Never in a million years did I think that a school project would ever change me or have any impact on my life, but I could not have been more wrong.
My English teacher assigned a project where we had to choose an oppressed group of people, find an organization that helps them, and make a presentation about this organization. One of the requirements was that we had to interview someone who works for the organization we chose, and because I knew this could be time consuming to find someone and then set up a time to interview them, I started to think about what my easiest options could be. Immediately I remembered that my Bible study leader, Gillian Ard, used to work with homeless people at The Human Impact, so I knew that I could easily interview her without going through too much trouble.
During the interview Gillian called Elisabeth so I could talk directly to her, and she invited me to go out with her that Tuesday on the streets to hang out with some homeless people. My initial reaction was “Oh, my teacher is going to love this! Maybe I’ll even get some bonus points,” but I also realized that, with the project put aside, I was so excited to do this because I had never done anything with homeless people before.
When I went on that Tuesday, my entire world was shifted. In less than thirty minutes I drove from my home in Highland Park, and entered into poverty that I had never experienced before. As we walked along the street and I met homeless people and talked to them, I was shocked by the fact that none of them were complaining, but they all seemed so joyful. There was one lady who was walking by me and I asked her how she was, and her response was “I’m so blessed, because I have Jesus! What else could I ever need?”
When I heard her say that I could not believe my ears. I live in one of the wealthiest parts of the country, and I go to an amazing school and have everything I could ever ask for, yet so often when someone asks me how I am, my first response is “I’m tired and stressed.” This woman is literally living on the streets, but she does not let that blind her from how blessed she is to know Jesus. It really caused me to take a step back and look at my life and make sure I have my eyes constantly focused on Christ, because like she said, “What else could I ever need?”
That day, God started working in me in a new way, by giving me this new love for homeless people, and this new passion for spending time with them and doing whatever I can to help them. Since then, I’ve been going out on the streets with The Human Impact about once a week, and I grow to love it more and more every time, and it always fills me with so much joy.
What started out as my laziness in trying to find the easiest way to do a school project, resulted in me wanting to put so much of my time and effort into spending time with the homeless, because as I am able to give to them, they give so much back to me, and I get to see God working in so many new ways. I never expected that I would ever fall in love with this kind of thing, I never expected that it would become a regular thing for people to hear me to say “I’m going to hang out with homeless people today,” but God works in crazy, unpredictable ways, and He’s definitely put this on my heart, and I’m so incredibly thankful and blessed that He did.