One year ago tomorrow, my friend and mentor-by-example Larry James invited me down to South Dallas to spend time on a little corner we affectionately started calling "the Corner."
Neither he nor I knew it, but it would be a day that would forever change my life, as I began to have my heart warmed by a group of people I formerly ignored.
They are people without homes, but they moved right into my heart, and through their love for me, began to change my life.
First there was Bunny. Though wary of me at first, she ultimately became my very first homeless friend. I haven't seen Bunny in many, many months because she and her husband got housing (yay!), but she will always hold a special place in my heart.
Bunny and me under our Corner tree
In the early fall, a woman started talking to me about her abusive boyfriend. As we talked, she complained of awful pain in her feet. I got a crazy-to-me idea: rub her feet. I am a very good foot rubber, so I asked my friend Larry if that was okay, and he gave me the green light. I rubbed her feet as we talked about her fears and pain.
I still know this beautiful lady, and I pray for her all the time. Also, an event called Socktober was born from this story, and so a group of those with homes passed out socks and food to our homeless friends one day last October...
a picture of the Socktober event!
Then there was brother Robert, the "street" preacher, whose big heart and booming voice won him quite a following during our Thursday gatherings. One day, my dear friend Robert and I sat on the concrete and held hands as we prayed together -- that moment forever touched me. I have not seen Robert in many months either, but I will always remember his booming voice and lovable smile.
my dear buddy Robert
Then, it came time for me to do this work full-time, and I started a journey to make it my full-time job, which included fundraising. In asking for people to support this work, I had to face many personal fears about my value and worth. These fears threatened to deter me from pursuing this path, but ultimately, they did not. By the grace of God, I now see money and raising money in a completely different light -- everything we have, including every penny in our bank account, is a gift, given us by God, and we are merely the stewards of the gifts he gives us!
though I wasn't raising funds for my work when I spoke at my elementary school, this has been my path: moving back and forth between Highland Park/North Dallas and South Dallas
Pastor Jonathan Grace came on the scene. Well, he had been there before, but he and I began spending weekly time together at an outdoor Bible study. Beautifully, those who are homeless and those with homes began attending the study together. Meaning every week there are homeless people and non-homeless people sitting on concrete reading Scripture and sharing all sorts of stories and thoughts. Our hodgepodge of a study had its story told in the Dallas Morning News, and the Thursday after it was published, we all celebrated how wonderfully the story was told. Surely together we are the body of Christ.
one of our first weeks at Bible study
On Saturday, June 21, we washed the feet of those who are homeless. We had our feet washed, too. We all came together -- homeless and non-homeless -- to share breakfast burritos, waters, and mostly, our lives and stories. We sat around talking and laughing for hours. Lunch came, and we shared that as well. We experienced community on the streets that day -- no difference in white, black, homeless, or home-full.
And now I'm here, one year later. My heart has never been this full, my life never this rich. Every day I am beyond thankful that I get to spend time with a forgotten people, a people poor by worldy standards.
For once, I was forgotten.
Once, I was poor.
But now, the Lord says to me, and to you, and to our homeless friends,
"Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me" (Isaiah 49:16).
And now I see more deeply the meaning of this:
"For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, that you by his poverty might become rich" (2 Corinthians 8:9).
For me, for you, and for our homeless friends, the God of the Universe, though he had everything, out of love for us became poor. By trusting in him, by giving it all to him, we get his wealth, his richness in exchange for our poverty. He takes our poverty and instead gives us his unending riches (Ephesians 1:16-23).
Because of this wealth that no one can touch on earth, we can give generously to those in need on earth. This truth, that we are rich because Jesus became poor, makes us into radically generous givers.
You see, it's not the famous people that are rich. It's not who society sees as important who are important.
I grew up with all the world said I needed -- and much more -- and yet I was longing and hurting on the inside.
Through the love and community of people who on the outside have lost much (the homeless), my hurting and lost places are getting healed and found.
Thank you for taking this journey with me.
Tomorrow is Day 1 of Year 2 -- let's go!
To support me in the work, please click here and you will be taken to my fundraising page. If, when you click "Donate Now" on the right-hand side, my account is not automatically brought up, please enter my name Elisabeth Jordan and my support account #655 in the "Other" box to make sure funds go to my work.
If you have any issues with giving, please don't give up!
We recently changed giving platforms and have had a few issues in transition.
Email me at email@example.com with any issues.
To join our group in South Dallas one day, please click here to learn more about opportunities, or contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, I am looking for a male staff member to join me in this work. I have many opportunities to do more and dig deeper, but I need a male work partner for safety, in order to be able to do everything I want to do. If you or someone you know is interested in joining my team, please have them email me at email@example.com.