The Community Our Family Needed
Patrick and I have been married for 14 years and have three children; Layla (11), Caden
(9), and Parker (3). We lived in Oklahoma before we moved to Dallas two and a half years
ago. When we moved, we didn’t realize how much would change. We even started to
homeschool our kids for the first time. It allowed us to have a lot more time together and
gave us the freedom to participate as a family in more opportunities throughout the day as
well as places we felt God had called us to. Whether it’s time spent with friends or at soccer
games, community is always our priority.
Years before we moved to Dallas I had heard Elisabeth speak on the Happy Hour podcast
about The Human Impact. I grew up with Elisabeth, so I was so excited to hear her story
and all that God was doing in her life through her non-profit. When I listened to her story, my
heart came alive listening to how Elisabeth impacted the lives of many individuals on the
streets. I knew there was a reason why I felt inspired and moved by her work. Shortly after,
my family first volunteered after we moved to Dallas on a Saturday in the summer of 2020.
When we moved to Dallas it was at the very beginning of COVID as we were experiencing a
new beginning, so our community really just consisted of our nearby family members. The
more we started to volunteer, we realized that this was the exact community God
knew we needed. He opened the door for us to embrace the weekly interaction with new
friends we would meet on the streets.
The Outcome of Simply Being Present
The very first time we volunteered, we delivered meals to people on the streets. In addition,
we got to talk to many new faces and pray over them. One of the first conversations we had
with a man on the streets resulted in him asking me, “Why [are you asking me] so many
questions?” We have learned to not force conversation and allow the Lord to place people
that are open to conversations and friendships each week we walk the streets. With
consistency, trust, and ears to listen, that man soon became one of our dear friends. Every
week is a new adventure! We are expectant each week and believe God that He would
use us to bring any form of love through encouragement, a smile, words, actions, or
just by being present with a listening ear.
My kids had a wonderful first experience. My oldest daughter was quick to pray for people and immediately had a heart to help those on the streets. She quickly thought of the creative idea of making lanyards and bracelets to help raise money for The Human Impact that has continued to grow and expand to this day.
THI wants you to know–this past October she raised a total of $1,500 for the organization at Farm Girl Fair in Norman, Oklahoma.
Caden, my middle child, was more timid at first. However, the more we went and we saw each of them through God’s eyes, he was quick to come along, learn, and love those we met. My youngest was a baby and along for the ride, and he was quickly loved by many on the streets.
When Compassion Grows Louder Than Fear
There has been a significant difference since the first time we volunteered on the streets. The
fear of the unknown has dimmed and has given them greater confidence to be themselves.
They have learned to trust that God has a purpose for each individual they encounter on the streets. They have grown in overcoming fear, doubt, and insecurity through the weekly walks on the streets. We see others experiencing homelessness throughout our community and are quick to wonder what their story is. When you focus on loving them instead of solving their issue, you understand the importance of looking them in the eyes and smiling. This is how compassion has grown louder than fear. They are just like us who have just gone through a really hard time.
We have grown close to many new friends during our time on the streets and one of the
challenges is maintaining relationships with our friends who have been housed because we
don’t see them anymore on a weekly basis. On the flip side, we have had two friends we
became close with pass away. It has helped us to learn to treasure each opportunity and realize the moments we have are so valuable even when you do not always see the relationship flourishing right away.
Developing relationships with our friends experiencing homelessness has been a blast. We love getting to celebrate these new friends by creating opportunities to make them feel more valued. Some of these moments have been celebrating everyone’s birthdays and encouraging our friends with the amazing gifts they’ve been blessed with–there is gold that lies within each of them. When Byron gave Parker a bike—it was a really sweet and special moment that revealed his thoughtfulness, intentionality and great generosity. His love for our kiddos is so sincere and kind. We loved bringing Santa to our friends on the streets by delivering gifts. Witnessing some of our closest friends on the streets get baptized was a precious memory. Growing in friendship with them has consisted of celebrating together. We have enjoyed handing out hot chocolate alongside friends from our homeschool community or even attending our close friends' weddings altogether as well as going to the fair with our friends and riding crazy rides has been the best! Doing life in community with our friends has become the best and most rewarding memorable moments we will carry with us forever! This is what it looks like when compassion grows louder than fear.
All of my kids have such high respect for the people of The Human Impact. Recently my oldest told me that if The Human Impact doesn’t exist when she is an adult she will start her own. They have loved sharing their lives with our friends from the streets. My older two are very involved in soccer and each week Byron asks if they scored any goals and gives them $1 each time. They are often remembered on the streets and have seen many hearts soften and open up with greater receptivity from the heart of a child. Many friends on the street have gone out of their way with such gracious and generous hearts to care for all three of them as well. My youngest, who is now three years old, always asks about THI as the “Impact” and when he can see Byron, Curtis, Bobby, etc.. He knows each by name and considers them family. We have all learned how to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.
On the other hand, we are forever grateful for the THI staff and the blessing each of them have had on our family. As a parent I am forever thankful to have leaders who speak life into our kids and challenge them to look more like Jesus to everyone they encounter. They have discipled our kids in more ways than they know. Their support has encouraged them in a way that will forever impact their lives.
The Hope for The Little Human Impact
I am very excited about the new opportunities families may get to encounter through the Little Human Impact. I pray that many families get involved and encourage each other to be
available for friendship, care, hope, and love to these amazing men and women.
Kids have a way of lighting up lives, hearts, and reminding them of who they once were
as a child before the pain and heartache most have endured. There is something about a
simple hug, a smile, calling someone by name through the voice and eyes of a child that is so uplifting, beautiful, and pure. Once at Our Calling we were talking to a man for the first time, and he started sharing about what he loved to do as a kid. Three other homeless friends of his stopped by and told him how great it was to see him smiling. It made me realize something so simple and so small—just being present—brought joy and a smile to his face that seemed to be far and few between. Our kids have become grandbabies to some and just a face to another, but each week we show up and see God move and display His kindness, heart, and love in ways we would never have imagined. There are exciting new opportunities that families will get to encounter through The Little Human Impact and I look forward for new friendships to ignite.