and youth and kids!
I’m always struck by the variety of guys that come into our sphere of life for a week; some are blue collar workers, some are white collar; some have had their own businesses; some are in their 20’s and some in their 50’s and 60’s; some are white, some are African-American, some are Native American; some are outgoing, some are quiet. 25 unique individuals.
Many of the men were especially pleased and even surprised that the kids and youth would be willing to talk to them.
Usually there are 1-2 veterans in the group. Some want to read, some want to watch movies, some want to play cards—either by themselves or with others; some just want to go lie down and rest/sleep—in light of this winter’s weather, just staying warm can take a lot of energy for these guys. For many of them, others taking interest and listening to their story can make as big of an impact as anything—they can sense the genuine concern.
I know many of you had good conversations during this week. A few of the memorable conversations I had: the challenge of living an authentic Christian life in today’s society; how losing your wife to breast cancer can put life in perspective; one man struggling to work the AA program and a job–and so far succeeding, how some of their friends survive in a tent during these winter months; one man getting ready to move into an apartment and trying to get the basic furnishings, and the frustrations of losing a job and being too old or disabled (back pain) to get a new physical labor job. Some of the men talked about their jobs, some talked about their search for work.
It is somewhat disappointing to see a few of the same people year after year. One hopes that they would be able to move on toward regular employment and independent living, but it gets complicated and there are often too many barriers that keep them from doing so. We pray for God’s mercy in their lives.
So thank you all again. I consider the week a success. I think we helped lighten their journey just a little bit this week, demonstrated God’s love for them, and gave them hope to pursue the plan that God has for them. May we continue to pray, support, and be sensitive to those in our world who are in need.
I think we helped lighten their journey just a little bit this week, demonstrated God’s love for them, and gave them hope to pursue the plan that God has for them.
Once again, Ray Scott spoke to our guests at our Sunday morning breakfast and was able to convey a simple message of giving thanks in all circumstances. It connected with them, and Ray’s celebrity status brings it home to them—that he would be willing to come in and talk to them. Thank you, Ray.
Thanks to everyone who helped in some way—it does indeed take a ton of volunteers to pull this off— cooking meals for 25 guys 7 evenings in a row, rides for 25 guys twice a day, 4 people to spend each night, donations, laundering towels daily, etc.
And thank you Angie and all our administrative and receptionist staff who allow our guests to “make themselves at home” in our environment—reading in the library, watching a movie in the West Wing, playing cards in the lobby, joining us for church, etc. They really do seem to be able to relax and feel comfortable in our environment. The free coffee available 24/7 helps too!
May we continue to pray, support, and be sensitive to those in our world who are in need.
Consider helping next year as we are Jesus to them. I’m hoping there are a couple more small groups that can help us to cover each night. I think the youth could take a night and do the meal, driving, and overnight—all with a little help from parents and youth staff. Perhaps one of our newer small groups could step in—for details, ask one of our regular small groups who find it to be a very good small group service—for the whole family.
I’d also like to make it known that I would personally like to start “dialing down” my duties and am looking for a “next generation” person(s) to start to take the reins on this ministry.
Many thanks, blessings, and peace to you all.