Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Death of a Friend, Who Happened to be Homeless
It was several months  ago that we started receiving phone calls here at Mosaic from an inmate in prison. It all really started with a phone call from the parole office regarding housing requirements here at Mosaic. There was an inmate they wanted us to consider for housing. It should be noted Mosaic is an Intentional Christian Community which offers housing for homeless persons, (among others, not just homeless) in the community who want to be a part of our mission and ministry. My wife and I live here with those in community. It wasn't long before we received the calls and letters from Chris Davis. One of the conditions we have, as stated to Chris is the person has to come to church for a couple of weeks, let us get to know them and we go from there in making an initial decision. This was made clear to Chris and he stated he would be here in when he got out of prison.

As the weeks went on, he never showed up and I had no way to contact him, then almost a month ago I met him downtown during a Saturday morning breakfast provided at one of the parks by another local ministry. We spoke quite a bit over the next weeks with him promising to come to Mosaic to give us a shot. I brought up the topic every time I saw him, "Man I would love to get you in but you have to come by!" "Yeah I know, I will try to make it." Chris would always promise. Yet, it didn't happen, all along the while, staying on the streets. 

www.mosaicwichita.comOver the last weeks Chris was hanging out with another homeless guy, Geno, who Breakfast Bob Johnson has been working a lot with recently. Geno will hopefully obtain housing in the community through Officer Nate and the Housing Outreach Team (HOT) Program provided through the local police department in the very near future. For those that don't know, Breakfast Bob does a lot of the front line of ministry in the community, he along with the HOT Program are among my top 2 recommendations outside of Mosaic. They are on the front lines, we at Mosaic are at the finish line of helping people.  A lot of the work needs to be done. 

All that said, Chris was hanging around Geno like glue for the last couple of weeks while Geno has had various medical issues, it appeared that Chris was there helping take care of Geno.  I have spent a lot of time with them over the last couple of weeks, more than usual, normally 2 - 3 hours a day. Each time asking Chris to come by and check out Mosaic. We spoke about other things, the last time, Monday morning we spoke a lot about the television show The Son's of Anarchy, he loved the show but hadn't seen it this season. He asked me to give him updates on the show, which included numerous spoilers so I did, he stated he was glad he had someone to speak to about the show, I told him that if he moved in he could stay caught up on the show because I never missed an episode. Chris stated he just wasn't ready to move in for various reasons. He promised he would come by though.
There had been many times Chris and I spoke about Christ, about how Jesus had provided me my joy, my life, had taken me off the streets and my issues. I shared that for me that included total surrender, in all ways. Chris brought up his alcohol problems and I reminded him of the reality that surrendering to Jesus doesn't mean that we have to be perfect in what we do, it just means we try to become more like Jesus and God's Holy Spirit would give us strength, it would be one of the benefits of Mosaic, we could help each other as a house, even with things like alcohol problems. Chris responded that was what he needed, the support, he again promised, to check Mosaic out. 

We had that conversation again on Monday, we later had a phone conversation where I challenged him about some things that was going on that didn't sound exactly the way it should.  I am confident Chris had developed some manipulative behaviors. While some are critical of folks who do that, I am quick to remind them I learned those same behaviors on the streets, it is a necessity to survive. I don't see the behavior having to be a negative, as I had told Chris, you can learn to use that behavior to the benefit of helping others, I knew why he had developed that skill, why he was that way.  It didn't mean I agreed with everything he was doing but I wasn't sure why he was doing what he was. I told Chris that, made my point clear. I have learned that component of being honest, truthful and to the point with individuals, I told Chris I thought he would appreciate that, he told me he did.

Why do I tell you this story?  I spoke to Chris on Monday, Tuesday morning he was found dead in downtown Wichita, likely as a result of over consumption of alcohol and the elements. Yesterday was tough for me, it was tougher likely on those like Breakfast Bob Johnson and Anna Long whose boys had also been spending time with Chris. Today I not only grieve for Chris, but Anna and Bob who keep the work going on.

www.mosaicwichita.comThis morning I continue to grieve, I continue to question things. I know folks think I beg for help for  I believe in an eternal lake of fire, but I also believe in a loving God who has made provision for all to receive the salvation provided through his son Jesus. Yes, there is worth those I am honored to serve, while I sometimes have to look for it, it is there. That said, I still wonder about Chris and his children, what will they learn or think about their daddy?  They will grow up to some extent with the confusion I did as a child never knowing their father. I grieve for their pain and the pain of all of those who knew Chris. For many, they will read in the next day or so about another homeless person who died, for me it wasn't a homeless person, it was a friend, a father, a guy who needed help, it was Chris, and I am glad I knew him and shared with him for the brief moments in time I did. There are other Chris's out there on the streets, will you get to know them?  I hope and pray you do.  If so you will learn what I have in this ministry, you will be touched with love, just as much as you touch others with that same love Mosaic and other homeless programs, maybe I do, but understand this, I do it because I know that what we do is a life and death situation for some. There are those who will disagree but I believe in a Heaven and a Hell, I believe what Jesus said that no one goes to the Father in Heaven unless they go through him.

Please note the following is a standard posting for our ministry and work, today, I want to make it clear, the best thing you can donate is not money, (although that is appreciated as there are ongoing financial needs) but your time, your time in getting to know the people on the streets, the people Jesus commands us to love and get to know.  God bless you for your time and thanks for reading.  

The Virtual Pew and our other work is supported solely by the kindcontributions of others. You can click on the donate button below to give anyamount to this work that does so much more than just post articles on the net;I draw no ongoing salary from the church I pastor, Mosaic Wichita which is
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