It seems that a lot of marginalized people have intersected our lives since we moved to Wales, and in almost every case it’s been a good experience for everyone involved. We met Steve, a 32-year-old heroin addict a couple of years ago who had become a Christian but just couldn’t shake the habit. He lived with us for awhile and we helped him find a residential rehab program in Birmingham, England, with Betel of Britain. Two years later, he’s now on staff and recently relocated to open up a new Betel ministry in Sydney, Australia. These two pictures illustrate the difference love, compassion, and investing time in one young man’s life can make: the image on the left just before Steve entered rehab and the one below taken one year later.
I hope to interview a new friend of mine named Ben sometime next week: we might even do a podcast together and let him share his story of homelessness as a 21-year-old young man estranged from his family in England. I’ll keep you posted on that development, but he told me today that he would be willing to do it.
Until then, I have been doing some internet research and found a couple of homeless bloggers. I spent a couple of hours this evening reading The Homeless Guy blog and I highly recommend it to you. Here’s a brief introduction by the author in his own words:
My name is Kevin Barbieux and I am homeless. I have been in and out of homelessness for over 25 years. I have lived in just about every homeless situation, in a car, in a rescue mission, in an alley, etc. But, I haven’t always been homeless. I served in the U.S. Navy, attended College (for a year), managed a convenience store, bought a house, was married and had a couple beautiful kids. I suffer from depression, social anxiety, and perhaps a touch of schizophrenia, which prevents me from holding down a job for an extended period.
One of the most helpful parts of Kevin’s blog can be found where he participates in a debate with Taylor Field, a minister with a long-term ministry to the homeless and author of Squat, a novel that Kevin feels unfairly caricatures the homeless. Excellent points are graciously made by both men, but it gives a lot of insights from someone who has been chronically homeless versus another who seeks to help those who are homeless.