Community, sorrow and joy

Sometimes the work of community can be a bit of a roller-coaster of emotions...

Last week my friend texted me to let me know he had heard that Kenny, one of our long-time friends who lived on the streets, had passed away.  My heart sank as the reality of this news set in.  Another life claimed by the brokenness of our world.

Kenny and Eric in 2006
Kenny was a good man.  He was quick to smile, to offer me a hug and always ready for a good conversation.  He was one of the first homeless neighbors I met and counted him as a friend.  

I am not sure how he died but I hope he wasn't alone.  I wonder if alcohol, the demon that often stripped him of his freedom eventually caught him and claimed his life.  I also wonder if his story  would have been different if we could have offered him a place to stay while he dealt with the relational poverty that caused his homelessness.  

What if we could have offered him a place to stay...

This week, by contrast, was full of rejoicing.   On Wednesday, I had the great joy and privilege of helping two of our chronically homeless neighbors move from the streets into their own apartments.  

Terry and Kim in his NEW apartment
Kim Barnette and Ricardo Nunez, KCB/OPHS staff members, advocated for these vets over several months, eventually connecting them with housing vouchers.  These two men, who would otherwise be struggling to be warm and safe on the streets, now have places of their own.  Bethany CRC and the Brethren Church of Bellflower stepped up and not only have they committed to help make their new places a homes, they've committed to embracing them and supporting them... COMMUNITY, something WE ALL NEED.

My prayer for them now is that from the safety and warmth of their homes they will be free to engage.  That they will grow in their relationships in community, with God and with themselves.  That's my prayer for you too...  for us all.